Gaelic signs serve very little purpose
Sir, I was pleased to note some interest in my recent letter on the subject of Gaelic bilingual trunk road signs.
D MacKenzie of An Gearasdan appears unwilling to accept that the sole purpose of road signs is to provide clear direction to road users. Given that just 0.5 per cent of the population claim Gaelic literacy, obstructing essential information needlessly and depleting the trunk road repair budget by millions of pounds remains, in my view, an absolute disgrace.
John Carmichael, commenting on the length of some Gaelic place name versions, has my sympathy. One nearby road sign increased in size by 500 per cent so I am only too well aware of the massive hoardings now with us.
An official survey into attitudes towards Gaelic concluded: ‘The key challenge is not so much to increase awareness of Gaelic generally, given that it is already high, or indeed to do more to relate Gaelic to traditions and culture, but rather to promote the relevance of Gaelic to Scotland as a whole.’
The new road signs failed miserably to enhance the tourist experience and raising awareness of Gaelic in this manner has now been confirmed as serving little practical purpose.
I fervently hope Gaelic can survive as a working language in these troubling times but much more must be done urgently to encourage and engage in the spoken word, no matter how little or grammatically adrift ‘Gaelic Smatters Matter’. Lewis Morrison, Beregonium, Benderloch. MORE than half a century ago the Irish tackled the problem of road signs head- on, with an obvious – and perfect – solution. Simply use a clearly different font for each language.
First, though, it’s best to decide which language is to appear first on the signboard – and stick to this.
The reader soon becomes accustomed to quickly spotting the language they want to see.
Visit Ireland to see for yourself how effective this is.
I can understand why nobody has thought of doing this in Scotland because we suffer from the same problem here in North Wales. Geoffrey Tyson, Capel Garmon, North Wales.