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Bilingual Signs

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We are fans of bilingual signage. The case is made succinctly by Marcas Mac an Tuairneir, aka Mark Spencer Turner (@Marcas_Mac) of marcas.scot who launched the hashtag: #bilingualsign

A bilingual sign tells you more than just where you need to go. It tells you a country has more than one native language. It tells you how the names for places are connected, or sometimes not, between languages. It teaches you what others call that place in their language.

It demonstrates that the country values linguistic diversity and equality between linguistic communities. It may tell you that you are entering a place whether another language is more predominant.

It tells you that you may expect to hear another language or experience another culture upon arrival. It may tell you that folk spoke a now minoritised language in a place before the dominant majority language.

And in the case of Gaelic, Welsh, Irish, Cornish and Manx it could tell you what the place will look like, its topographical features, its landmarks, who established a settlement, what flora and fauna can be found there, what the weather is like there, what colours you’ll see…

I’m happy to see a in as it reminds me is still spoken and valued here. If I don’t know the original Gaelic name for a place, I learn it as I go past. I can picture that place in my mind from the words that comprise it. It shows is alive.

My dream is to see a one on the street I was brought up on. My parents next door neighbour is from . Moved in after I’d learnt Gaelic. When we see each other we say ‘feasgar math’. In doing so we’ve create our own in .

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Marcas Mac an Tuairneir (Mark Spencer Turner)
Marcas Mac an Tuairneir (Mark Spencer Turner) writes poetry, prose, drama and journalism, in Gaelic and English, and splits his time between Edinburgh and his hometown of York. He was educated at the University of Aberdeen, graduating with MA Hons Gaelic and Hispanic Studies in 2008 and MLitt Irish and Scottish Literature in 2010. He later completed his MA Television Fiction Writing in 2012 at Glasgow Caledonian University. He is currently a PhD Candidate in the department of Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh, where his thesis focuses on Gaelic poetry of the Twenty-first Century. He was research interests in the literatures of Scotland and Ireland, feminism, postcolonial and queer theory.

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