European Programme for Minority Languages

Author: John McIntyre

Date: 1999

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 7 Wunter 1999


John McIntyre

The President of the Bureau of European Lesser Used Languages, last April, asked each language community to write to Signor Romano Prodi (the incoming President of the European Commission). The letters were to call on Signor Prodi to support the passing of a legalisation which would establish a multi-annual action programme for European minority languages and their communities. An agreed text for the letter was supplied by the President of the Bureau. The Ulster-Scots translation of the text has been forwarded to Signor Prodi.

Sig Prodi, guid billie

We scrieve tae ye bein tha inkimin Preses o tha Heid Bailzies O Euraip, axin ye fur tae gie a heft tae tha unner-docht leids o tha Unioun O Euraip. Mair like we ax at ye in yer darge tak in tha passin o a laa at wud pit in place siller ilka yeir fur actioun tae gie a heft tae thae leids.

Euraip bees a gaither up o monie leids. In tha Communitie o Euraip alane ower fufty leids bees uisit. Wi tha eikin o tha Unioun tha nummer wull staelie come awa. In ilka memmer kintra o tha Unioun o Euraip there bees yin or mair leid communities at spaiks a leid ither nor tha fecklie offeecial leid o tha kintra. It bees the responsibeelity o ilka o tha kintras o Euraip tae dae its pairt tae uphaud thae leids.

A wheen o oor leids in Euraip bees spaik aa owre tha yird. Ithers bees uisit in tha kintras onie whaur they bees o tha tradeetion. Thae “unner docht” leids bees poustie, abuin tha muild and weirin up gates o expressioun an monie haes a fouthie hierskip, leeterarie an learit tradeetion.

Aa oor leids bees a mensefu pairt o tha fowkgates an hierskip o Euraip. Tha yeirs tae cum lippens on sonsie actioun.

Mair fowk haes kennins o the leids an hierskips o wastren Euraip at is refleckit in baith tha Maastricht an Amsterdam Treaties. Article 126 taaks anent “tha sindry hierskips an leids” o tha memmer kintras whaur article 128 taaks anent “respeckin tha odds in tha kintras an thair naetional and regiounal diversitie”. Paragraph 4 o tha samen airticle pits a tie on tha communitie tae tak “hierskip intae accoont unner ither proveesions o tha treaty, tae tha mair mean takin in ordinar tae respeck an tae forder the diversitie o its hierskips”. Tholin this diversitie bees a pouerfu rael brag for yin an aa at wud wrocht fur tha kintras o Euraip tae be yokit yin tae tither an tha thocht o fowk bein tha ceetizens o Euraip.

Tha hearin bees hertsome at offeecials in DG XXII haes scrievit a draft libel fer sic a Legal Ack. In lippenin o yer appintment tae tha new Preses o tha Commissioun we wud ax ye an yer billie Commissioners tae mak mane fer tha text an appruve it snell. We ween at tha calculat fufty million ceetizens at spaik oor leids bees haudin on ettlin an howpin fer a clair tint at they wull be gien jonick an respeck ava in tha new Euraip.

Thenkin ye gin yer kennin an haud.

Wi an aefauld hairt

John McIntyre



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