A hunnert year o Scots!

wilsonscotsCheck out the free online version of James Wilson’s 1915 “Lowland Scotch as spoken in the lower Strathearn district of Perthshire A meticulous investigation of the speech of the Perthshire village of Dunning a century ago. A personal connection as I lived as a bairn in Dunning for 5 years and learned much of my ain Scots there. Includes pronunciation, grammar, wordlists, sayings, idioms, expressions. Legend has it this was the book that inspired Hugh MacDiarmid to start screivin awa in Scots, and I’m not surprised. As a bonus uses a wonderful phonetic orthography, by far the best writing system for Scots I have ever seen. https://archive.org/details/lowlandscotchass00wilsuoft

Whaur did the tairm ‘plastic Scots’ come fae?

Wha cam up wi the tairm ‘plastic Scots” that his lowert like a derk clood ower onie ettle tae big up the written forms o oor tung? Wha’s haudin the the smokin gun? Noo we ken.

The BBC.

Fae Colin Nicholson’s 2012 buik on Edwin Morgan.

A like the Macdiarmid poems fine but quaistion his legacie. The Lallans/synthetic/plastic Scots stushie seems tae hae bin a steek tae ding doon Scots fur twa generations or mair. Ye read aw the time (aften in academic texts an aw) that onie written forms is just ‘Lallans’-type haivers wi naethin tae dae wi the ilkaday spoken tung.

In the threid Caroline Macafee talked aboot Douglas Young’s 1946 “Plastic Scots” buikie (anent the stushie atween the BBC/Herald an Hugh MacDiarmid). Here it is, an no a bad read at aw.

 Young (1946) Plastic Scots

A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle

To prove my saul is Scots I maun begin
Wi what’s still deemed Scots and the folk expect,
And spire up syne by visible degrees
To heichts whereo the fules hae never recked“.

Hap yer lugs roon Hugh MacDiarmid readin oot the hail o “A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle”.

Or in Youtube…

The wirds

A Drunk Man Looks at the ThistleA Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle

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An a BBC bio…

Writing Scotland – Hugh MacDiarmid – BBC TwoNorthern Numbers, 3 vols, ed. by (1920-22) Annals of the Five Senses (1923) Sangschaw (1925) Penny Wheep (1926) Contemporary Scottish Studies (1926) A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926) Robert Burns 1759-1796, ed.

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via BBC

Language Shift

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Michael Hance writes: “Aye weel, this is somethin tae get yer teeth intae. A discussion aboot language planning, orthography, language ideology an ‘revitalisation’. Look oot for the pairt o the discussion that’s tae dae wi dialect an orthographic diversity – whit the speakers caa ‘messy diversity’ but whit I doot we cuid cry ‘clarty diversity’. Oniewey, listen in an enjoy“.

A got roon tae haein a swatch at this. Sue Wright richtlie sets oot the twa scuils o thocht anent linguistics the day. Ae is aboot langage as a seestem, a set o rules gin ye like, language as a ‘thing’ ye can write doon an pass on via eddication. This ideologie, she seys, is whit’s ahint language plannin, standart-settin, a ’naitionalist’ projeck o naition-biggin. (‘Naitionalist’ is here o coorse a pit-doon ). 🙂

On the other haun is the notion o language as ‘practice’, ‘jist whit fowk sey’ in aw its mixter-maxter glorie. Here langage is kythin (emergent), rael (authentic) an e’er chyngin in yiss. Rule-makkers need tae keep their fat nebs oot o’t! It’s a kinna post-modren, post-naitionalist poseetion that lats on it’s neutral, pluralistic, democratic but o coorse isna. A focus on ‘practice’/dialecks/authenticitie is stappit-fu wi ideologie. Sue Wright wis pittin ower this neo-liberal, mairket-cawed, de’il tak the hinmaist kin o linguistics, thrawin a deefie at issues o pooer, status an economics.

Ahint thon, by ma wey o’t, is a high-heidyin (elitist) position whaur wee tungs is deconstructit intae dialecks *afore* they git intae a position o strenth tae tak on the elites. Ach, it *luiks* mair ‘democratic’ tae blether on aboot Shetland or the Doric but in fack the ootcome is tae keep Scots sindert an waik. Whit’s mair, Scots isna at aw like Galician, Scots awreddies haes a (“90%”) standart, an the dialects isna at aw faur apart like Sami. Ye aye read oot standart Scots in yer ain dialeck, nae bather. We aw love the dialects an naebodie’s seyin awbodie shud speak the same. But we dae need the status o a mair-or-less unitit written form…