« According to my notebook you are nicked | Main | Ethiopia, a land of Agricultural Promise »

Scots Say Scots Isn't a Language

Jings! Crivens! Most Scots dinnae think Scots is a language at all - Times Online

After a vigorous campaign by the Scottish government to restore the Scots language to the tongues of every Lowlander, the latest progress report makes difficult reading.
This is not because it has been written in Scots. No, it seems that the majority of Scots do not regard Scots as a language at all.
Research for the SNP administration suggests that 64 per cent of the Scottish people regard Scots merely as “a way of speaking”. This must come as something of a skaich (disappointment) for its advocates.
Ted Brocklebank, the Scottish Tory culture spokesman, said he had never regarded various forms of Scots as “anything other” than dialects of English. “We have a second language in Scotland and that is Gaelic, and that is where the effort should be concentrated. Dialects like Doric in the North East or Lallans in the Borders are immensely rich but ultimately they are variations of English.”
Regarding the differ (dispute) from south of the Border, Sassenachs are almost certainly blinkin (smirking).

As I said Why not hobble a future generation. Let's be honest, Scots isn't a language, it's not like Welsh or Gaelic it is just a badly spelt mispronounced English. We have the same down in the West Country, but we don't demand Taxpayer cash to preserve it. We enjoy it as our heritage but realise that it limits our kids by stereotyping them.


Just remember we're all paying for travesties like this:


And I say that as a Scotsman.

There is a kind of dialect continuum for Scots, which doesn't quiet start from standard Scottish English but never gets very far from it either. All varieties are low prestige as well (pace Rabbie Burns), which works against its being considered a distinct language (Bismark reputedly said that a language is a dialect with an army).

Linguists don't bother too much about the distinction between dialect and language, because it's impossible to define criteria that are useful or that mean something when applied to real languages. But when a classification needs to be made, Scots is usually clased as a dialect of English. The
Ethnologue is an exception, but then it is generally very splitty, presumably because of its original purpose.

Post a comment