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Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?

GUEST,Kenny B sans kuki 29 Aug 11 - 06:10 PM
GUEST,Paul Burke 28 Aug 11 - 07:53 PM
Dave MacKenzie 28 Aug 11 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Paul Burke 28 Aug 11 - 06:50 PM
Dave MacKenzie 28 Aug 11 - 06:14 PM
GUEST,Paul Burke 28 Aug 11 - 04:54 PM
GUEST 28 Aug 11 - 04:51 PM
Tootler 28 Aug 11 - 05:22 AM
Edthefolkie 27 Aug 11 - 05:21 PM
Suegorgeous 27 Aug 11 - 08:09 AM
goatfell 27 Aug 11 - 07:06 AM
GUEST,Allan Con 12 Aug 10 - 03:08 PM
GUEST,Allan Con 12 Aug 10 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Allan Con 12 Aug 10 - 02:40 PM
G-Force 12 Aug 10 - 10:51 AM
Taconicus 11 Aug 10 - 08:23 PM
Dave MacKenzie 11 Aug 10 - 07:29 PM
GUEST,Betsy 11 Aug 10 - 07:24 PM
Dave MacKenzie 11 Aug 10 - 07:10 PM
GUEST,Allan Con 11 Aug 10 - 06:09 PM
GUEST,Allan Con 11 Aug 10 - 05:48 PM
Taconicus 11 Aug 10 - 02:08 PM
mayomick 11 Aug 10 - 01:30 PM
Jack Campin 11 Aug 10 - 11:29 AM
mayomick 11 Aug 10 - 10:42 AM
Gutcher 11 Aug 10 - 10:03 AM
GUEST,Allan Con 10 Aug 10 - 12:53 PM
GUEST,Allan C 10 Aug 10 - 12:48 PM
Jack Campin 09 Aug 10 - 09:08 PM
mayomick 09 Aug 10 - 05:45 PM
GUEST,semiotic 09 Aug 10 - 05:30 PM
maple_leaf_boy 09 Aug 10 - 04:56 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Aug 10 - 04:08 PM
Taconicus 09 Aug 10 - 03:12 PM
Snuffy 24 Oct 06 - 07:04 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 24 Oct 06 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,HughM 24 Oct 06 - 05:07 PM
Tattie Bogle 24 Oct 06 - 04:27 PM
Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland 24 Oct 06 - 12:10 PM
Lighter 24 Oct 06 - 09:28 AM
GUEST,Darowyn 24 Oct 06 - 08:12 AM
Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland 24 Oct 06 - 04:27 AM
GUEST,Scotchman 24 Oct 06 - 04:18 AM
Paul Burke 24 Oct 06 - 03:16 AM
Rowan 24 Oct 06 - 12:59 AM
Tattie Bogle 23 Oct 06 - 07:31 PM
Lighter 23 Oct 06 - 07:23 PM
Rowan 23 Oct 06 - 06:44 PM
Lighter 23 Oct 06 - 09:07 AM
Paul Burke 23 Oct 06 - 05:37 AM
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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Kenny B sans kuki
Date: 29 Aug 11 - 06:10 PM

Could it be that we all have the "Freedom of Speech" no matter how it was historcally arrived at.
When it comes to the written word we all seem to be close to agreement.
Gaun Yersel Pal


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 07:53 PM

Though, as a friend fluent in Slavonic languages told me once, there are pitfalls... I can't remember which awy round it is, but a phrase that means "you are the light of my life" in either Russian or Croat, means "yoy are the diarrhoea of my bowels" in the other.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 07:29 PM

Very often the difference between a dialect and a language is just politics, which is why Norwegian, Swedish and Danish are languages rather than dialects. Something similar happens with the Slavonic languages. I had a conversation several years ago with a Czech girl who was telling me how she could have conversations with Slovaks, Poles etc, each talking their own language, and she reluctantly had to admit that this also applied to Russian.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 06:50 PM

Norwegian, Swedish and Danish ARE dialects of the same language! The only thing that separates them is nationalistic politics. Especially the (probably former now) Norwegian reluctance to use imported words, preferring to roll their own instead. They are in fact a lot closer than Geordie and Zummerzett.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 06:14 PM

Just because Scots and English were the same language half a millenium ago does not mean that they're the same language today. Look at Norwegian, Swedish and Danish.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 04:54 PM

Sorry, that was me


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 04:51 PM


13 March 1547-8.

Selling of the wynes.

It is statute and ordanit, etc., that na maner of taverners nor vthers within this burgh sell ony of the new wynes laitlie cumin in the Fraynsche schips quhill viij dayes be run, and fra thine furth the samyn new wynes and awld wynes be sawld for xiiij d. the pynt, vnder the pane of x li. vnforgevin.


This extract from the Records of the Burgh of Edinburgh is easily understood by any English reader with a little exposure to Middle English orthography. Go and see this and many others\for yourself at British History online. Since Scotland was independent then (long before Jimmy One and Six) there is no reason to think they were using any language other than that spoken by the prominent citizens. And it's not a different language from that spoken in London, just a different flavour of the same one.

And Goatfell, check facts before making statements:

The European Union has 23 official and working languages. They are: Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish and Swedish.
From the European Commission website.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tootler
Date: 28 Aug 11 - 05:22 AM

Something tells me that Archbishop Dunbar was not all that keen on the peoples of the Border.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 27 Aug 11 - 05:21 PM

Someone mentioned the Border reivers earlier - here's just part of Gavin Dunbar, Archbishop of Glasgow's comprehensive curse on the lot round Liddesdale.

"I curse their heid and all the haris of thair heid; I curse thair face, thair ene, thair mouth, thair neise, thair tongue, thair teeth, thair crag, thair shoulderis, thair breist, thair hert, thair stomok, thair bak, thair wame, thair armes, thais leggis, thair handis, thair feit, and everilk part of thair body, frae the top of their heid to the soill of thair feet, befoir and behind, within and without.

"I curse thaim gangand (going), and I curse them rydland (riding); I curse thaim standand, and I curse thaim sittand; I curse thaim etand, I curse thaim drinkand; I curse thaim walkand, I curse thaim sleepand; I curse thaim risand, I curse thaim lyand; I curse thaim at hame, I curse thaim fra hame; I curse thaim within the house, I curse thaim without the house; I curse thair wiffis, thair barnis, and thair servandis participand with thaim in their deides. I way thair cornys, thair catales, thair woll, thair scheip, thjair horse, thair swyne, thair geise, thair hennes, and all thair quyk gude (livestock). I wary their hallis, thair chalmeris (rooms), thair kechingis, thair stanillis, thair barnys, thair biris (cowsheds), thair bernyardis, thair cailyardis (cabbage-patches)....thair plewis, thair harrowis, and the gudis and housis that is necessair for their sustentatioun and weilfair".

So just watch it eh?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Suegorgeous
Date: 27 Aug 11 - 08:09 AM

Greg and McGrath - as I understand it, children don't have to be given either of their parents' surnames. You can give a child a completely different surname. Some parents choose to give the surname Wild, for example.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: goatfell
Date: 27 Aug 11 - 07:06 AM

Scots and ulster-scots were made offical language by the Europian goverment, and English s not an offical language


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Allan Con
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 03:08 PM

"I understood Scots is/was a dialect"

I didn't pick up on that bit. Are you suggesting that perhaps Scots doesn't exist any longer?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Allan Con
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 02:56 PM

"No, not really. Galicia is in Spain, but that doesn't make Galician a dialect of Spanish, in my opinion. It's actually much more like Portuguese."

I think it is quite common for there to be language conituums. SO yos I can imagine you can have what are called dialects of Spanish which are far closer to neighbouring dialects of Portuguese than they are to say the Spanish spoken elsewhere and vicer-versa. That is not a linguistic issue as much as a political and cultural one. One side of the border it is called this and the other side it is called that. Likewise with Scots. When it was the fully fledged language of the Scottish Court it was generally regarded as a seperate language; then when the Court moved to London and became anglicised and especially after the political union the elite within Scotland started to speak standard English hence Scots was demoted and regarded as uncouth incorrect English; then in modern times it is again regarded as a language in its own right. Though some people still have an issue with that. In Spain the Catalans used to be told to speak the language of Christians but now at least in Catalonia itself the language has gone through a normalisation process - in Scotland many Scots speaking children used to be told to 'speak properly' and Scots still hasn't gone through any kind of normalisation. You don't tend to hear it in the media and many people tend not to use it so much in serious work situations etc.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Allan Con
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 02:40 PM

"I understood Scots is/was a dialect - a form of English , and Gaelic is a language.
The Scots can disuss this matter amongst themselves - as the Lowlanders and Highlanders - seem to disagree with each other."

Scots couldn't be (a dialect) as it itself has various quite distince dialects. It it is a series of dialects right enough. Scots is no more or no less a form of English as Gaelic is a form of Irish. Offically both Scots and Gaelic are recognised as distinct languages of Scotland by everyone that matters. That is the Scottish Education system; the Scottish govt; the UK govt and the EU. I don't know where you get the Lowlander v Highlander thing as just about everyone I know who is supportive of Scots is also supportive of Gaelic and vice-versa.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: G-Force
Date: 12 Aug 10 - 10:51 AM

" Is Galician a dialect of Spanish ? "

No, not really. Galicia is in Spain, but that doesn't make Galician a dialect of Spanish, in my opinion. It's actually much more like Portuguese. It's probably reasonable to say it's a dialect of Portuguese.

Lots of interesting stuff in this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Taconicus
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 08:23 PM

Don't worry, Allan, I wasn't the least offended or put off by Jack's comment. I just wanted to explain what I meant when I wrote Scots English. I'll avoid using the phrase henceforth, to avoid confusion.

@Dave MacKenzie: Well, I guess I'm just a dumb Yank then.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 07:29 PM

Scots has a different vocabulary and grammar from English. Gaelic, on the other hand could be seen as a dialect of Gaelic.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Betsy
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 07:24 PM

I understood Scots is/was a dialect - a form of English , and Gaelic is a language.
The Scots can disuss this matter amongst themselves - as the Lowlanders and Highlanders - seem to disagree with each other.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Dave MacKenzie
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 07:10 PM

All the ordinary people I know are quite aware of the difference between Scots English and Scots, though they might not be able to tell the difference between Scots English and English English other than accent.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Allan Con
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 06:09 PM

"know that when ordinary people like me say "Scots English" they mean all sorts of things running the gamut from English laden with Scots words to strictly Scottish English,"

I don't think Jack was meaning to be pedantic or pernickity. He maybe could have put it better but he was just pointing out that the term Scots English, Scottish English or probably more properly Scottish Standard English (whatever one wants to call it) is not the same thing as the Scots language. SSE is simply standard English as it is spoken in Scotland. Basically accent aside just the same as standard English but with Scotticisms like pinkie, thrice and gotten - plus some of the more commonly known Scots words - though even they are often used just for comic effect and wee asides. Scots itself though closely related has different vocab, different spelling, different grammar etc. Many people of course speak a mix-max though others change between the two with ease depending on who they are speaking too.

Though there has never been a census count govt estimates put the number of actual Scots speakers at about 1.5 million - whereas just about everyone can speak SSE. Some better than others no doubt :-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Allan Con
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 05:48 PM

"Do you think it would be true to say that the english spoken in England is as much a dialect of english as the dialect spoken by the Lowland Scots?"

There is no single Lowland Scots dialect as such but there are various dialects of Lowland Scots in Scotland and some of them are quite differnt from each other. Among the more individual are Shetlandic; the Doric of the North East; and my own Borders dialect which many call the 'yow an mey' dialect. There are various dialects of English spoken in England too of course. But yes I take it you are meaning standard English as spoken by many newsreaders etc. That too is surely a dialect. Basically I imagine any living form of speech is a dialect.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Taconicus
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 02:08 PM

Hey Jack Campin -- I'm not going to argue with you. I know that when ordinary people like me say "Scots English" they mean all sorts of things running the gamut from English laden with Scots words to strictly Scottish English, which I guess is what you're talking about, and there is always someone who wants to be ultra-technical about it, including those who would take you (Jack Campin) to task for calling it Scots English instead of Scottish English, which I've heard some say is supposedly the more proper title.

I wasn't trying to start an etymological debate; I was just trying to leave the link to a useful dictionary for deciphering Scots words in otherwise English-language Scottish songs. That's all I meant by "Scots English": language, specifically Scottish folk music lyrics, that are written in English, but have a great number of Scots words and/or pronunciations. If more well-educated folks like yourself use the phrase as a term of art for something else, sorry. I guess I should've written just "Scots dictionary," but I don't know how to edit my existing posts, so there it lies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: mayomick
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 01:30 PM

I worked on a job once where there were Irish ,Jamaicans,an English speaking Frenchman and god knows what. The only two I had difficulty understanding were a pair o' Scots . Terribly nice they were , but nobody could understand them. People were a bit embarrassed by having to ask them to repeat everything ,but they took a sort of pride in the fact that they were uninteligible to the sassanach .
I caught them out once when they asked me if I could understand what "we twa hae puddled in the burn frae morning sun til dine" meant.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 11:29 AM

English as spoken in England has many dialects. Scots English is just another dialect of the same language (as are most forms of American speech). Scots is more remotely related. Middle-class Bostonians, Dubliners, Londoners and Edinbourgeois have no problem understanding each other. Scots, Gullah, or Barbados are different enough to make communication pretty difficult.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: mayomick
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 10:42 AM

Thanks for the correction Jack and Allan .

Do you think it would be true to say that the english spoken in England is as much a dialect of english as the dialect spoken by the Lowland Scots?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Gutcher
Date: 11 Aug 10 - 10:03 AM

A 16th.C writer laments that the English language was so impoverised
that they were having to borrow from the Italian,French,Spanish,
Dutch and Scottish.
It would appear that some at least recognised Scots as a separate
language.
Joe.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Allan Con
Date: 10 Aug 10 - 12:53 PM

"The Scandinavians were intergrated into Scotland and the language they used was spoken there long before the Scandinavian navy made forceful contact with England ,he used to say ."

I don't think that can be right. The cradle of the Scots language is in the Lothians and Borders - that is south-eastern Scotland - only spreading out over the rest of Scotland later. The areas of Scotland with a real significant Norse presence were on the islands, the far north and the far west. The Borders were never a part of the Danelaw either. Scandinavian influence is thought to be particularly from the Anglo-Danish incoming traders who came into the Scottish burghs from notrhern England. Plus of course when people in the far north and Northern Isles dropped Norn for Scots there would be a Norn influence left.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Allan C
Date: 10 Aug 10 - 12:48 PM

"His argument was on the lines of English being of Saxon derivation and Scots from the Anglian or Frisian language; or was it the other way round?"

The northern part of what had been the Anglian Kingdom of Northumbria (from the present border up to the Forth) became part of Scotland (ie Alba) in the early 11thC though it had been within the Scottish sphere prior to that. The dominant language in this region was the Northumbrian dialect of Anglo-Saxon as spoken in northern England also. It also had elements of Anglo-Danish. When the burghs started to grow in Scotland this language gradually became first the language of trade and eventually the language of government adding other influences (ie French, Norse and Gaelic loan words etc) which gradually differentiated it from the northern English dialects and of course the standard English which wsa developing further south.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 09:08 PM

The Anglo-Saxons got to England before the Romans left. Well before any contact with the Scandinavians. So that theory doesn't stand up.

Taconicus, again - Scots English is a distinctive dialect (the form of English spoken in mostly-urban Scotland, stereotypically the way Edinburgh lawyers speak) - it's a perfectly legitimate form of speech in its own right, with an extensive literature, but it is not Scots. And it doesn't have a glossary on Mudcat.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: mayomick
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 05:45 PM

A Scots friend of mine, now sadly deceased , used to argue that English should be considered a dialect of Lowland Scots and not the other way around . The Scandinavians were intergrated into Scotland and the language they used was spoken there long before the Scandinavian navy made forceful contact with England ,he used to say .


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,semiotic
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 05:30 PM

If my memory serves, Meic Stephens has quite a section on Scots in "Linguistic Minorities in Western Europe" but you might have quite a search for a copy. His argument was on the lines of English being of Saxon derivation and Scots from the Anglian or Frisian language; or was it the other way round?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 04:56 PM

The Gaels are also on the mainland of Nova Scotia, mostly in the Eastern part of the province. I don't know the significance of "Lowland Scots" in Nova Scotia, but I think it should be significant. But Scottish Gaelic is very important in Nova Scotia. They're teaching it in public schools (elementary, junior and senior high). They also have a Gaelic History course taught at some high schools. And at least four post-secondary institutions offer Scottish Gaelic. One of which (St F.X.)also teaches Irish Gaelic. They have other Gaelic related programs as well.

I'm not 100% sure of this, but I think they have an Extend Core /
Immersion program where students who have sufficient knowledge of
the language can take courses in Gaelic. I know they do for French.

It's mostly in the Halifax-Metro area (because it's the capital),
Pictou and Antigonish Counties, and Cape Breton island (because those
are the Gaelic regions). Antigonish and Cape Breton have most of their
major road signs both in English and Gaelic.

They have a government run "Office Of Gaelic Affairs" with three locations in Antigonish, Mabou and Halifax.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 04:08 PM

The father could have changed their own name to NicBhaoille

I know it's a couple of years since greg wrote that, but I've only just read it.

He couldn't have done that, because, whether in its Irish or its Scottish variant, the language doesn't work like that. "Nic" means "daughter of" and "Mac" means "son of". So the father would have needed to have the name MacBhaoille in order for the daughter to be NicBhaoille.

It gets more complicated, because properly speaking th wife retains her pre-married name, but might also be referred to as "Bean MacBhaoille, however never as NicBhaoille.

You can see why the poor official, conditioned to the idea that everyone in a family should have the same surname, might have got confused...


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Taconicus
Date: 09 Aug 10 - 03:12 PM

Ever wonder about the meaning of words in Scots English folk songs? Here's a link to the Online Scots Dictionary.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Snuffy
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 07:04 PM

I don't know about skelp, but Kist (or Kiste) is the standard Germanic word for a chest or box - you'll find it in German ,Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, etc etc.

In southern english the 'k' sound often becomes 'ch' while remaining a 'k' in northern dialects (including Scots). So kirk becomes church and kist becomes chest.

I reckon your Gaels nicked the word from Saxons or Vikings, rather than the other way round


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 05:25 PM

Rubbish!

If ever there was a thread that DOES NOT belong in the folkie section, then this is it.

Take that as a compliment from a Mudcat contributor who can actualy play - bunch of folk instruments- and sing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,HughM
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 05:07 PM

I think there is still a Transatlantic misunderstanding from earlier on: In the U.K. the hard of hearing can use Teletext to get subtitles. However, if a particular speaker has an unusual accent there are sometimes subtitles provided as part of the normal T.V. picture.

I wouldn't say Dutch was any less of a language because some affairs are conducted in English. Until quite recently British chemical engineers were expected to learn German (and it comes in handy for electronics, too).

I have been wondering for some time whether there was a significant migration of Gaelic speakers to Tyneside during the Clearances. Some Geordie words seem to be derived from Gaelic, such as "kist" (ciste: chest,coffin or trunk) and "skelp" (sgealp; to hit, and I notice that in the song An t-Eilean Muileach the singer laments being exiled to Newcastle. ( I realise "kist " and "skelp" are also used in Scots.) Perhaps some historian out there can enlighten me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 04:27 PM

Och weel, youse cannae mind whit ah'm sayin' as ye've a' chosen tae ignore it! (And I have an English accent in my normal speaking voice!)
Jist try an read "Trainspottin'". a sair fecht!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 12:10 PM

i consider myself as bilingual, because I speak two languages one Scots an the other Engllish.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Lighter
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 09:28 AM

Mudcatters with more than a passing interest in languages may enjoy looking at a very concise and extremely readable introductory textbook by George Yule called "The Study of Language," available at amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Study-Language-George-Yule/dp/0521543207/sr=8-1/qid=1161696116/ref=sr_1_1/102-1659493-5167360?ie=UTF8&s=books


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Darowyn
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 08:12 AM

My understanding is that a pidgin is a language using the simplified grammar of one language with the vocabulary of another. South Seas pidgin uses English words within a Polynesian type of structure.
You get Gaelic/ English phrases in a similar way sometimes. "My head's at me" as a way of saying "I have a headache"
(I'm happy to be corrected on Celtic languages- I'm no expert)
The point I want to make is that English itself is a pidgin trading language. Everyday English uses minimal grammar compared with formal German or Latinate languages. All the case and gender agreement has gone, word order hardly matters, and we use vocabularies from anywhere.
"The knight came in through the door" is all Anglo Saxon.
"The cavalier entered via the portal" is pure Latin
English developed in the Midlands, on the borders where Anglo Saxon Speakers met Brithonic languages, Danish, Norman French, and Latin speaking lawyers and clerics.
The dialect of English that developed would depend on the ingredients in the local cocktail.
It's interesting that so many differences should have survived, and that most of us are to some extent bi-lingual. I write this in Oxford (the standard) English.
In speech you would hear a more Northern grammar and idiom despite the fact that I have never had a Yorkshire accent.
I speak North Midlands English. Scots speak Scottish English.
Cheers
Dave


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 04:27 AM

it is still a language minorty or not (excuse the spelling).

I'm not very good at spelling.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Scotchman
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 04:18 AM

What language is it best to scrounge drinks in?

""Eets yoor roond jimmee!"


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 03:16 AM

As someone correctly pointed out earlier on, it's exactly like arguing against species, and the discussion always bogs down in the excluded middle. In the end, there is no distinction between a language and a dialect, there is just a continuum of dialects, some of which have achieved more than local utility, and are called languages.

But thare is certainly a difference when looked at over a wider scale- no (human) one could fail to notice the difference between English (and Norn Iron, and Scots, and Geordie, and Jamaican, and North Calina) and say Japanese.

As for pre- literate speech groups, yes, the criteria have to be different. I suppose the main test would be whether you could get sensible (and truthful) answers about the boundaries of usage. So many of the ancient national and tribal names seem to go to the roots "the people", "our mates" or "the ones who talk properly", and the words for outside groups as "not proper people", "wild men", "babblers" etc. Group cohesion is improved by deliberately excluding outsiders.

And of course many groups have more than one speech usage. Pidgin is (as I understand it) a trading language, used in places with many speech communities, none of which is dominant. Each speaker woukld be expected to use the exchange medium in public, and their own group's speech in domestic or community situations.

Can anyone comment about the current status of, say, Dutch? There, they have the full works, literature, legal usage, newspapers, hsitories etc.- but also whole important functions in e.g. higher education are conducted in English, so a scientifically educated Dutch person has to be fluent in English. I believe that this happens in most smaller European countries. Does it make Dutch "less of a language"?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Rowan
Date: 24 Oct 06 - 12:59 AM

Lighter,
I'm sure most of what you say is correct and your comment about fudging describes well the impetus behind numerous PhDs. I was just stirring the possum about the (apparent) requirement for there to be written literature before a language could be recognised as separate; it put all the oral-only ("prehistoric" according to some definitions) languages out of consideration as languages.

In Australia we have had a long tradition of white fellas (mostly from Europe, including the British Isles. but also from North America) arriving here and telling us 'what's what'. Until relatively recently, all Australian and PNG languages were thought of as just dialects; in uninformed 'popular' discussion they are still dismissed as such by many.

But I don't wish to divert an interesting discussion.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 23 Oct 06 - 07:31 PM

If it's no' a language, why are there Scots Dictionaries?
It'd be fair braw tae ken hoo mony o'youse ha'e aye been in oor bonnie countrie afore noo, ye pontificatin' an a'. Ah cannae mind sic a muckle midden o' sh*te as whit sim o' youse ha'e pit aboon ma wee message.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Oct 06 - 07:23 PM

Rowan, in the case of the Australian languages you mention, their individual status as "languages" or "dialects" is presumably based mostly on "mutual unintelligibility." If there's never been an established written tradition among native speakers, it would be pointless to demand one if the "speech communities" are separated rather than united by their linguistic systems.

My guess is, too, that there's a certain inevitable amount of fudging in the analysis into languages and dialects, with borderline or uncertain cases more or less arbitrarily consigned to one category or the other.

Danish amd Norwegian are mutually intelligible, as are Scottish Gaelic and Irish, but they're customarily regarded as separate languages. Is Galician a dialect of Spanish ? Like Scots, it has a tradition of literary but not, I think, scientific publications. Some rural Sicilian dialects are said to be unintelligible to northern Italians (and vice versa). Are they separate languages ?

My point is that in many cases, like English and Gaelic, there's no doubt they're separate. In many others, like English and "broad" Scots, there's no entirely objective way of deciding.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Rowan
Date: 23 Oct 06 - 06:44 PM

Not wishing to divert the thread, I feel obliged to remind Paul Burke that the lack of a corpus of literature would imply the 250 separate language groups used by nonBalanda Australians and the 750 separate languages in Papua New Guinea (all recognised as languages by the relevant linguistics experts) would not qualify. Should any of the speakers of these meet paul I'm sure they'd be happy to try and convince him of the errors of his ways. Smilingly.

Another earlier poster mentioned pidgin. I've forgotten the formal distinction between pidgin languages and creole languages but, in the Top End (where Aboriginal people will routinely speak at least four languages other than English) a creole has been used for cross-cultural communication for some time. When written, the emphasis has been on simplicity; this means that this language is called Kriol. And a white fella is called a Balanda, pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable and only the last "a" is long.

Great discussion folks! Much of my ancestry apparently came from the areas you're talking about, And I'm shortly being visited by my ex from 30-odd years ago who migrated to Switzerland and has had to cope with learninng the local lingo; I'll be able to understand her only if she speaks her mother tongue, however.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Lighter
Date: 23 Oct 06 - 09:07 AM

Good points, Paul. While Scots today is still used for some imaginative literature, it isn't used routinely for law, medicine, or scholarly or scientific research. Unlike Standard English.

It's hard for me to imagine a form of speech as a true national language without that kind of cultural distribution.

Not that Scots wouldn't be perfectly adequate. But even with that sort of wide use, its written form would still look mostly like English - unless some government policy demanded the use of Scots synonyms and spellings for vast numbers of English words that the Scots already use.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 23 Oct 06 - 05:37 AM

No one seems to have mentioned that one of the distinguishing features of a language is the existence of a substantial corpus of written material- literature, but also histories, newspapers, general works- in that language.

Now there is quite a lot of literature in Scots, as there is to a lesser extent in say Lancashire dialect (Tim Bobbin's poems for example), but it is often self- conscious in both cases. The newpapers in both Edinburgh and Preston are published in the national standard English (with occasional use of dialect words in both cases). There are no general works as far as I am aware in either dialect- no one would publish a serious work of history in Scots.

Historical documents are more complicated- Scots seems to have been slower to adopt the developing standard than England, and retained their version of Middle english usage until after the Act of Union.

So perhaps Scots was on the way to developing into a separate language in the 16th-18th Century, but the Union retarded this, and it now hovers uncertainly in Limbo (rather deserted since the Pope cleared out all the Catholic babies).


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