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Folklore: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?

GUEST 15 Oct 06 - 04:41 AM
GUEST,I`M GANNING O`ER 15 Oct 06 - 06:41 AM
Tootler 15 Oct 06 - 06:49 AM
GUEST,I`m gannin mad 15 Oct 06 - 08:16 AM
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mack/misophist 15 Oct 06 - 09:26 AM
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Subject: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 04:41 AM

"Gaelic or Scots is not spoken in Scotland" - lumping these two together to imply that each is actually a separate language!

Without wishing to court a battle royal, I'm wondering what the general opinion is, at home in Scotland, it's the Scots tongue.

Do most folk consider it to be an actual language in it's own right or does half the country feel it is simply a dialect of English?


The problem is of course, if Scots is in fact only a dialect itself, then Ulster-Scots becomes a dialect of a dialect!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,I`M GANNING O`ER
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 06:41 AM

As a Geordie I am also applying for a grant to have Geordie recognised as a language, when working in London I was advised by my Cockney mates to speak English, I also advised them to do the same, Hell blazes were do we stop, the Brummies, the Norfolk-Suffolk swede-bashers,the Cornish pasties, the Devon arrrghs, the Wiltshire moon-rakers, the Hartlepool monkey hangers, please Jock do me a favour and live with it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tootler
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 06:49 AM

Guest, you need to get one thing straight before this discussion can go any further.

Gaelic is a separate language. It is a Celtic language once widespread in Scotland but now confined pretty much to the Western Isles. Scots is an Anglo Saxon language. Whether it can be considered a separate language from English or whether Scots and English are dialects of one another is an interesting point. Being of Anglo Scottish parentage, I am not sure what the answer is. Certainly "Broad Scots" is pretty much incomprehensible to people from the rest of Britain. But then so is Broad Geordie or Broad Yorkshire or Broad Devon. Also there are different dialects within Scotland. My mother was from Aberdeen and they certainly spoke differently from Edinburgh or Glasgow for example.

This then raises the question when does a dialect become a separate language?

I was reading a book about the Border Reivers recently and it had extensive quotes from writings of the time. While there were differences between the English and Scots in both spelling and grammar, with a little effort both were comprehensible to a modern English reader.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,I`m gannin mad
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 08:16 AM

Tootler correct in every detail.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 08:21 AM

A language, as they say, is a dialect with a navy (or army, the saying varies).


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 09:26 AM

The textbook answer is that it's a dialect if 2 persons of good will and reasonable sense are able to understand each other. Mostly. Years ago, PBS ran a series on the English language and it's dialects. They let the Lowland Scot faction call their dialect a language (clearly incorrect because they were understandable. Mostly) and added that Scots Gaelic was the native tongue of one or two outer islands only. The dialect and the Gaelic were plainly unrelated, except perhaps for loan words.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Anthony
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 09:39 AM

www.electricscotland.com/poetry/purves/Hist_Background.pdf
This article is worth reading and should answer the question posted.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Bee
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 12:29 PM

There are certainly dialects of British English that this Canadian has trouble understanding. Watching BBC news coverage of a (miners?)strike with a group of Nederlands students in 1971 or '72, I was asked if I could translate the interviews, as the dialect of the interviewees was thick. Couldn't be done. The Dutch kids were better speakers of even BBC English than I in the first place.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 12:48 PM

The textbook answer is that it's a dialect if 2 persons of good will and reasonable sense are able to understand each other.

That would mean Spanish and Italian were dialects. I think the answerr greg quoted is the best rule of thumb - though I'd put it the other way round, "a dialect is a language that does not have an army or navy", to allow for cases like Welsh, or the various Native American languages.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 12:49 PM

I always thought the Scots were an Irish tribe who settled in Hibernia - hence the name Scotland. The language was obviously anglasised and various regional dialects have evolved to the present day. What do you think?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 12:50 PM

Would a speaker of a Scottish (or any other Englsih) dialect be dubbed or subtitled in British TV?
Some German dialects (Swiss German in particular) are now subtitled in our TV (which I resent).


Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Santa
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 01:16 PM

I'd suggest that Scots descended from Northumbrian Anglo-Saxon, whereas English mainly descended from Wessex/Mercian Anglo-Saxon. When a dialect crosses over to become a language it's hard to say, but Scots certainly had an Army, so presumably a navy at the same time. Perhaps it's the case that after initial divergence, the course taken by most languages, it has undergone a reversal of its evolution and now is closer to English than it was 200-300 years ago.

So it started as a dialect of a dialect, then underwent independent development to become a language, and has now returned to being a dialect.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 01:44 PM

Would a speaker of a Scottish (or any other Englsih) dialect be dubbed or subtitled in British TV

Subtitles are generally available in British TV, to help people with hearing loss - and when a strong regional or national dialect is involved it is common for people to switch them on, tomake it easier to makem sense of what is being said.   

For example when the great Rab C Nesbit was being shown...

(The subtitles in that case would have been in Glaswegian Scots, not translated into standard English, but it was a lot easier to follow the man in black and white print.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 02:12 PM

When you speak to other Europeans about their different dialects you find that there is not a lot of difference, a German I worked with told me that like Ireland accents can differ over a few miles.
I pointed out the difference in our own area, between the townspeoples accents and the rural accents, this over a short distance of a few miles.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: mack/misophist
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 02:39 PM

When I offered my 'textbook' definition of dialect, I should have added 'in face to face conversation'.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 02:50 PM

I'm an admirer of a wonderful book called The Power of Babble (that's right, "Power"), by Alex McWhorter, who is a great writer on language and social-cultural matters.

McWhorter maintains that there is no such thing as language: "It's all dialects!" Some of the dialects mutually understandable, to one degree and another, and some are not. Look at the Italian native to Naples and Spanish. They are nominally parts of separate languages, but they are pretty much mutually comprehensible--more so, it might be said, than Naples Italian and northern Italian.

The concept of "language", I think, is like "species" in biology, where it can meaningfully be said that "A species is whatever expert biologists decide to call 'a species'." Ditto "language".

It's ALL dialects!

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 03:08 PM

English

Through--oo
Though--oh
Bough--ow
Rough--uff
Thought--aw

Go figger.

To make the long 'e' sound we have sea, see, me, receive, believe, ski, and about a half dozen others I can't be arsed to recall. I agree with Dave. No doubt if the Anglo-Frisian speakers had heard 'English' a few hundred years later they would have talked about the decline and fall of the language. No doubt the West Germanic speakers thought the same of the Anglo-Frisians.

I agree with Dave O despite not disagreeing with anyone else. Like, what it be?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 03:21 PM

You left out hiccough--up


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Peace
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 03:29 PM

I apologize for drifing away fron Scottish English. But having spoken to some English people in person, and some Australians, and Canadians and Americans and ew Zealanders and Indians, and Africans and, and, and, the language changes from place to place even at smmall distances of less than fifty miles (80 km for Canucks). I recall reading a study many years ago that was done in England. In a very small area there were someting like a dozen pronunciations and spelling variations of the word 'icicle'.

Thanks, Kevin. I shall add it to the list.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Oct 06 - 03:36 PM

Every language and every dialect evolves or dies. Even Latin. Here are a few examples from the Vatican (where else?):

alpenstock         montanus báculus
apartheid         segregátio nigritarum
basket-ball         follis canistrīque ludus
bidet                ovāta pelvis
computer         instrumentum computatórium
cow boy         armentárius
edelweis         leontopódium alpinum
flirt            amor levis
frittata         ovorum intrīta
gin            pótio iunípera
golf                thorax láneus manicatus
hot pants         brevíssimae bracae femíneae
jazz                iazensis música
jeep                autocinētum locis iniquis aptum
jet                aërināvis celérrima
jumbo                capacíssima aërināvis
lady            Ánglica múlier conspícua
motel                deversórium autocinéticum
nylon                matéria plástica nailonensis
picnic         cénula subdivālis
punk                punkianae catervae ássecla
rugby            ludus follis ovāti
week-end         éxiens hebdómada

Gotta evolve....


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Mr Red
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 05:10 AM

Or is it a patois?


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: The Shambles
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 08:10 AM

Or is it a patois?

No - that's what you spread on toast.


Subject: RE: BS: Jolly good jokes
From: eric the red - PM
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 05:11 AM

Hey Jock, is that a doughnut or a meringue ? yer nay wrang laddie, it's a doughnut.

eric


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,DIAVROS
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 08:25 AM

THE DIALECTS WILL EXTERRRRMINATE YOU!!!! EXTERRRRRRRMINATE!!!!! EXTERRRRMINATE!!!!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 09:16 AM

It could be a lingua faca.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 09:32 AM

Then there are pidgins.   (There are also pigeons, but I don't know what they speak. There was also Walter Pidgeon, the actor, but he seemed to speak all right.)

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 10:08 AM

Nothing is ever simple:
The Scots were Gaels who spoke Gaelic, not Scots, and they came from Ireland. It was the Romans who called them Scottie. The Scots language derives from the Saxons who came from Germany and Holland. The Saxons cousins the Angles, also from Germany spoke the same language and gave their name to England. Their language came to be known as Anglo-Saxon and from it derived both English and Scots. Therefore they are sibling languages, neither being a dialect derived from the other. It could be argued that both are German dialects. Clear as mud?? :-}
      Sandy


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 10:14 AM

Pretty good, Sandy. I would add one thing to clear up the third sentence. The lowland Scots language derives from Saxons. The Highland Scots spoke the Gaedhlige language which derived from Ulster Irish. That language has now pretty well retreated to the outer islands, as I understand it. I would happily stand correction on this. The languages (Ulster Irish and Scots Gaelic) are still very similar in terms of pronounciation and usage but are very different in terms of spelling.

All the best,

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 10:31 AM

If Scots is a separate language, it only became so in the last couple of hundred years. Starting from Old English, it lost the gender and concordance structure in the same way that English did. Sentence structure is the same in Scots and English. Differences are almost entirely in pronunciation and vocabulary.

One main difference is that, along with many northern English dialects, the vowel shift that happened from late Middle English to Modern English was less drastic. Another is the retention of guttural fricatives (ch as in 'loch', nicht for night etc.)

The spelling of English became standardised before modern pronunciation was fully developed, which means that the spelling often represents Scots better than English.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 10:32 AM

There was a letter in yesterday's Irish Times from a puzzled Pole about Dubliners' use of the phrase "dig out", which has nothing to do with potatoes.

In the wake of Ireland's soccer defeat (5-2) by Cyprus a few days earlier, a taxi-driver remarked to the Pole that "The lads in the Irish dugout would need a digout before the fans were dug out of them!"

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 11:36 AM

Yeh Mick! The Gaels (Scots) who came from Ireland were a branch of the Dalriada and they were Gaelic speaking. They mixed with the Picts in Scotland who were another group of Celts. With the Highland clearances many thousands of these people came to Cape Breton in the early 1800's. My parents still spoke "the Gaelic". I understand a bit but am not fluent. I have heard it said that Gaelic in the North of Ireland was close to what is spoken in the Hebrides but that the southern Irish has less in common.
                Slainte,
                   Sandy


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: number 6
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 11:58 AM

"Ulster Irish and Scots Gaelic"

Is this not a result of Ulster being populated by the Scots? ... the colonization which took place in the northern Irish province of Ulster during the early 17th century in the reign of James I of England.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: ard mhacha
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 12:15 PM

A mixture of lowland Scots mostly from the border regions and as many again of English land grabbers, there would have been no Gaelic speakers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: number 6
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 12:20 PM

Thanks for the clarification mhacha.

sIx


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 12:22 PM

I wouldn't think so, sIx, as these were Scots Presbyterians and not Gaels. They were a part of the Plantation system, and actually sought to displace Gaelic culture. That is greatly simplified generalization, but they surely didn't bring the language of the Gaels. They would have been English speakers brought to displace the native Irish. The migration that Sandy refers to took place much earlier. Certain Gaels, fled to what later became Scotland, settling in the highlands. They had a great deal to do with the creation of the clan structure, brought there language and customs, and (I am told) bagpipes and whiskey. Over the centuries these transplants, influenced by these and other cultures, became what we now know as the Scot.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 12:23 PM

cross post, ard. Sorry.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Sandy (lost cookie)
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 12:24 PM

As ard mhacha says this return migration to Ireland was not of Gaelic people. There was however continuing trade and migration back and forth.
The kingdom of Dalriada included both areas.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Sandy Mc Lean
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 12:32 PM

more here:

http://lyberty.com/encyc/articles/dalriada.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 01:29 PM

"A Lanmguage is just a Dialect with an Army and Navy"


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: An Buachaill Caol Dubh
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 01:30 PM

Minus "m"


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Big Mick
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 01:32 PM

Perhaps if you read the discussion thus far, you would notice that someone has already given that quote and discussed it, ABCD. I believe it was the third post.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 02:54 PM

Thanks, McGrath, for the information.

We would not subtitle in the respective dialect (which I think is a very good idea) but in high German.

In the case of Swiss German, dialect subtitles could be difficult for 90% of the Germans.

Dialect subtitle:       War gohd Gompfi poschde?
High German subtitle:    Wer geht Marmelade einkaufen?
English:                Who's going to buy jam?

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Scoville
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 03:02 PM

Ha! In the U.S. they sometimes subtitle English if it has a heavy regional accent. Cajuns in particular seem to be the victims of this, although I've also seen it done to various Europeans with accented English, even if they're Irish or English or from somewhere else that generally speaks English. Think Boomhauer on "King of the Hill".


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,ibo
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 04:12 PM

I will answer this question,it is simply a noise


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 16 Oct 06 - 04:24 PM

In the U.S. they sometimes subtitle English if it has a heavy regional accent.

So don't they provide subtitles as a matter of course to help people who don't hear too well? (Which is what the subtitles I referred to are there for primarily) I'm surprised at that - I'd have thought that if anything the States would be ahead of us there.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Boab
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 12:04 AM

During the reign of Mary , Queen of Scots, the people of the South west of Scotland used Gaelic. A brief glance at the old "toon" [farm steading] names is revealing. "Craigdarroch", "Auchengee" Farden Reoch" "Creoch" "Brockloch" "Polquhirter" "Polquwhaup" are all cases which lie within five miles of my birthplace. Most of those names stem from old Gaelic. The Scots toungue has something in common with most "languages". It derives from the influences which came into the lives of the people over the centuries. Many words now accepted as "Scots" are the result of old Anglo saxon influence. Some words, like "tassie" [cup], crauvat" [scarf, or tie], are from contact with the French. "Kirk" , "bairn", etc., are Scandinavian. It's some time since I looked with any concentration at a dictionary, but I can clearly remember the italics following most words--"from the French'---"from the German"----"from Latin"--etc.. All language groups have evolved similarly due to changing circumstance. It is plain in fact that at the present day new words and expressions are popping up continuously due to the global phenomenon of modern communications and
interest in entertainment and constant virtual contact with other language groups.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 09:01 AM

McGrth of Harlow inquired:

So don't they provide subtitles as a matter of course to help people who don't hear too well?

Yes, many stations have, included in their signal, the information for real-time subtitles, for many of the programs. Of course you have to have the appropriate home equipment to make those running "translations" show up on the screen.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: cobra
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 10:12 AM

Getting a grant from the EU for preservation/ promulgation of your language or dialect of choice is a good way to ensure its preservation. Provided the money can be spent in the ale hoose gannin' o'er the mair dreek aspects o' the language.

I am reminded of a do which was held in Belfast City Hall a while back. It was in support of Disabled Children, the Lord Mayor's chosen charity at the time. Politically, all official communications in Norn Iron are now required to be issued in three (3) versions viz. English, Gaeilge and Ulster-Scots. The English version extended a welcome to prospective attendees and hoped they would be able to join the Mayor for afternoon tea at the City Hall in support of Children With Mental Disability. The Gaelic version was a fair interpration of the same.

The Ulster-Scots exhortation was as follows (approx.): "The heid yin wud like for ye to cam fir tae and buns in the Big Hoose in aid of the wee dafties".

Language or dialect, you decide.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 11:09 AM

When Stormont was up and running did the elected brains use this dialect?.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: cobra
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 03:45 PM

"Stormont" and "brains" in thesame sentence is a difficult concept to work with. They all spoke in tongues, their own tongues. Incomprehensible to anyone else.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 07:51 PM

I loved the "wee dafties". How did they get away with such a non-PC expression? I can guess, but tell me anyway ;)


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Urbane_Guerrilla
Date: 17 Oct 06 - 09:34 PM

"The appropriate equipment" being any television younger than about fifteen years old. Subtitles and SAP (Second Audio Program -- dubbing into another language) are a very regular feature at least of cable TV in the U.S. I'm way out of touch with whatever those twentieth-century slowpokes, the large TV networks, are currently doing, as I've lived ten years in an area that gets very poor VHF and UHF reception -- the antennas are all over in L.A., and there aren't hardly any repeaters to get the signals over the intervening mountains. Even medium-wave AM radio is weak and noisy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,marks
Date: 18 Oct 06 - 09:35 PM

Wolfgang
The idea that Swiss German is a dialect of German rather than a language all its own would have my grandparents (born in Basel Stadt)
spinning in their graves!
Be glad my grandmother did not learn of you referring to Schweitzerdeutsch as a "dialect". You would quickly learn
"Du sonst shon un uhr vin an esel!"
MFG
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 03:35 AM

Would "a Germanic dialect" (which it clearly is) have appeased her? It looks a little like the German bits of Yiddish to me, and no one has ever tried to claim that wasn't German in origin.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Divis Sweeney
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 03:49 AM

Ian Paisley went to both the British and European parliments to get funding to develop what he called the "Ulster Scots Language" and he got it. Yet he was allowed to stand up publicly and ridicule the Irish Language. He refers to it as a leprechaun language.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 09:31 AM

Point of clarification. Big Mick said awhile ago: "these were Scots Presbyterians and not Gaels". The two groups are not mutually exclusive. They may not get much press, but there are "Scots Presbyterians" who are Gaels.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 09:38 AM

Thurg

In fairness, taken in context, I think Big Mick's comments were valid.

Regards
p.s. My instinct suggests that Presbyterian Gaels belonged to some of the "free" sects, probably later than we're talking about? I dunno.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Wolfgang
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 09:49 AM

Mark,

I've lived some hundred yards from Switzerland for about 15 years (with better access to Swiss TV, so I know what you mean. The speakers of that Alemanic dialect prefer to call Swiss-German a language and to use the word 'dialect(s)' for Berner Deutsch, Glarner Deutsch, Zurich Deutsch etc.

But that does not mean much, for those Germans who speak the Alemanic dialect (in the very South West of Germany) and those French who also speak the Alemanic dialect (Alsatians) also would name their dialect a language (sprooch).

Less seriously, as long as the Swiss German speakers themselves name the language Schwyzerdütsch it still is a dialect of German. And it can never become an own language for purely geographical reasons: "A language is a dialect with a navy".

Paul,
no, I don't think she would have been glad with that

Swiss German is actually at the brink to a new language for several reasons in my layperson eyes.
It not only has many completely different words (East-German and West-German also had about 500 different words after a separate history of only 40 odd years).
It has a completely different grammar and the stresses are often completely different.

More reasons for it being a language already:
(1) A Swiss German speaker is unable to speak more or less of his dialect. There is no real continuum between a broad dialect and Hochdeutsch. She either speaks Hochdeutsch (with a dialect sound which most Germans wrongly consider to be Swiss German already) or she speaks real Swiss German (that by foreign speakers of German often is not even recognised to be a variant of German).

A teacher would use Hochdeutsch in her lessons and might switch completely to Schwyzerdütsch for a personal remark (Pirmin, could you pay a bit more of attention, for instance.

When I watched skiing in Swiss TV, the speakers always would use Hochdeutsch until the moment they did an interview with a Swiss skier. So without any warning he would start the next sentence for instance like this (I transcribe it how it sounds to me):
Und nu hämmer bi üs d'Marie-Thräs Nadig. Marie-Thräs, wie isch's hüetige Ranne g'si.

(2) There is a third hilarious variant of Swiss High German which also demonstrates that the dialect might soon be a language. In private TV and radio in Switzerland the language used is often Swiss German throughout. And then comes the moment when the speaker reads a news item. The news item has been written in Hochdeutsch and he reads it in Swiss German. That sounds awfully wrong like a nonexisting dialect, for the grammar and the order of words are completely Hochdeutsch and the words and the pronounciation are Swiss German.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Big Mick
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 10:14 AM

thurg, I am sure you could find some Scots Prebyterian Gaels somewhere, but I find your comment disengenuous.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Snuffy
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 12:07 PM

Not as uncommon as you might think, Mick. This site says:

Gaelic is nothing new to Irish Presbyterians who trace their roots in Ireland back to 1642 when the Scottish Regiments stationed at Carrickfergus brought their Presbyterianism to these shores. They spoke both Gaelic and Lowland Scots which later became Ulster Scots. Until the early 19th century there would have been Presbyterian communities who spoke and worshipped in Gaelic in places including Bushmills, the Glens of Antrim, Ballybay and Dundalk. Until around 1850 it was a condition that students for the Presbyterian ministry undertook classes in Irish.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 12:12 PM

in 2005 the Europain government made it an offical minorty langage

so from 2005 it's a minorty Langauge.

Tom


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Snuffy
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 12:24 PM

And plenty more on irish-speaking dissenters here Presbyterian Emigrations from Ulster to South Carolina; the Cahans Exodus from Ballybay to Abbeville in 1764.

Religious affiliation did not inevitably follow linguistic boundaries, and vice versa; the situation appears to have been far more fragmented than is commonly realised. Like Catholics, albeit to a lesser extent, dissenters suffered the displeasure of English law, and offered resistance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Big Mick
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 02:01 PM

Thurg, please accept my apologies. It appears that I misread the intent of the post, and I was factually wrong.

Thanks Snuff. I would have thought the Presbyterian ministry learned Irish for purposes of proselytizing.

Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,thurg
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 05:20 PM

Aw, Mick, yer a Big man after all ... I assumed that there had been a bit of "misreading"; no harm done.

Most of my father's people were Gaelic-speaking Presbyterians in Cape Breton; some of the distant relatives are still alive and still speaking "the language of the Garden". So I felt I had to give them their due.

Cheers,

thurg


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,marks
Date: 19 Oct 06 - 07:28 PM

Wolfgang
Thank you for those interesting comments. I often used to marvel how, when in Zurich for instance, there would be no problem reading a newspaper and a great problem talking to somebody on the street!
For some years I worked for a company located in Aachen. My co-workers, after learning of my Swiss background, often would comment that SwissGerman is not a language. No, it is a disease of the throat!
Seriously, in order to reproduce the sounds the human mouth has to make in order to speak SwissGerman, I really believe you need to learn this as your motherlanguage as a child. Otherwise you never get it right. My father (SwissGerman motherlanguage even though he was born in America) would speak to my grandparents perfectly. When I would join the talking, everybody would have a kind laugh and joke at the "Fremdschweitzer" in the family!
Thank you for helping me recall some nice memories.
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 05:18 AM

the same with Gaelic however it's against the law to name your children with Gaelic names in Scotland because a man from Scotland wanted to give his children Gaelic names, but was told by the authorties that he couldn't and had to give his children non- Gaelic nmaes.

Oh by the way I live in Scotland


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Paul Burke
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 05:39 AM

There is no legal limitation on naming of children in the UK.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Scabby Douglas
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 06:49 AM

Aye, I'm in Scotland too, Tom. Can you cite when this happened? Sounds like a load of old nonsense to me. (No offense intended)

Given that Gaelic names (and names of Gaelic derivation) are routinely used all over Scotland, I find it unlikely that what you assert actually happened.

Of course I could be wrong.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Scabby Douglas
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 06:56 AM

OK - I was wrong.

Although in the end the nitwit forces of Anglo/Scotophone bureaucracy were embarrassed into a climbdown.


http://www.ogmios.org/214.htm

Scottish 'monolingual mindset' exposed in Gaelic name case
From Eurolang, the news agency for lesser-used languages
3 Jun 2003
The General Register Office for Scotland has been forced into a humiliating climbdown after a couple from Skye won their fight to have their baby daughter's name registered in Gaelic. The Boyle family of Erusbaig, near the Kyle of Lochalsh had been told that Gaelic was classed as a foreign language and their child, Aoife NicBhaoille, would have to have her name changed to English before it could be accepted. Aoife's father, Austin Boyle, had said that he was prepared to risk prosecution and would refuse to name his daughter if he could not use the Gaelic form of Boyle, NicBhaoille.


and also here:
http://www.whfp.com/1623/editor.html


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,Scabby Douglas
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 07:05 AM

Apologies to Tom, incidentally.

I think the breathtakingly dumb thing about the original stushie (great Scots word, that) is that Aoife is by no means an unusual given name, and it seems like it was the rendering of Boyle as NicBhaoille that they were objecting to.

I suspect that some jobsworth objected to the fact that they wanted to give the daughter a different family name, and then attempted to justify it with the "must be English" argument. Which neatly misses the fact that "Boyle" is a surname of Irish origin.

Breathtaking in its stupidity and arrogance.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: greg stephens
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 07:32 AM

Was not the problem the fact that they weren't using the parents' name, Boyle. They were obliged to register the daughter with their own surname: a piece of bureaucracy you may disagree with, but nothing to do with Gaelic. The father could have changed their own name to NicBhaoille or whatever he liked, and then called his daughter likewise. With the first names, there was no problem. You can use any language you like, or make names up from scratch.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 09:27 AM

it was afew yaers ago and was pritnted in the Daily Record


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 09:28 AM

I can't remember when exactly, but as I said I read it in the Daily record


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Tom Hamilton frae Saltcoats Scotland
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 09:30 AM

we in Scotland have British and Scots Law


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 10:17 AM

While various definitions of "dialect" exist, they're all subjective to some degree. There's no litmus test and no comprehensive, entirely objective answer to the question of what's a dialect and what's a language.

The most rigid definition insists that while "dialects" are more or less mutually intelligible (and "languages" are not), "real" dialects exhibit differing details of syntax (grammar rules), as well as of pronunciation and vocabulary.

The traditional syntax of Scots is essentially identical to that of standard English, though there are some very minor differences that most people don't even notice. So its "precise" overall status (assuming there can be one) is moot.

In practical terms, the distinction between "language" and "dialect" is of more political than scientific interest.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: KateG
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 12:02 PM

Thirty-odd (very odd) years ago when I was at University, my Old Norse professor introduced us to the dialect maps of the Germanic languages on the European continent produced by the Brothers Grimm (of fairy tale fame). What was fascinating was the way different aspects of the language changed at different places. So the border between one pronunciation of a particular vowel, consonant or word and another pronuciation of the same vowel, consonant or wrd did not always correlate with the borders between another pronunciation or word choice shift. So while politicians and educators and other folks with various ethnic or nationalist agendas could try to define the "correct" version of their language, the situtation on the ground was much more fluid. And especially in those days (19th century), when transportation was much more limited. You really got the feeling that if you moved from one place to another slowly enough, spending a few weeks or months at each closely placed stop, you could travel all over Europe -- or at least the Germanic portions thereof -- without conciously learning a new language. And the same principal could have applied within the Romance regions or the Slavic regions as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 12:50 PM

Taking this discussion westward across the Atlantic:

Some years ago, some friends here in Indianapolis, Phil and Jean ("JEEN", not "Zhan") Smith had occasion to move to Quebec for work reasons.

When the family produced a girls baby, they named it for the mother, Jean.

"No," they were told by the Francophone officials, "you can't name a girl 'Jean'. That's a man's name. It must be 'Jeanne', or choose some other name."

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: GUEST,memyself
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 02:11 PM

Don't get us Canuckistanians started on "Francophone officials" !!


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 20 Oct 06 - 02:22 PM

It has to be a language - A Dielect is one of the things on Dr Who that wants to exterminate everyone isn't it?

:D (tG)


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Subject: RE: BS: Is Scots a Language or a Dialect?
From: Mr Happy
Date: 22 Oct 06 - 07:32 AM

in 2005 the Europain government made it an offical minorty langage

so from 2005 it's a minorty Langauge.

Tom,

are the above italicised terms examples of the Scots lingo?


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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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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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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: 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: 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: 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: 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,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 - 07:29 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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 - 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 - 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 - 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: 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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