Archive for the ‘Scots’ Category

Twelve Days of Christmas

Posted on December 21st, 2011by Michelle
In Culture, Scots | Leave a Comment »

The Scots Language Centre has posted audio and a transcription of the Twelve Days of Christmas – in a Scots accent.

You can listen to The Twalve Days o Yuletide on their website – it’s sung by a group of Scottish Music students from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Here’s the first few verses:.

On the first day o Yuletide my true love sent tae me:
A capercailzie.

On the second day o Yuletide my true love sent tae me:
Twa bubblyjocks
And a capercailzie.

On the third day o Yuletide my true love sent tae me:
Three clockin hens
Twa bubblyjocks
And a capercailzie.

On the fourth day o Yuletide my true love sent tae me:
Fower roastit dyeuks
Three clockin hens
Twa bubblyjocks
And a capercailzie.

Slang to be included in new Scots dictionary

Posted on November 30th, 2011by Michelle
In Scots, Slang, Words | Leave a Comment »

Slang is to be included in the updated Scots dictionary.

The Scottish Language Dictionary charity is compiling the update of the Concise Scots Dictionary, which was first published in 1985. But according to one researcher, it’s not going to be easy:

“It’s difficult enough to decide if Scots is a dialect or a language. The fleeting nature of a word can determine if it’s slang or not.

“If it’s a word you can use with three different generations of your family, it’s more likely become part of the language.

“Slang is never going away. It shows the vibrancy of Scots and that it’s a living language, not just quaint terminology.” (Source: Scotsman)

Some examples of Scots slang:
Spraff: to talk at length
Dingie: to deliberately ignore someone
Cooncil curtains: boarded-up windows

2011 Census to determine how many speak Scots

Posted on March 2nd, 2011by Michelle
In Events, Scots | Leave a Comment »

As the start of the UK 2011 census draws closer, more details have been revealed about what kinds of data will be collected.

Language supporters will be glad to know that in Scotland, residents will be asked if they speak Scots, according to an article on One of three languages spoken in Scotland (along with English and Gaelic), Scots is not thought of as a language by a percentage of Scottish people, according to a survey conducted last year.

To help people decide whether or not they speak the language, the government has created a website, Aye Can, where you can listen to and read examples of Scots. For more information, you can view Scotland’s census information advert on YouTube.

Boost for Scots

Posted on July 11th, 2010by Michelle
In Language acquisition, Scots | 1 Comment »

With the debate continuing over whether Scots is a language or a dialect, its use is being encouraged in Scottish schools.

A new website was launched for teachers to help them support children who speak Scots and encourage their learning, and it seems that in some schools, this is having a positive effect.

In the past three years, the growing use of Scots in one Scottish primary school has helped transform the education of children who are traditionally hard to engage.

Nearly 30% of children at Nethermains Primary School in Denny, near Falkirk, are on free school meals – a key indicator of poverty – twice the Scottish average.

Children from such backgrounds can often struggle at school because of the difficulties they are dealing with at home.

However, the introduction of Scots three years ago by headteacher Mary Connelly has seen a radical change in the attitudes of some pupils.

“At the time, the class was predominantly made up of boys and they were not engaging with reading at all,” she said. “We introduced Scots books and encouraged the use of Scots and a lot of these boys became hooked on reading.

“It is a language they speak at home and are comfortable with and to allow them to use it at school has sparked their enthusiasm and had a tremendous impact on their confidence.” (Source: Herald Scotland)

If Scots can be used to encourage children to read and in interested in school, this can’t be a bad thing. And perhaps their bilingualism will lead to multilingualism in the future.

Scots and English

Posted on January 16th, 2010by Michelle
In Research, Scots | Leave a Comment »

Interesting article in The Times yesterday about the division between Scots and English.

Both languages are from the same Germanic root (Old English), and yet sound completely different. There is some debate about whether Scots is a language or an old English dialect, although it is recognised as a regional language by under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Whatever the case, it seems that people are proud to speak Scots. A recent survey revealed:

Beyond the rather disheartening conclusion that a majority did not regard Scots as a language at all, there were some more encouraging responses. Just under two thirds (63 per cent) of those asked disagreed with the statement that Scots “doesn’t sound nice — it’s slang”, and 40 per cent disagreeing strongly. Eighty-five per cent claimed to speak Scots, with a substantial proportion (43 per cent) claiming to speak it “a lot”. Most said that they either spoke Scots when socialising (69 per cent) or at home with family (63 per cent) and about two thirds thought they probably spoke it without realising. (Source: The Times)

Pure Dead Brilliant, by the way

Posted on October 15th, 2009by Michelle
In Culture, Scots, Slang, Translation | Leave a Comment »

Glasweigan adYesterday I posted about dialect poetry and mentioned that dialects are dying out in Europe.

At least one dialect is in no danger of becoming extinct though – a translation company in England have placed an advert calling for Glaswegian translators to help their clients understand the locals when they visit the Scottish city.

Glaswegians, known affectionately as Weegies, speak varying levels of a continually-evolving form of dialect widely known as ‘the patter’.

The speech comprises a range of Scots expressions, vocabulary and humour, as well examples of rhyming slang, local cultural references, nicknames and street language.

“Glaswegian” has given rise to a plethora of phrasebooks, joke books, online glossaries and merchandise, not to mention TV and radio shows. There is even a Glasgow Bible, which relates some biblical tales in the vernacular. (Source: BBC News)

Wondering what Glaswegian sounds like and why it’s so difficult for outsiders to understand? Head through to the BBC article where they have some audio clips of Glaswegians speaking (along with an English translation!). And if you’re wondering about the meaning of the title, read about it here.

Dialect poetry

Posted on October 14th, 2009by Michelle
In Culture, German, Scots, Translation | 1 Comment »

European dialects are apparently much more similar than we think.

Dialects are becoming increasingly rare in Europe, as borders are open and there’s more free movement between states. But dialects help preserve the local language and culture, so some Scottish and German poets have taken up the challenge of translating verse in these regional varieties.

Fitzgerald Kusz, a Franconian poet from Nuremberg, said that in translating Scots poems he was surprised to discover traces of that dialect’s Germanic roots. Kusz has spoken Franconian since childhood and regards his dialect as an intimate and comfortable form of communication.

“On one hand, globalization continues strengthen its hold,” he said, “High German, the unified language, can be heard on television in every village. But there is, in fact, a movement among the people to keep their languages alive.”

And that is one primary goal of dialect literature, he added.

Read the full article on dialect poetry here.

Scots ATMs?

Posted on August 31st, 2009by Michelle
In Culture, English, Scots, Slang, Technology | Leave a Comment »

Following the somewhat mixed reaction to the introduction of Cockney cash machines in London, the company behind the idea is now thinking of expanding.

Bank Machine is apparently thinking of putting 250 cash machines in Glasgow and Edinburgh, with Scots as a language option. Instead of money, users would be offered “bawbees” and a mini statement would become a “wee statement”.

Dr Christine Robinson, director of the Scottish Language Dictionaries in Edinburgh, said: “We’d be delighted to see it happen and would be happy to help with the translations. Scots is, at present, completely invisible in the public space.

“Furthermore, there are still a large number of Scots who, because they were criticised for their speech at school, think they are speaking slang or bad English when they are actually speaking perfectly good Scots.” (Source: Deadline)

It would be brilliant if this reinvigorated languages around the UK – as I’ve noted previously, there are many more languages in the country than English.