Scots - in English
Author(s): Billy Kay
Copyright holder(s): Billy Kay
Despite the long-term restrictions that have been placed on Scots, it has always been the medium of great literary and folk traditions, one that contemporary writers are diligently striving to continue. These writers are also part of a movement to normalize Scots, to take from the private to the public domain and give people a sense of what it was and what it will be again – a language of dignity and vigor that will always express the spirit of Scottish people and their ties to the land and its culture. In doing this, we are taking part in a process this is throwing down barriers and building bridges all over Europe, where previously suppressed languages and nations are reasserting themselves. They are insisting that their voices be heard in a Europe of a hundred flags and a hundred tongues – a Europe where linguistic diversity is regarded with pleasure rather than with suspicion.
The relationship between Scots and English has many parallels in a number of European counties: Friesian and Dutch in the Low Countries, Occitan and French in France, and Catalan or Galician and Spanish in Spain. All these languages came from shared roots but evolved separately because they were spoken in separate political entities. In most cases, it was only when the people who spoke them submitted to political unions with their more powerful neighbors that their mother tongues began to erode in the face of competition with the standard languages of the centralised states to which they now belonged. The nature of a people’s identity, however, is such that despite all the strikes and restrictions against these tongues, they remain the everyday language of the people. In many cases, this strong grassroots support makes people speak them with all the more determination in order to hold on to what they had. Scots is all about elevating the vernacular of the people to its rightful place in our national life. Hugh MacDiarmid (1892 - 1978), the father of the Scottish Literary Rennaissance wrote the words that give hope for the future of Scots as a living European language of the 21st Century:
"For we have faith in Scotland’s hidden powers /
The present’s theirs, but all the past and future’s ours."
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Cite this Document
Scots - in English. 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved September 2023, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=777.
"Scots - in English." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. September 2023. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=777.
The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots - in English," accessed September 2023, http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=777.
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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2023. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk.