Lang syne acceptit as a ‘language’ by the Scottish an UK parliaments, oor heidmaist spoken minority leid aye has a want o status or e’en visability in education, the prent press (ootside o cartoons), in braidcastin, academia, science or in onie ither mensefu area.
Tho remainin a near ‘secret tongue’ Scots is spoken yet by hunders o thoosands o Scots. The census nummers will nae doot prove Scots is uised bi monie times the amoot of fowk spaekin Scotland’s ither minoritie leid, Gaelic.
Gaelic, hitsel a language lang pit doon aften waur nor Scots, an gey an near smuired oot, noo has the guid o official support an siller, e’en in Scots-speakin hairtlands. It is braw tae see a tongue aince leuked doon on noo haein muckle mair respeck an status, but Scots is aye sair made – noo hit needs its ain vyce heard.
Ae muckle drawback is the ongaun ‘image’ o Scots as jist for daft-like blethers atween faimlie an freens an the orra lauch on the telly or radio. Aw sic ‘wee leids’ has thon kin o problem whaur the’r a pooerfu official language – here English is ‘sairious’ an Scots jist isna.
It wasna aye thon wey. Scots wis ae time uised regular-like in the press. Did ye ken Keir Hardie wrut reglar columns for a newspaper (the Glesga Weekly Mail) that published airticles, aw in Scots, gien ower til discussion o wechty maitters affectin and smittin society? The ae example nooadays ye coud pynt tae is Robbie Shepherd in the P&J.
Dinna tak tent o the dreich haiverers that lat on Scots is deid, jist acause naebodie speaks it tae thaim. Scots is daein awa (jist) in its hairtlands but wi English aw aboots, in scuils, on the TV an online it is aye fechin for hits verra life.
Scots has a place in oor hairts, but it has a place in oor braider society an aw. Oor bairns needs tae lairn it, we hae tae gie it visability in oor ilkaday lifes. Ae speaker pit it this wey:-
“Ane o the raesons Scots maitters tae me is acause it’s lik Scotland’s secret. It doesna hae onie presence in wir media ..and yit hunders o thoosands o Scots uises it tae blether, communicate their emotion, live their hale lifes. That doesna seem richt”.
Aften fowk dinna ken whit they’ve got till it’s awa, but the guid thing is Scots isna ‘awa’. It’s aye aw aboot us, mibbies a bit wabbit at times, but Scots is a rael story o thrawn survival. It’ll anelie dwine awa tae naething gin we lat it. We need tae gie it a bittie mair love an respeck.
Jist hark at this speaker:-
“It’s a language I didn’t even know I spoke, thanks to the culpable ignorance of so many in our society. I still can’t write it particularly well (hence the English, apologies), but can read and speak it probably with more clarity than any other language, as it was my first. And as such it connects me to my community, my family and so much cultural heritage it would be impossible to turn away from that.”
Somewey acause it’s ‘jist Scots’ we’ve kin o no taken muckle tent o its importance in oor culture. Generations o bairns has been brocht up uneducate in their ain mither tongue. It’s no richt. A muckle opportunity in scuils tae help oor bairns be ‘bilinguals’ is jist tint.
“[W]hen I first attended school they sent me to speech class to make me speak correctly I was 5[…] so school tried to remove the way I talked”
Nooadays they mebbe dinna tawse the bairns or sen thaim tae “speech class” but “respecting the language a child brings to school” doesnae for normal rax tae lairnin thaim hoo tae read and write in it. The punitive stuff has been tynt, but in monie weys the policy steys the same. Scots is no tae hae visability, and is no tae be a language we lairn wir bairns in onie kinna systematic wey. Auld auld-farrant attitudes is hard tae chynge. As ae speaker pit it: “Scots […] needs upbiggit an emancipatit, an that the Scottish estaiblishment is agin that.”
Sae whit can we dae?
The hinmaist speaker is no wrang.
The ‘estaiblishment’ has been dingin Scots doon for hunders o years. Back in the 1700s the first beuks was pitten oot tae help the guid middle-class fowk ‘on the make’ tae ‘expurgate’ their ‘Scotticisms,’ and ither siclike ettles. It’s no been a language o pooer and status for monie’s the year (in fack 1603 tae wale the year).
The census figures is oot in Juin. They’re like tae shaw that somewey atween 10% til 15% o fowk in Scotland speaks Scots. Mibbies hauf a million fowk sel-identifyin as Scots speakers. Shuirlie, gien the wey Scots has been sair hauden doon bi oor ‘hie heid yins’ for mair nor 300 year noo, that’s an oot-staundin tale o success.
But ahint the upliftin numbers the’r aften a mair dreicher an dowier story.
“The bairns speak back tae me in English. It’s haurd tae pass it on tae them wi nae mony fowk aroun them speakin Scots, an that’s in Scotland!”
The kenspeckle fact is that Scots sall, no mibbies, but sall be aw but deid wi’in twa-three generations fae noo, and wi the age o maist Scots speakers gettin aulder ilka day, the’r a rael need tae cowp the wey we dae things in Scotland, gin we’re tae mak siccar this muckle pairt o Scotland’s culture doesnae dee oot.
If you haud that Scots shud hae the status o Scotland’s ither twa leids, we want tae hear fae ye. Attitudes is chyngin an we can thank oor Gaelic freens for leadin the wey. The Gaelic has lowpit forrit tae the position it’s in, wharbyes it’s jist aboot haudin its ain, and it has a visability in aw airts and pairts o the kintra, acause Gaelic stirrers has wun forrit wi scuilin, lessons, braidcastin, signage, and a wheen ither important things. Scots has a lang gait tae traivel alang tae we can win forrit wi aw thon, but fowk is mair awaur thir days o ‘linguistic diversitie’ an whit thon can add tae oor society. An the census numbers will help.
It micht be a sair fecht, but it’s time we yoked tae. As the sayin pits it “a gaun fit’s aye gettin”
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Categories: Scottish Culture