Sunday, August 14, 2005

Hae a keek roon

Well, I can officially report that there is one place left on this earth where if you do your very best to speak in the local tongue, the natives still answer in it, instead of yawning loudly and doing so in fluent English. This, despite your complete inability to roll an 'r' and a head-to-toe blush every time you attempt the braggadocio intonation the language requires. Puglia in Italy... Ah, the olive groves, the wine, the t-shirts with really bizarre English slogans that would make an entirely intriguing coursework study...

But enough of that and back to reality... There have been a few languid language stories running while I've been away, but what really caught my eye is a small item in my inbox. Having years ago faced up to the fact that having a daily newspaper is merely paying to get my recycling delivered, I subscribe to the Wrap, the Guardian's email news service. It comes with a bonus extra, a weekly guide to some of the most interesting writing to be found online in other publications.

And there, on my return, one of the journalists had recommended the link below, the Scots language version of the Scottish parliament's website. Absolutely fascinating to see what has long been regarded as a dialect of English being treated, by a powerful institution of government, as a separate language on an equal footing with Urdu and Italian. Deciding what is a language and what is a dialect is a highly contentious issue (check out the second link for an explanation of this), but where Scots is concerned many A Level text books still suggest, by its inclusion, that it is a dialect of English. Check out the explanation of Scots in the third link, and decide - should it be included for A Level English Language study or not?....

The Scottish Parliament - in Scots

Wikipedia on dialect and language

Wikipedia on Scots


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