Talking about Scots
The Scots language. It’s there. It’s ours. Many of us use it all the time. And the majority of us can understand it. Occasionally, we give our children prizes for reciting poems in it but mostly we tell them off for speaking it. When we think about it, we tend to say that it belongs to us and can express how we feel better than any other language in the world. More often than not, we don’t really think about it all that much. Reflecting on our relationship with Scots can be a good introduction to the language.
So are you a Scots speaker? Remember, it’s perfectly possible to be a speaker of both English and Scots. You don’t have to choose one over the other. Scotland is a multilingual country and Scots has an important place alongside all our country’s languages.
Do you use Scots words? How many do you use? Which ones? Make a list. Write them down. Hoose, broon, hame and heid are well known but what about crabbit, fankle, carnaptious and bubblyjock?
Do you speak Scots more than English? Who do you speak to in Scots? Who do you speak to in English? Why do you change?
What about your family? Do they use Scots? Who in your family speaks it? How many of your friends use it? Do you hear famous people on TV speaking Scots?
Is there a difference in the way young people and older folk speak Scots?
Does it bother you sometimes when you hear people speaking in Scots? Some people call Scots slang. Do you agree? Are you sure of the difference between Scots and slang?
Do you know people from other parts of Scotland who speak a different dialect of Scots from you? How many Scots words do they have which you don’t hear in your area? How many dialects of Scots can you name? Can you speak English and Scots and any other languages?
Here are Tassia Pope and Kyle Gardiner from Denny High School who can speak and read in both languages.