Drew Allan: More Scots words? Gaun yirsel


I ASKED in this slot two weeks ago for your views on The ‘s use of Scots words, and where the line – if any – should be drawn.

Here’s a selection of your views:

* Drew Allan expresses some concern about using in The “language some of our readership just don’t get”. I believe that it would be doing The readership a disservice if that concern led to the eradication of Scots words from your columns. These words are part of the history and culture of our country. For those who do not understand the occasional Scots word, the meaning can usually today be found out without too much difficulty – Ian W Thomson.

* There are people of many nationalities now living in Scotland and many will have English as their other language and some with the Scots Leid too. In there will be words many might not consider suitable, maybe as being slang, but for me the same answer is as given to the recent query about the use of swear words. The words used should be appropriate for the time and place of them appearing. So where is the line to be drawn? Probably where it is now – Thelma Edwards.

* I am a Highlander born and bred, but have no Gaelic. In primary school we were told that (in Lochaber) we spoke the purest English. In later life I learned that this in fact was to our loss. The spoken and written word in Scots has become something I love, although I have never made a study of it. As far as I am concerned the more the better. Lang may your lum reek –Alister Anderson.

* Your article reminded me of a bygone age when I used to mark Higher French exam papers. One year, the passage for translation from French into English referred to a mother struggling to get on to a bus with several bags of shopping and two young children. The French described her as “embarrassée” which one enterprising candidate translated as “trauchled”. Great was the debate at the markers’ meeting as the instruction on the exam paper clearly stated: “Translate into good English”. I am pleased to report that good sense prevailed and this translation was accepted, if only because the markers had great difficulty in finding a suitable English equivalent – Bob Byiers.

* I would not presume to advise a professional wordsmith, the Letters Editor, where to draw the line on printed Scots. For myself, that gemme would be a bogey – much as it was for the Glesga recruit when asked: “Don’t you know The Queen’s English?”, who replied: “Is she?”. Best to haud ma wheesht – R Russell Smith.

So, there we have it. More use of Scots? Mibbes aye, mibbes naw.


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