Friday, January 09, 2009


I've read some interesting books about language recently, you can read briefly about the environmental aspects of these books over on Crafty Green Poet here. Reading these books and started me thinking about dialect and the languages of the UK. Whether Scots is a language or a dialect is an argument that has been discussed for many a year and no doubt the discussion will continue for a long time yet, though I suspect that if Scotland ever achieves independence, then on that day, Scots will become emphatically and without question a language - just look at Norwegian, Danish and Swedish, three mutually comprehensible languages that I guess would be defined as dialects if they were spoken in different parts of one political state.

I've lived in Scotland for many years now and have a lot of Scots words in my vocabulary (which I use in my poetry too) but i would never consider myself to speak Scots. It's the accent, people from the south of England may mistake my Scottish intonation for a Scots accent but no-one around hear would ever allow that my accent is anything other than English. And ye cannae speak Scots wi' an English accent. Incidentally I thought it was strange that my Scots dictionary that i got for my birthday, doesn't have the word dippit in it. (Dippit is a fine Scots word meaning silly or stupid).

If you feel like writing poetry in dialect or that includes some dialect words, why not hop over to Read Write Poem and take part in my latest prompt over there.

1 comment:

polona said...

dialects are strange things. in late yugoslavia the official languages were serbo-croat, macedonian and slovenian. the federation, as we all know, is long dead and serbian and croatian are different languages now.

slovenia, however, with just over 2 million population, has a number of dialects, some of which are incomprehensible to any other than the locals.