A Deid Language?


By Bob Fairnie
Scots is a deid language. Sae some fowk keeps on tellin us juist like the broken record they’ve been playin tae us for the lest hunner an fifty year. Jings, the maist popular sang ever in the warld, ower the lest twa hunner an fifty year, “Auld Lang Syne”, is screivit in a deid language. Ay, that’ll be richt!

In 1996, the GRO(S) did a test question on Scots in some airts o the kintrae afore they decidit no tae pit the question intae the 2001 Census. Howanever, fae the nummers they got, they war able tae jalouse an extrapolatit nummer o aboot 1.5 million Scots speikers for the hail o Scotland. Juist imagine it. 1.5 million fowk aw speikin a deid language an no kennin. But hing on a meinit. Gin ther wis 1.5 million fowk speikin it, hou in the name o the wee man can it be a deid language? 

A cuid unnerstaund Latin bein clessed as a deid language cause it juist exists in auld screivit records an disnae get yaised as a spoken ilka day language for communicatin wi. Howanever, whan hunners o fitba supporters on the terraces cries oot, “Hey Ref! Ye shuid’ve went tae Specsavers!”, is thon no yaisin Scots as a spoken ilka day language o communication?

For raisons o thair ain, the Estaiblishment haes been ettlin tae ding doon the Scots language for aboot a hunner an fifty year, threapin that it’s no a real leid or, it’s juist slang or, it’s ill spoken English or, it’s a deid language or, it’s juist the wey uneddicated fowk speiks. Whit ivver thair raisons, the Scots leid seems tae fill thaim aw wi terrification. Dae they see Scots as a threit tae the Union or tae the owerance o the English language in Scotland?

A micht be wrang but A think it micht be somethin tae dae wi whit oor ain leid can dae tae oor herts that they’re feart o. As a laddie, A aye liked readin Oor Wullie an The Broons ilka Sunday an A aye leuked forrit tae the Christmas pantos wi thair ain Scots comedians. It wis kinna like gettin oot o the Estaiblishment jile for a wee while tae be back wi yer ain fowk an yer ain hamelt words. It felt like ye war gettin some o yer ain back agin yer doon-hauders. Like pittin twa fingers up tae thaim juist bi enjoyin the words an sookin in yer ain Scots athoot bein telt tae speik proper.  Awthin seemed tae soond better an funny stories wis aye funnier whan ye heard thaim in Scots.

Juist as a guid exemplar, A mind yin aboot Rikki Fulton’s auld pal, the Rev. I. M. Jolly. A wee while back he hid been ower in Americae tae veesit some freends. On the wey hame, fleein ower the Atlantic tae Glesgae, he stertit tae feel mair an mair wabbit an jet-lagged the nearer he got tae the airport an he stertit thinkin tae hissel that bi the time he got hame he wad be that tired that he maist like widnae be able tae get tae sleep at aw. He thocht that it micht be better tae stop aff an get a full body massage on the wey hame fae the airport an that wey he micht get a better sleep whan he got hame.
Sae richt eneuch, he stopped his taxi in Sauchiehall Street on the wey hame an gaed intae a massage parlour tae speir a massage. This bonnie wee lassie taen him ben tae yin o the massage tables an left him tae get his claes aff an hyste hissel on tae the table. Whan she came back she stertit tae gie him a full body massage. The Rev felt richt guid as the glamour fae the lassie’s fingers gart the bluid tae flow back intae his wabbit muscles an he stertit feelin better areddies.

Efter the massage wis feinisht, here did she no juist sclim up on tae the table an lie face doon on tap o him sae they war lyin cheek tae cheek an she whuspert intae his lug, “Wad ye like some super sex?”

Coorse the Rev didnae bat an ee afore he reponed, “Funny ye shuid say that hen, cause the wey A’m feelin the noo, A widnae mind a wee plate o soup.”

Ay, the auld yins is the best, particlar gin they’re spoken or screivit in oor ain auld vernacular Scots tung. It’s aw oor ain an haes juist been haundit doon bi oor ain forebeirs. A can juist hear the Estaiblishment girnin the noo that A shuidnae be writin like this cause it’s no a real language. Juist yin wee lauch oot o the lot o ye’s tho wad be eneuch tae pruive thaim aw wrang.