Thochts o speakin Scots


bi Bob Fairnie

Is it ony wunner at aw that mature professional Scots disnae feel aw that canty tryin tae speak Scots in formal or e’en in informal forgaitherins o thair peers?  Efter bein telt for years at the scuil tae stop yaisin thon common street slang an lairn tae speak proper, they war fleetched tae redd thae common words an habits oot thair speech.

As they gaed thair wey throu eddication on the gate tae professionalism, they got better an better at no yaisin thae words that thair forbeirs kent as freends. “Pittin thair fit in it” wis somethin that kythed less an less as time gaed by. The mair they lairned tae think in English, the easier it wis tae keep thae scunnersome Scottiscisms oot the wey.

Some, nae doot, creenged an leukit doon thair nebs at the orra misfortunate sowel they whiles heard yaisin thae auld maukit words fae the sheuch an shawin tae the yird the puir cheil’s want o a guid eddication.  Aiblins fowk the likes o thon wisnae clivver eneuch tae lairn hou tae speak proper onywey.

Haed the Scottish estaiblishment no been sae nairrae-nebbit in the bygane, an seen insteid the guid o bilingualism or e’en multilingualism, Scotland micht hiv been a sicht better place the day.  Wi nae “inarticulate Scot” an nae tung-tackit bairns wi inferiority complexes in the scuils, juist think whit a croose an wycelike society oo cuid hiv haed.

Ay, oo’ve aye been able tae haud oor ain wi the bettermaist at tred an in the mercat but think hou muckle better oo micht hiv been.  Ye cannae be ower guid whan it comes tae biggin up the prosperity o a nation an naethin beirs the gree better nor a side that is croose an canty wi itsel.  

But the Scots language wis sic an ugsome thing tae thae cheils that haed the best interests o North Britain at hert.  It haed tae be redd oot tae the hinnermaist vowel.  Tae thaim there wis juist room in fowks’ heids for juist the yin language an that language wis tae be English.  Wi thaim, lairnin tae speak it meant unlairnin tae speak Scots an Gaelic tae. Ethnic linguistic cleansin fae aroond 1850 on!

Howanever, life lowps alang the gate o time an fowk, alang wi thair consaits, gets aulder an whiles oot o fashion.  Leirit fowk noo pynts oot the psychological skaith that’s been duin tae the bairns an hauflins bi doonhaudin an makin a bauchle o the language that thae young fowk brings wi thaim fae the hame an the community.  On the ootside, awbody grees wi the siccar pedigree an wirth o the Scots language an maks oot they’re scunnert that onybody cuid think o’t as slang but, for aw this ootby swall o uphaud for the mither tung, pairts o the estaiblishment hisnae chynged muckle deep doon inside.

Tae mature professional Scots, that maks up the feck o Scots language upsteerers the day, the skaith haes been duin areddies an tho thair herts an thair heids kens noo that aw thae lees they war telt, wisnae true, it’s a different maitter wi thair mooths.  Thair mooths, it wad seem, haes a mind o thair ain an is gey sweir tae gie up thair hard won English.

Forbye, the’r aye the sheddae o thon puir cheil’s want o a guid eddication lirkin at the back o thair heids an awbody’s sweir tae be the first tae tak the lowp.  If they cuid juist gaun intae a chemist shop an coff some conter-creenge patches tae steek on thair airms, things widnae be sae fykie.  

A’ve heard tell that whan Catalonia got its ain devolution an the TV braidcasters stertit readin oot the news in Catalan, the fowk wis smitten wi the creenge an thocht it wis common  an ugsome.  They didnae hae airm patches thare aither but the creenge juist gaed awa aw bi itsel efter aboot sax weeks an noo they widnae hae it ony ither wey.

Yince thae professionals kens athin thirsels the’r nocht in speakin Scots as shuid gie thaim a rid face, it’s juist a maitter o thaim gittin tae be croose in the speakin o’t.  They juist hiv tae git yaised tae it.  Tae dae thon, they wad be weel wyced tae pit thair minds back tae thair bairnheids an mind whit fasht thaim then whan they war first lairnin tae speak English.  

Whit wis it that gart thaim pit thair fit in it sae aften then in compare wi the noo?  As bairns they stertit tryin tae speak English at a time in thair lives whan maist o thaim war still thinkin in Scots.  Noo they’re no croose an canty wi speakin Scots cause, in maist cases, they’re still thinkin in English.  Oo’re speakin here aboot fowk that soonds guid Scots speakers tae ither fowk but dinnae think thirsels they’re aw that guid.  This is cause the’r aye a breck in the rin o thochts gaun throu thair heids wi the words aye hivin tae be owerset aw the time fae English intae Scots.  The wey o gettin ower this is tae lairn tae think in Scots or raither tae lairn tae be able tae think in aither Scots or English at will.

Lairnin tae think in Scots soonds easier said nor duin but it’s dumfoonerin tae fund oot whit a skoosh it can be.  Practisin thinkin in Scots is a thing that awbody can dae gey near ony whare an ony time.  Ye cuid be hurlin alang in yer motor wi hunners o thochts gaun throu  yer heid.  Juist git intae the habit o owersettin aw thae English thochts intae Scots yins.  The same thing can be duin juist as easy whan ye’re gaun ower the carpets wi the stoor-sooker, cuikin the denner, hingin oot the claes, daein the airnin, cuttin the gress, diggin the gairden an hunners o ither seetiations whan thochts is gaun throu yer heid.  They dinnae aye hiv tae be in English.

The sairest thing that haes tae be owercome is gettin yaised tae lattin ither fowk hear ye speakin Scots an pittin oot yer heid, thochts o whit thae ithers thinks aboot yer want o eddication.  Ye ken yersel the’r nae want.  The mair fowk in the company that jines in, the easier it’s gaun tae be for awbody.  Sax weeks it taen the Catalonians.  Lat’s see hou lang oor mature professional Scots can dae it in.