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Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Nuts and Bolts: Lallans.

When I was at junior school they told us that the best English in the world is spoken in Inverness.
 
The teacher who repeatedly told us this came from, yes, Inverness, and she did speak beautifully. She did pronounce wh backwards: hwat is going on here? but it still sounded wonderful.
 
Now, being from Inverness the language she spoke was Scots, of course, but not Lallans, which is the traditional speech of the Lowlands (they are in the southern part of Scotland).


Lallans was the language of Robert Burns - and justifiably proud he was of it, too.
 
They took nae pains their speech to balance,
Or rules to gie;
But spak their thoughts in plain, braid lallans,
Like you or me.


That's Robert Burns' Epistle To William Simson.
 
And how is Lallans doing now? Rather well, fortunately. In fact in the twentieth century a new Lallans was invented for literary purposes by merging traditional Lallans, the more-English-than-English speech of Inverness, Doric, and various other Scots dialects to make a distinctively Scots language.
 
The journal of the Scots Leid Associe says: Scots wis aince the state language o Scotland an is aye a grace til oor national leiterature. It lies at the hert o Scotland's heirskep as ane o wir three indigenous leids alang wi Gaelic an Scottish Inglis.
 
In 1983 a Scots translation of the New Testament was published, and in 1985 a Concise Scots Dictionary. There's now some use of Lallans in schools, too.
 
The Scots vote in their referendum tomorrow. I'll be sad if they vote to sunder themselves from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Aw human sowels are tochered wi mense and conscience and shuld guide theirsels ane til ither in a speirit o britherheid.

I hope very much that the spirit of brotherhood prevails.

 Word To Use Today: Lallans. This is a variant of lawlands, Lowlands.



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