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Fulbright interview, munros and lots of driving…

August 30, 2011 3 comments

Last week’s radio silence was down to a number of factors. The first was that I was annual leave and had headed up to Scotland for a bit of hillwalking with my Dad and brother (clocking up nearly 800 hundred miles in the process…). The second was that I had an interview for a Fulbright scholarship last Tuesday in Edinburgh. Thankfully, the two events coincided with one another which meant I could kill two birds with one stone, saving on fuel, accommodation and general expenditure, and as a ‘tight Scot’, you can imagine that this was greeted with some enthusiasm.

I’ll leave the prosaic matter of hillclimbing (wherein I bagged my first two munros) for a later post, and keep this one focused on my interview and some general linguistic observations I made while in Edinburgh.

Way back in March or April, I spotted an interesting post on Facebook by one of my colleagues advertising a Fulbright Scholarship on Scottish Studies and after some quite intense deliberation on my part, I decided to apply for it. My proposal was to carry out further research on my PhD data and write it up as a book, plus do some teaching on Scottish sociolinguistics (I’m editing an EUP volume on this topic, so it fits quite nicely). The project would take place at the University of Pittsburgh alongside Scott Kiesling, a major figure in the field of language and masculinity. The proposal offered quite a lot and I was really pleased with the final product, even though the application process was pretty arduous and took a lot of time to do, something made more difficult by the fact that the deadline was in the middle of the marking period. Nevertheless, I managed to put something quite respectable together, helped along the way by my friend Mel and my girlfriend Rebecca (thanks!).

I was lucky enough to get short-listed (huzzah!) and I had my interview last week in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, however, my interview didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped, mainly because I think I over-prepared and over-thought the questions. For example, the first question was ‘How would you describe your research to a lay person?’. “Ok” I thought, “I’ve got this”. And out popped this rambling, far-too-technical ‘answer’ which started off with the immortal line “My research is an ethnographically informed account of  sociolinguistic variation among urban adolescent males”… Mmmm, not as ‘non-technical’ as I might have wanted. I also managed to add something like “I’m interested in the vowel sounds of words like cat“. Now, how exciting does that sound?? What I should have said would have been something along the lines of “I’m interested in the relationship between language and violence among adolescent males in Glasgow”, but no, my brain went on academic auto-pilot. Bah.

Occasionally, I hit upon some good answers, but generally I felt too waffly, woolly and not really hitting the target, and I wasn’t convinced that my plans for the future lit up the interviewing panel’s expectations too much. Of course, I could probably be being far too negative about this, but I suppose when you know you could have done better, you know your future is in your own hands, and then you feel like you’ve messed that opportunity up, negative thoughts are kind of par for the course.

I don’t find out for sure until next week whether I’m successful or not, but from my own perspective, I’m not counting on it. For a later blog entry, I’ll post up some hints and tips which might help future applicants through the process.

After my interview, I did some wandering around Edinburgh, grabbed a bit of lunch and tried to put the interview down to experience. While on my wanderings, I couldn’t help but notice some interesting signs….

The first one was a sign at the train station highlighting the role that the SPT is playing in promoting effective sexual health…

In case you can’t see the middle bit, here’s a closer view:

Now, quite what an STDS manager (or should that be STDs?) does is anyone’s guess, but I found it quite amusing nonetheless…

The second sign I noticed had me (more or less) frothing at the mouth in abject rage, primarily because of the number of people this error would have had to have gotten past…

This mistake makes me go 'arrrrghghghghghhghgh!!!!!'

No prizes for noticing the glaringly obvious error (possessive your instead of contracted verbal form you are), but it is almost unforgivable that this should have made it past the first stage of the signwriting process. I’m not sure what kind of quality assurance checks these things go through, but presumably a spell-checker (or someone with an ounce of intelligence about them) would have spotted this. It’s also not as though the intention was to have something ‘Your getting here has made us all happier’, where the possessive is marking an event of some sort, since there is no subordinate clause after the main clause. Something has gone drastically wrong here, and the fact that I see these kinds of errors all over the place makes me worry about the standards of written English in the public domain. Or maybe it was just cause I was so annoyed about my interview that I was looking for something I could vent at…

– The Social Linguist

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Profile of an England Rioter: Young, Male, Unemployed (in other news: Bears in wood: What do they do there?)

August 20, 2011 1 comment

Some interesting material has started to emerge in the fallout of the England riots. We’ve had David Starkey’s mad rant, incredible sentences for incitement to riot, and general gnashing of teetch and hair-brained ideas as to why the riots happened. But one story which struck me was this one, especially since it goes against the Governmental rhetoric that the riots weren’t about poverty but were rather about criminality, violence and anti-social behaviour.

Now, I can’t say that the report that the individuals involved in the riots were male, young and unemployed (I even said this last week) was especially surprising, and a map posted on Wednesday 10th August shows quite clearly just how far the riots were happening in areas of of deprivation. But with the research carried out by the Guardian, we now have some empirical data which gives us a better view of exactly who was involved in the events of last week.

So, the first thing is age. The largest percentage of those accused of involvement were in the 18 – 24 age bracket.

Next up, gender, and males are overwhelmingly represented here.

The Guardian hadn’t (at time of writing) provided the analysis of (un)employment figures, so perhaps the article is slightly misleading by suggesting that the accused were unemployed, but I’m sure that this data will be forthcoming in the near future.

There is a caveat here, that since these figures are only based on a sample of 400 people, it’s hard to know how far the analysis is representative of all defendants who end up in court, and this picture will only emerge once all those arrested have gone through the system. Nonetheless, in its current guise, we surely have definitive evidence that these riots, while perhaps not motivated by poverty, still have poverty at the centre.

More worryingly (and something the Government is less likely to be able to affect any significant social change) is that the rioters are young and male. Poverty can be ‘solved’ by capital investment and so on, but it’s more difficult to change the culture of ‘tough’ masculinity towards which young urban males seem to be orientated. This requires positive role models (and those role models don’t necessarily need to be male), a strong sense of community and involvement in that community, and particularly moving towards an alternative value system which doesn’t put ‘street respect’ at its core. My own feeling is that ‘respect’ on the streets is something which is won through intimidation, physical strength and a clear demonstration of “don’t fuck with me”, but when faced with those not familiar with this ‘code of the streets’, young urban males have little in the way of recourse to alternative value systems by which other parts of society abide, and that’s one of the reasons young urban males are so marginalised. They don’t generally follow the same norms of interaction that other parts of urban society do.

Now, that’s not to say that it’s only young urban males who need to change. Those who might not fit this categorisation, like middle-aged, middle-class and white, also need to change (and I think many people are uncomfortable admitting this). There needs to be a stop to this culture of demonisation of the urban poor which pervades middle-class culture, and you only have to read some the comments on the Daily Mail blogs to see that some people believe that the best way of dealing with rioters is to lock ’em up and throw away the key. As I said last week, that is only a short-term and simplistic ‘solution’ to a complex and long-term issue, so we have to tackle this issue as an entire society rather than thinking it’s “them” who have to change (who “they” are depends on your perspective). The rioters, as condemnable as their actions are, have families, hopes, dreams, wants, and fears. They are people, and like everyone else, they have their flaws. These flaws might be massively at odds with what we expect as a ‘civilised’ society, but I think it’s short-sighted to believe that their actions are the result of some sort of chemical imbalance, or inherent criminality, or mindless thuggery. These are symptoms of deeper issues and we need an honest look not only why the event of last week happened, but also how we might be able to prevent it in the future. And taking away benefits, housing, and putting those involved in riots even further to the sidelines is not it.

– The Social Linguist

Landlords….

August 16, 2011 12 comments

When I moved into my apartment last year, the place needed a few bits and pieces fixed up, stuff that the inventory check hadn’t picked up. As dutiful tenants, myself and my girlfriend noted all of these defects and forwarded a copy of it to the landlord letting agent. A few months later, we got a signed copy of the inventory back acknowledging that the defects would be looked into. A few months later, still nothing. Now, one of the major issues was that none of the heaters in the living room had timers, meaning that during the winter of 2010 (which was really cold…), we had no way of setting the radiators to come on in the morning to prevent the place from freezing up (and leaving them on all night wasn’t an option). Obviously, this was a ‘big deal’ and one of the reasons we really needed them to get up off their bums and deal with the problems.

A contractor came out during the coldest part of the winter and had a look at the radiators and all the other bits and pieces. As far as we were concerned, he would go back to our landlord letting agent, tell them how much it would cost, they would sign off on it, and bingo bango, it’d get done. Um, no. More months passed, angry e-mails were sent to the landlords letting agent, more claims of “we’ll chase that up”, winter turned to spring, the weather got warmer, and the radiators still don’t have timers.

It came to a head in May when I sent a vitriolic e-mail to the person who deals with our tenancy and made it quite clear that I thought that there was a gross level of incompetence in the company which shouldn’t be tolerated. I thought that shaming them into action would be a canny plan, but alas, nothing. So I moved it up a level and complained to her line manager and reiterated that things needed done in the flat, we had waited over 12 months for them to get fixed and really, what kind of company were they running? We got a response (huzzah!) and two contractors were swiftly dispatched to deal with our unruly flat. The defects were reviewed, quotes were made, our landlord was told, and two months later… still nothing has been fixed.

Now, the things which need fixed aren’t major, but that’s perhaps the most infuriating thing: these things take nothing to fix (but are beyond my frankly laughable DIY non-skills). To give you an idea, the plug in the bath doesn’t fit properly, so the water drains out, the main bathroom shower always runs cold, the spyhole has no spyglass in it (so it’s just a hole), the front door handle is shoogly, kitchen cupboard is off the hinges, and a few weeks ago, the front lock is busted (to lock it from the outside, you need to lock it from the inside with the door open, take the key out, go round to the other side, put the key in, unlock it, close the door, lock the door, slightly unlock it to take the key out…)

As of this week, the lock is being addressed, but everything else hasn’t been dealt with. So, I’ve decided to take a different tact in my new e-mail thusly:

Dear X,

It has now been almost two months since the last set of contractors visited the flat and, not at all unsurprisingly, we haven’t had an update about when the work required will be completed.

I’m really sorry to ask this, but have we done something wrong during the course of our tenancy? Do you just not like us? I’m seriously curious as to why we appear to have been singled out for such crass lack of attention from your company. Would you like us to send you guys some cakes? Would that help? What kind do you like?

I look forward to your reply. 

Regards,

Robert

Maybe overbearing and sarcastic kindness will fit the bill. I’ll let you know.

David Starkey: Historian, Linguist, Idiot…

August 13, 2011 6 comments

It’s 730am. I’m up. I’m waiting to go to BMF. It looks like it’s going to rain. I didn’t sleep very well at all last night. This does not bode well for the rest of the day….

Anyway, I thought that I could use the little bit of time before I’m a willing accomplice in running myself ragged to write up  Saturday’s blog post, especially since I won’t have time later on today to do it.

As the riots which have dominated the news over the last week start to die down, attention has naturally moved to ‘why did this happen?’ Overlooking the uselessness of trying to pin down the cause of the riots to just one thing, I was quite taken aback by David Starkey’s commentary on the situation (if you haven’t listened to it, go and do it now. I’ll wait.)

Back now? Ok.

My first reaction to this was ‘what is this I don’t even‘. My second reaction was more substantial: ‘David Starkey is an idiot’. Now, David Starkey doesn’t like adolescents (anyone who saw his disastrous turn in Jamie Oliver’s Dream School will attest to this…). He also, quite clearly, doesn’t like black culture. His blatantly racist views on why the riots happened (cf. ‘white kids adopting black culture. Black culture is violent. If white kids kept to their own culture, the riots wouldn’t have happened’) demonstrate a shocking lack of sensitivity, analytical nous, and cultural understanding. Owen Jones hits the nail right on the head when he says that Starkey’s world view is ‘white = respectable, black = violent’, and that this is not only downright offensive, but misguided and idiotic. Moreover, Starkey’s attempts at legitimating his views by drawing on age-old prescriptive dogma about the text by a girl involved in the looting shows that he believes non-standard English to be indicative of some sort of moral turpitude (no surprises there, that kind of attitude has been around since the 18th century…). If she had been able to write in Standard English, well then, she wouldn’t have rioted or looted (not forgetting that one of the looters was a school teacher teaching assistant who, presumably, would have been able to write properly). Quite why he doesn’t level the same accusation of immorality to white, middle-class, educated bankers who brought the country to its knees in 2007/8 is beyond me… But it is the quickness with which Starkey makes these huge, sweeping generalisations which terrifies me the most, not only because he’s supposed to be educated, but because he bases his theories on nothing but assumptions, stereotypes and ignorance.

I was relieved that the other two panelists, Owen Jones and Dreda Say Mitchell, stood up against his idiocy and forced him to back his words up with something approaching ‘data’, even though he interrupted them at every opportunity, talked over them, and generally acted like an ungracious panelist.

What a great way to start my Saturday. Oh well, the sun is out now at least. Maybe it won’t rain.

The Social Linguist

Birmingham Riots

August 9, 2011 4 comments

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem worthwhile talking about anything else when British society seems to be crumbling at the foundations. The riots in London and Birmingham (and latterly in Bristol, Nottingham, and Liverpool) have gripped public consciousness in a way that makes discussing sociolinguistics a rather unimportant endeavour. And since I live in Birmingham, recent events have hit quite close to home which has made me question the direction in which we as a society seem to be going.

The first thing to say is that the riots in Birmingham do not, to me at least, appear to be motivated in the same way as the Tottenham riots. In Tottenham, the shooting of Mark Duggan (it’s unclear at the moment how far he appeared to have posed a direct threat to the safety of the police) and the subsequent police reaction to family enquiries as to the circumstances under which he shot, appear to have generated a critical mass of public discontent.

In Birmingham, by contrast, there was no clear catalyst as to why the violence erupted in the way it did. Instead, this seems to be a ‘copy-cat’ case of violence, looting and theft on a scale unseen since the mid-80s. Much of the commentary has focused on the fact that it is young men who have been at the centre of the riots and that their motivations are purely selfish and mindless, but I would say that this focuses only on the symptoms of a deeper issue within British society.

It’s no coincidence that the riots are being led primarily by young black males (in Birmingham at least), many of whom will likely be unemployed, or if they are working, on minimal wage. With the divide between the rich and the poor getting wider and wider, with cuts attacking some of the only services which aim to help and support young people, and with Governmental policy seemingly ignoring the plight of the urban poor, it’s little wonder that the riots haven’t happened earlier. If we reject out of hand that these riots are motivated by anything else other than ‘mindless thuggery’, we ignore the fact that there are deeper reasons as to why we find ourselves where we do. Disaffected, disconnected from society, marginalised and stigmatised due to their age, sex and ethnicity, young black men find themselves in an untenable position. If they keep quiet about their place in society, nothing changes. If they speak up, no-one listens. If they riot, it’s ‘mindless thuggery’. While it’s likely that those involved in the riots are not politically motivated to do so, that does not mean their involvement is not a political statement.

If more time, money and effort was invested in the livelihoods of youths in the UK today, then maybe young men who could potentially be involved in the riots would stand back and question whether it was worthwhile. It’s schemes like Arrival Education and the Prince’s Trust which show an alternative path for young men to walk on, it’s schemes like this which need to be protected and secured for current and future generations, and it’s schemes like this that the Government is cutting under the guise of ‘cost saving’ (unsurprisingly, the events which are unfolding were predicted by the head of the National Children’s Bureau as far back as October).

This isn’t to legitimate what has transpired over the last 24 hours in Birmingham, since destruction of property, theft and assault should in no way be condoned, whatever the circumstances, but we cannot bury our heads in the sand and put these riots down to some criminal youth element that doesn’t need explaining. Instead, we should be looking towards solutions which go beyond the criminal justice system, water cannons and rubber bullets. Such ‘strategies’ might quell the disorder in the short-term, but it’s an ineffective way of dealing with public disorder in the long-term. Giving young men a reason to be part of a community, part of society and feel like a useful and wanted member of the public can only be for the good of our cities and our future. Ignoring this is not only dangerous, but foolhardy in the extreme.

Addendum

Went into town today to pick a few things up and survey the damage. Clean up teams did a great job dealing with the majority of the damage, but here are some pics of a few shops which got hit. Also just want to note this guy who managed to put a more-or-less live blog together about the riots, covering both last night and tonight. As much as social media is apparently facilitating the movement of the rioters, it’s good to see it being put to more productive uses as well.

The Social Linguist


   

Saturday morning workouts…


For the past 3 months or so, I’ve been engaged in a process of self-flagellation which has been cunningly disguised as ‘getting fit’. This self-flagellation takes place in a park in Birmingham come rain, shine or snow for about an hour every two or three days or so (to let the wounds heal, you see) and goes by the moniker “British Military Fitness” (BMF). Why have I decided to pursue this heinous path of self-improvement? Some background here might be useful.

When I was younger, I was (I’d like to think) quite fit. I competed in cross-country trials and field events for the Air Training Corp, even getting to represent Scotland in the cross-country event, and because I was perpetually late for almost everything I did, I had to run everywhere to make up the time. Combine this with cross-training and swimming, my teenage years had me as fit as a butcher’s dog. And then university started.

Now anyone who has gone to university will be well aware of the infamous “Fresher’s 15“, whereby the culinary independence which comes along with leaving home coincides with a rapid increase in your waistband. Couple this with not working out, drinking more often than not, and eating quite unhealthy foods, I put on a little bit of weight (not tons, but the effect was more on my fitness levels). In my 3rd year at uni, my flat-mate was very much into his health and fitness gig and got me into swimming. I started getting back into training more regularly and was working out almost every day on a combination of weight lifting, swimming and running. The weight was slowly coming off but not quick enough for my liking. I decided to start ‘calorie counting’ and lo-and-behold, the weight started coming off more noticeably. Huzzah! My aim was to get down to around 12 stone and I managed to get to 12 stone 2lb. Then I got annoyed and bored with all the counting and gave up on it. By now we’re kind of in the middle of my 1st year of my PhD. I then went to Tucson and all my hard work slowly started unravelling.

Now, it’s HOT in Tucson.I mean REALLY HOT. To give you an idea of just how hot it is, remember the heat-wave back in summer 2009 where the temperature got up to around 30 degrees celsius for a couple of weeks in a row? Ok, add about 10 degrees. During the summer, it’s like that in Tucson FOR THREE MONTHS STRAIGHT. No wonder that the place only got popular once air-conditioning was invented… Because it was so hot, I didn’t work out nearly as much as I wanted. I was also massively intimidated by the guys working out in the weights room that I barely even ventured into it with my pasty white and skinny Scottish body…

Fast forward about 6 months and I decided to go back to Tucson for a year. Of course, that simply compounded my unwillingness to work out and a great deal of red white, cheese and white bread was consumed during this time. I tried to work out a little bit, maybe once or twice a week, but it was nothing concerted or focused enough to make a dent in my belly. By now we’re coming up to around mid 2008 and my return to the UK meant that I had to focus on finishing my thesis in a timely manner, so my efforts were directed elsewhere. At this point I was probably about 14 stone or so, although I never really kept track.

Once I started my job at BCU, all of a sudden I had some ‘disposable income’ (to be honest, I had thought that the concept was a fairy-tale during my undergraduate and postgraduate years) which was primarily spent on curries and beer (not a good investment I might add). Add in trying to keep up with teaching, marking, admin, and research meant that (again) I was thrown back into not looking after myself very well. I ballooned to about 16 stone which meant that, according to traditional measures of weight, I was ‘obese’. This was not good. Something had to be done. The beers and curries stopped and I started watching what I was eating again. Things slowly started to get down to a manageable level, and I got down to around 15 and a half stone. Happy days, but I was still unfit and unwilling to pay £60 for the pleasure of working out in a soulless LA fitness or Virgin Active or what have you.

In July last year, I decided things had to change and signed up for a self-defense class and started watching what I was eating. I got down to 14st 10lb in December and stuck at that for about 4 months or so, mainly due to work commitments. And then, a revelation…

Now, when I was younger, I had always harboured dreams of joining the military (hence why I joined the ATC), and in April (where my weight had crept up to about 15st 2lb), I stumbled upon an advert for BMF. At last, here was a way I could vicariously live out my lost dream of being a super solider! I signed up and over the last 3 months have been back on the calorie counting (in gusto over the past month or so) and managed to get back down to where I was in December. The biggest thing, though, has been the improvement in my fitness levels. Whereas when I started I could barely run the length of myself, my fitness test last week saw me put in a 6min40sec for the 1500m run. Not Olympic standards by any stretch of the imagination, but a notable time nonetheless I thought.

The hardest thing has been trying to fit BMF and my self-defense class into everything else I have going on (when I say ‘everything else’, I really just mean ‘work’), but during the summer when I’m more or less just focused on my writing, I have a bit more free time in the evening which makes it easier to motivate myself to get off the couch and get down to the park. But it really is a great workout where I don’t have to think ‘ok, what exercise will I do next?’ Instead, there’s a burly military type chap shouting loudly how fast we should be running and to look forward to doing a press-up pyramid at the end of the workout (which involves 20 metre sprints, 10 press-ups, 20 metre sprint, 9 press-ups, repeat until 20 metre sprints, 0 press-ups. Vomiting is optional).

I’m trying not to let my jaded side win, the one that says ‘fitness is over-rated, let’s go to the pub’. But with the kind of progress I’m making, that voice is getting quieter and quieter…

Categories: Home life Tags: , ,

The return of the Scots language: Some thoughts

August 2, 2011 6 comments

Ok, so I know that this article was posted a while back (May), but given that I started my blog after it came out and I wanted to talk about other stuff first, I think I have good reason for only now getting round to discussing it.

Basically, the basis of the article is discussing whether or not Scots (not Gaelic, Scots, which is derived from the Old Northumbrian dialect of Old English and has a very separate genealogy to English) is due a revival as the ‘language of the people’. This is especially pertinent in the recent SNP victory in the Scottish elections, and many Scots language enthusiasts are optimistic that (awkward sentence ahead!) this new found sense of political will will manifest itself as an outbreak of enthusiasm for the Scots language (/awkward sentence…). One of the commentators on the article, James Robertson (a novelist with the publishers ‘Itchy Coo’) even goes as far as to say:

“In an independent Scotland,the country’s indigenous language will be given more value and status, and people will feel much more proud and confident in using these words.”

Will this actually happen? In a word, ‘no’.

In slightly more words, ‘it’s massively unlikely that the state of events as envisaged by Robertson will come to pass’. Why? Well, I’ll tell you why sonny jim try and give a reasoned response as to why I think that there will be no substantial increase in the number of Scots speakers.

The first thing is that there is a problem of definition on what ‘Scots’ actually is. Ok, so it has a separate linguistic history from English and it has its own literary tradition which predates many of the foremost English poets, but do speakers in Scotland today really speak ‘Scots’? If I say “I’m gaun hame’ (I’m going home) but I don’t say ‘that’s a muckle big dug’ (That’s a really large dog), am I a Scots speaker? What about if I spell the 2nd person plural pronoun youz rather than youse, am I a Scots speaker then? There are a myriad of competencies of ‘Scots’, but who decides where the dividing line is?

Moreover, Scots has no codified dictionary, so there is no national standard for the writing system. That impacts on its learnability and (unfortunately) its relative prestige. Because Scots isn’t standardised, the question of whether it’s a dialect or a separate language in its own right also raises its head. I’d go as far to say that Scots is more like a creole, absorbing and integrating influences from English, and I’d argue that over the past 50 – 100 years, Scots in Scotland has lost much of what made it ‘different’ from English. Unfortunately, I don’t think that there will be a reversal. Trying to change back to an antiquated version of Scots (such as that seen in the article) is trying to freeze language in the past and ignores the fact that language change is an inevitable part of human communication. But in many ways, the ‘language or dialect?’ question is moot for everyday purposes. Having a status as a ‘language’ doesn’t necessarily mean that the average person on the street is going to all of a sudden start using it, and grassroots support is absolutely vital in Scots reestablishing itself.

And whether Scots is a language or a dialect doesn’t help us answer one of the main issues in this debate: contemporary Scots and English is mutually intelligible (that is, speakers can understand one another). The merging of Scots and English has become ever more pronounced (no pun intended), and speakers in Scotland and England have (generally) no problems understanding one another. From the 18th Century, Scottish landowners, business men and capitalists realised that England was the biggest and richest trading partner, and if they wanted to make money, well, they better speak the lingo of those who had the money. The Union of the Crowns, the Union of Parliaments, and English being used in education and religion, all influenced the spread of English in Scotland. English is now massively powerful in Scotland and is integrated into our every day way of life. Usurping that would take massive social will and I don’t think that we’re there yet (or really ever will be). Hugh MacDiarmid tried to have his nationalist poetry inspire grassroots use of Scots (or at least, his version of Scots) and guess what? It didn’t take off…

This is not to say that I don’t think that Scots doesn’t have a future. I believe it does and if it was to be lost completely, I would be devastated. But we have to recognise the fact that Scots is never going to reestablish itself as the language of Scotland, particularly with the lines so blurred between Scots and English in contemporary society. People are not going to all of a sudden adopt Scots and eschew English, not with the opportunities afforded by a strong command of English. Scots is clearly different from English, and perhaps there is the potential have children being able to command both. I commend the commentators in the article for trying to raise public awareness about this topic, maybe if we can keep Scots alive in the classroom, maybe a little bit of it will spill out as those children get older and enter into the workplace and use it with their own children. But I can’t say that I’ll be holding my breath…

Categories: Research Tags: ,