Archive for  

        Forum Index -> Screivin

Spokken Scotch

Before I go any further, I'll define my terms:- Gaelic is the language which was used in Dalriada (the Irish (Scotti) colony on the western coast of Pictland, Scots (also known as Inglis) is that variant of Northumbrian English introduced to southern Scotland by the Northumbrian conquests. Old English is the precursor of Middle English (Chaucerian English to put it simply). English is that language we now call English.

Having got that out of the way, lets be looking at the Scots language. As said, it is a variant of the Northumbrian dialect of English spoken in the kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira (the component parts of the Northumbrian kingdom). Bernicia and Deira were united (forcibly) by Ćđelfriţ (Aethelfrith) around 600 or so, this kingdom stretched from the north shore of the Humber to the Southern shore of the Forth to the Mersey in the west.

In this area, apart from the language of the conquerors, the locals for the most part are likely to have spoken some form of Brythonic, other languages were, of course spoken by traders, merchants and tourists. Where Scots differed from Northumbrian was in the influences upon it after Ecgfriđ (Ecgfrith) got himself and his army deleted at Dunnichen in 685. From that point, probably the most usual influence was Latin as the church in Northumbria followed the Roman rite rather than the Celtic.

The time-scale here is interesting as it suggests that some form of the language which developed into English may have been spoken in Scotland before Gaelic as Bernicia and Dalriada are, broadly,  contemporaneous – but that's a toss-up.

At this time the Vikings were beginning to be a problem. In England, the Danes were the problem, yet they had the easy part – they only had to row due west and they couldn't miss England. Norwegians tended to aim due west too, but they found landfall on Scotland, the Orcades (Orkney and Shetland), Fair Isle, Iceland or America. Mind you, if they turned left at Shetland they found Ireland or Wales. This meant that the dialects of Norse spoken in the various parts of Scandinavia were distributed unevenly in the British Isles.

This is only laying the foundation, so bear with me, it might take some time....

At this point we are somewhere in the 8th century (750ish) and the Picts and Scots are becoming intermingled and the Pictish language begins it's decline. At the same time both Gaelic and Inglis (the term used to describe English in Scotland) were on the upswing.

This is when the differing influences on Scots and English begin to appear. In England at the moment, the influences are Latin (from the church) and Danish (from the conquerors). In Scotland, there are the Irish and the Norse (all over the place), the Picts (speaking what was possibly a P-Celtic language) above the Forth-Clyde isthmus and the Britons in Galloway, speaking (which, later, was a Gaelic-speaking area) something else – maybe even a different P-Celtic language.

Is there any evidence for this? No. Nothing more than Bede in his “Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum” (Ecclesiatic History of the English People) from Book 1, Chapter 1.

“There are in the island at present, following the number of the books in which the Divine Law was written, five languages of different nations employed in the study and confession of the one self-same knowledge, which is of highest truth and true sublimity, to wit, English, British, Scottish, Pictish, and Latin, the last having become common to all by the study of the Scriptures”

However this leaves us with the inhabitants of England speaking a form of English which is (at this time) influenced mainly by Latin, Danish and a little Welsh, while in Scotland that same form of English is being influenced by Latin, Pictish, Gaelic and the Norwegian dialects.

As the centuries pass, other languages join the fray, the Norman invasion of 1066 brings the Norman-French language to England and eventually turns it into the language of the Court. This doesn't happen in Scotland as the Norman “invaders” are few, far between and here by invitation.

More time passes (it has a habit of doing that – anybody notice?) and we arrive in the late 13th century (say 1290ish), the last scion of the MacMalcolm dynasty (Margaret, the Maid of Norway) has snuffed it on her way to claim the crown. This gives Edward I of England (actually he wasn't) the chance he's been looking for. However, the Scotland vs England stuff doesn't come into operation here other than to mention that this is (loosely) the era which produces La Vielle Alliance.

French French (gods, that's clumsy) as opposed to Norman-French has more influence on Scots than on English – possibly due to the long-standing enmity between French and English and the related friendship between Scotland and France (the enemy of my enemy etc).

Another factor is the trading links between Scotland and other parts of Europe – the Inglis-speaking parts of Scotland are enthusiastic partners on the Hanseatic League, far more so than the eastern parts of England, probably due to geographical factors – but then, when did geography dictate profit?

This being the Middle Ages, Latin is the lingua franca of Europe, which gives the Catholic Church a great advantage in trade. Latin influences every other language in Europe to a greater or lesser extent – this extent normally being due to distance from the larger religious centres or a reluctance to adopt some other form of belief.

There isn't all that much difference between the Scots and English languages at the time of Chaucer – in fact most Scots have the ability to read Chaucer in the original - the wish to do this is another thing (unfortunately).

The greatest influences on where Scots differs from English are obviously the different languages the came in contact with. For English these are Norman-French, Latin, Welsh and Anglo-Norman. For Scots it was Latin, French, Welsh, Norwegian, Gaelic, Dutch, Flemish, Latvian and Estonian (due to the Hanseatic League).

Even so, the major point of divergence was the Great Vowel Shift. This Great Vowel Shift was a major change in the pronunciation of the English language that took place in the south of England between 1450 and 1600.

This vowel shift, which did not occur in Scots, allowed the change from the Middle English of Chaucer to the Early Modern English of Shakespeare.

This has been a potted history of the Scottis Lied....

That wiz beltin!

Ur sum o' oor wurds no' Dutch? Breeks for troosers, shin for boots fer example. Or was that just both the Scots and Dutch picking up words from the Vikings and developing their own variants.

And why do we have some Viking words like kirk and coo (koo), but didnae pick up others like fell for moutain or force for waterfall?

dosser wrote:
Ur sum o' oor wurds no' Dutch? Breeks for troosers, shin for boots fer example. Or was that just both the Scots and Dutch picking up words from the Vikings and developing their own variants.

Aye, naw an dinna be daft. Some Scots words and their usage are obviously Dutch - Dike (or dyke if you're that way inclined) is Dutch and it means the same thing in both countries.

"Breeks" and "shin" pre-date the Vikings as they are actually East-Frisian words (the language that English developed from - but don't tell the English).

dosser wrote:
And why do we have some Viking words like kirk and coo (koo), but didnae pick up others like fell for moutain or force for waterfall?

We did, but not to extent that the English in the Danelaw did. There's Goat Fell on Arran, but there are loads of "forces" in the Peak District.

Why them instead of us? Pass.

Quine is anither word we got fae the Vikings. In Doric a quine is a girl. In Norwegian kvine (sp?) means woman.

Micht hae somethin tae dae wi the origin o "queen" in Inglish, but Ah dinna ken.

Thon's jist loony
Fey Hag

Braw; clachan a choin soitis.

        Forum Index -> Screivin
Page 1 of 1
Create your own free forum | Buy a domain to use with your forum