Scunnert wi seean our cess gien thaim as disna ken the Haemlie Tongue

A taen a mukkil scunner, an seean the new strategie for the oncum o the Ulster-Scots Langage, Heirship an Cultur ower the twintie year cumman. It wis a ill aneuch thing at the strategie taen nae tent o the reed, frae me an thaim A kens, at “langage” disna belang wi “heirship an cultur”; a mukkil waur wis whit kythed alang wi the Inglis version! For whit kythed wisna the Haemlie Tongue me an monie ithers kens weel, but a maed-up mixter-maxter o haivers. A wad howpit siclyk wis lang bygaun.

The heidin alane gies you aneuch awaur o whitna haivers hit aa bes. Whit wad a “roadin” be? Hou wad “fur” an “tae” cum thegither as the ae wird? Whit is the umlaut ower “bring” for? Whan did “graith” cum a verb? Hou wad “bring forrits” an “graith” gae foernent the Inglis “enhance” an “develop”, an thaim richtlie meanan “bring forwards” an “equipment” (a noun, no a verb)? “Heirskip” is nae forordinar spellin, an ither sic sounds written “sh”, no “sk”. The waurst is the haivers o pittan “an” atween the first twa an last twa deigits o the year – hit is a nummer (2015, 2035), no a wird, sae aa leids wi alphabets juist haes the feigurs written nae maiter whit wey ye speaks thaim!

Ein in the Depairtments ain heidin, hou is “cultur” nou “fowkgates”, an whaur did sicna wird cum frae? “Aisedom” disna gie a richt translate o “leisure” forby, an whit the deil is “trokin”? A “exchange” in General Scots coud be a “niffer” (frae “neive”), gin ye be for makkan wirds o braider meanin, but the ar nocht wrang wi “exchynge” (fact, “trokin” wad be a gey auld-farrant wird for the graith a bodie daes the exchynge wi, no the exchynge itssel). The ar a wheen Scots an Ulster dictionars; but the ar nae dictionar, haes aa sic wirds wi aa sic meanins!

The skaithsom an kenspekkil thing is, at whit is written in “Ulster Scots” in sic screeds is juist maed-up haivers an aabodie kens it. An wrytan formal, a bittie licence bes ay nott; but that isna the ae thing as juist makkan wirds an meanins up! Forby aa that, whit kythes in the screed isna a richt translate o whit kythes in the Inglis, an isna near oniebodies actual wey a taakin (or wrytan, an makkan poems an siclyk). Deed, A am shawan, an wrytan this screed, at ye can wryt the Haemlie Tongue formal an no juist mak it up! Aabodie in Scotlan an Ulster will ken, at whit A am wrytan is relate the tradeitional tongue o Burns an Orr, but whit kythes in the strategie is juist haivers at naebodie can unnerstaund (lyklie ein thaim as maed it!).

The ar nae dout ava, the bodie at maed thon screed wisna acquent wi the linguistics, an haes a pukkil notion o whit fowk, as maks uiss o the tongue deyandeilie, is thinkan anent its richt oncum thenou.

It is a orra thing, at the Depairtment itssel lat sicna translate gae furth, an it siccar no in oniething relate Ulster Scots (as hit bes taakit in the kintra thenou or as hit wis written in Ulster frae makkars the lyk o Orr or Thomson 200 year syne). We aa peyed for siclyk wi our cess, an that is an ill thing anaa.

Thon siller is haean an inpit, no tae the oncum o the Haemlie Tongue, but tae its deith. The ar nae howp for bringan on the Tongue ava, an sic haivers put furth unner the heidin “Ulster Scots”. A wad maun speir at thaim, wad that be the pynt? An we war for bringan the Haemlie Tongue foerairts, we wad gie it thaim as kens it, an as knaws a bittie anent the linguistic oncum? This screed alane shaws ye can mak it formal an yet hae fowk ken it weel as a tongue relate a leiterar tradeition (the “Rhymean Wabsters” an ithers) an fowks wey o taakin ein thenou. The ar nae caa for makkan it aa up. But A amna siccar, we ar richtlie for bringan it on; mebbes gin “20an35” hit will be gaun awa an we can aa hain our siller for ither things?


4 thoughts on “Scunnert wi seean our cess gien thaim as disna ken the Haemlie Tongue

  1. L.B. says:

    Fancy translating?

  2. I don’t like “translating” as it never does justice to the original; also, different words have different semantic range (or “spectrums of meaning”) – for example, “blue” in English covers everything from navy blue to sky blue, whereas “glas” in Irish covers anything from ocean blue to horse grey. One of the blatant problems with what many people do when writing Ulster Scots is they get that spectrum wrong and thus use words in a way which makes no sense.

    The other essential thing is that Ulster Scots has its own grammar and idiom, and its own long established literary spelling conventions. Too many writers now like to ignore both – using English spelling conventions to represent Scots (whereas you don’t use English conventions to represent Irish, German or French), and assuming English grammar is universal! That too is “haivers”!

    The first sentence, *loosely* translated, would be “I was extremely annoyed when I saw the new strategy for the development of Ulster-Scots language, heritage and culture over the next twenty years” (more directly translated it is “I took a big annoyance, and seeing the new strategy for the development of the Ulster-Scots language, heritage and culture over the twenty years coming” – you can see the difference in idiom and grammar right there).

  3. Your auto spell checker must have been having a minor meltdown during this one!

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