Scots `leid` debate on both sides of the `sheugh`

In this week of Burns, the debate over whether Scots is a language or a dialect continues both in Ulster and in Scotland. A recent study by The Scottish Government shows that whilst 85% of Scots admit to using `Scots`, two thirds do not think of it as a language. Whilst a majority want to see it taught is schools.

Update: Belfast Tele piece by Laurence White says `Pretend language is a waste of time and public money`
The minority Scottish Nationalist Party Government in its pre-election manifesto made a commitment to “promote awareness and use of the Scots language in a variety of settings.” And according to the Public attitude towards the Scots language document: “More recently, at the Scots Language Conference, held at the University of Stirling in February 2009, the Minister for Culture and External Affairs asserted that Scots is a national language of Scotland, and that it is definitely ‘good for the nation’. It was also indicated that the Scottish Government was ready to do what it could to encourage, enable and endorse the use of the language.”

In contrast the Scottish Tories culture spokesman Ted Brocklebank said: “It is no surprise that 64 per cent of the Scottish public do not believe that Scots is a language. This is because we already have a Scots language – it is called Gaelic.

“The Scots language that the SNP government continues to try to promote is not a separate language, but a collection of regional dialects of the English language. The SNP must stop wasting taxpayers’ money trying to invent something that doesn’t exist, in a futile attempt to promote the narrow Nationalist agenda.”

Culture minister Fiona Hyslop responded with: “This research shows clearly that Scots is a living language, playing an important role in the majority of Scots’ daily lives, as well as being a vital tool in connecting with and understanding Scotland’s history.”

The Scots Language Working Group will make recommendations to ministers in the summer regarding Scots Language provision.

…..Rabbie Burns in Scotland and in Ulster.

To A Mouse (explanation and audio here)
By Robert Burns

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
O, what panic’s in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi’ bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee,
Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
Has broken Nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle,
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whyles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen-icker in a thrave ‘S a sma’ request:
I’ll get a blessin wi’ the lave,
An’ never miss’t!

Thy wee-bit housie, too, in ruin!
It’s silly wa’s the win’s are strewin!
An’ naething, now, to big a new ane,
O’ foggage green!
An’ bleak December’s winds ensuin,
Baith snell an’ keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an’ wast,
An’ weary Winter comin fast,
An’ cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell,
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro’ thy cell.

That wee-bit heap o’ leaves an’ stibble,
Has cost thee monie a weary nibble!
Now thou’s turn’d out, for a’ thy trouble,
But house or hald.
To thole the Winter’s sleety dribble,
An’ cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou are no thy-lane,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men,
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!

Still, thou art blest, compar’d wi’ me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e’e,
On prospects drear!
An’ forward, tho’ I canna see,
I guess an’ fear!

IT Technical Manager for a CCTV company in the UK & Ireland. Christian, Orangeman, Unionist. Webmaster of Ulster-Scots Online. Occasional blogger on Slugger O’ Toole. Eurosceptic. @Kilsally

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