June 16, 2020

What will we lose if we continue to discourage the use of Scots?

Róisín Gallagher

Bad English, 20201080x720p

My aim is to get people more comfortable and acquainted with Scots and through my art practice I address the taught self-hatred we have towards the way we talk. My work explores and supports the recognition of Scots as a language and hopes to address damage done by school systems that brought up the generations before mine. The Scots language has been discouraged from being spoken for the past 300 years since its definition as a “provincial dialect”, often described as “Bad English” by means of implying that the speaker is of a lower class. Scots speakers therefore are dissuaded from using the language that plays an important part in expressing their cultural belonging and sense of place. Language is an integral part of who we are and how we understand one another, the connection a person has to their language and how they form their words and sentences is a core part to who they are. When phrases and words used in daily life are reduced to “slang” and speakers encouraged to “talk properly”, these rich and emotive words are excluded from the vernacular, the speaker loses a part of their cultural identity and the words lost to history.