‘The National’ and their phony attempt to do Scots

I’ve yet to buy, let alone peruse, a copy of the Scottish nationalists’ in-house tabloid The National but I do see their daily tweets letting a grateful populace know which nattily-garbed member of the new Scottish establishment is wowing their readers with a column in the next day’s edition. The authors seem to include a dog, or dug as they would have it, as well as the egregious Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, only begetter of the SNP-front organisation Business for Scotland (my apologies to currently-suspended SNP MP Michelle Thomson who thought she was the only begetter before she and Gord fell out).

My Twitter feed the other day brought me news in these words of their ‘Scots’ columnist, one Matthew Fitt:

national scots

Since it’s in Scots I’ll translate it for readers not familiar with that ‘language’:

In tomorrow’s @ScotNational Matthew Fitt on the strife of family life for his Syrian friends … I couldn’t tell at first if the Syrians were listening to what I was saying or if they were thinking, here those Scots are all daft. They tell me they would take what we have in Scotland for what they have in Syria any day.

We’ll gloss over Matthew’s Syrian friends. I’m sure he has many of long-standing. But was that translation helpful? Were you gobsmacked (sorry, scunnered) by the intricate uniqueness of the grammatical construction and vocabulary of Scots?

Of course you weren’t, because it’s the same word for word and phrase for phrase as the Queen’s English.

The only thing that’s different is Fitt’s feeble attempt to mimic how some – not all by any means – Scottish people pronounce some English words. But guess what? All over the United Kingdom people pronounce the same words differently. You could take my standard English version of Fitt’s words and have them read in a multitude of accents, from Cornwall to Shetland, Kent to Northern Ireland. Everyone would understand the written words but they’d say them in their own way. That’s the richness of the English language and its dialects within and beyond these shores.

I’m not saying there’s no such a thing as Scots but this isn’t it. Nor is much else that the SNP would thrust down the throats of school-children in their attempt to make them believe they are different and so should be separate. The Scottish government-funded Scots Language Centre is part of the same separatist jigsaw.

Still, I suppose The National know what they’re doing. After all their audited circulation figures show they sell a humongous average 15,029 copies a day, or 11% fewer than Dundee’s evening paper.

Just one other thing. I note with interest Fitt’s judgement that the Syrians he spoke to all prefer what they have in Scotland to what they’d have in Syria. I think this falls into the linguistic category of a statement of the bleeding obvious. Aleppo anyone? Raqqa?

I assume that Fitt and his kind tell those Syrians they meet that what we have in Scotland is uniquely Scottish. Let’s hope they also remind them – in English that will be useful to them – that Scotland is part of the UK, that what they’re experiencing is as much British as Scottish, and it is the UK that gave them refuge and helps fund their exile here.

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3 Responses to ‘The National’ and their phony attempt to do Scots

  1. Sam Duncan says:

    Jings, crivvens, help ma boab!

    The bit that had me rolling on the floor is actually in the introduction: “familie”. I’ve often noticed that, for some reason, these people seem to think that early modern English spelling is somehow “Scots”. Can’t imagine why. You’d think they’d want to avoid any obvious historical links with the language they claim not to be writing.

    “I’m not saying there’s no such a thing as Scots”

    Well I’ll say it. There are many dialects of English in Scotland but no universally-used patterns of grammar or vocabulary that differ from standard English and result in anything that could be described as a unique and distinct Scottish language. Even Burns made it up. “Eh” for “I”? Not around here, matey. “Aa” for “all”? Maybe on the east coast (all of it, right down to East Anglia, and possibly further). “Ony”? That one always confused me as a kid in the Broons. Call me poorly-travelled, but I’ve still only heard it a couple of times in real life.

    But I’ve said it before: nationalists need language. It’s all about manufacturing a nation, creating difference, and seducing people into believing they’re not the same as their neighbours.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Roger White says:

      Great comment. Thanks. I have heard ‘ony’ in the North East as in ‘Ony wye’ (anyway). But that’s (a) the Doric dialect not Scots language and (b) exactly as you imply, it’s only a difference in how vowels are pronounced. Long may it flourish but I wouldn’t pretend it’s something it isn’t.


  2. Alan Edgey says:

    Folk have been writing Scots for centuries. I’m afraid it not an SNP invention or part of the same separatist jigsaw.

    Mr Fitt’s attempt may be the same word for word and phrase for phrase as the Queen’s English because that’s what it is.

    For the genuine article with its own spelling conventions, idioms, turns of phrase and grammar see the 1923 ‘Manual of Modern Scots’.

    Liked by 1 person

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