Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/09/09/scots_parliament_in_scots/

You lookin at mah website, pal?

The web as your auld grannie might have wished it

By John Lettice

Posted in Bootnotes, 9th September 2004 15:01 GMT

The Scottish Parliament has had what you might call an 'attack of the Jimmehs' by including Scots in the minority languages it supports on its Web site. But although pages pages like this will have a regrettable tendency to engender the response, "Youse takin the piss, Jimmeh?", we at The Register should stress before the flames start that we view the initiative as a serious and worthwhile exercise.

Well, we would, wouldn't we? This particular writer is Dundee born and bred and understands every word. Unfortunately, my initial reaction was, mah grannie couldae din ye a be'er [Dundee glottal stop - we're famous for them] job fur a cup uh tea anna scone. A mean, whit's this aboot "This section o wir wabsite"? Whit the hay-rile's [I've no idea if the use of hair oil as an expletive had currency beyond the Lettice family] wrang wi 'pairt'?

Given that there hasn't really been anything you could call an 'official' version of Scots since James VI headed south, it is of course difficult for the parliament to produce something completely acceptable to all of the regional variations of Scots, so we won't be too hard on them. But considering the number of native Scots speakers is estimated as in excess of 1.5 million, while the 1991 census identified only 67,000 speakers of the one everybody's heard of, Gaelic, then there's an inexorable logic to the language getting the Parliament's support.

Not that there's a great deal of it yet, so we recommend an increase in budget, and that the designers hire their grannies to form the core of a cutting edge editorial team. Meanwhile, here's the Education, Culture and Sport Committee's report an bringin oot Gaelic, Scots, Scots an minority leids in Scotland, a cracking good read.

Scots, incidentally, is more properly viewed as a sister language to English than as a regional dialect. You can pick up a bit of the history here, and an online Scots dictionary here. The latter was compiled by researchers at (uh oh) Dundee University, but nevertheless seems to contain a realistic number of Ts. ®