Does It Matter If God Speaks Scots?

Daily Mail (London), July 30, 1996 | Go to article overview

Does It Matter If God Speaks Scots?


TO ASSERT that there is no such thing as a Scots language would, in some quarters, be a lynching matter.

While this signals the emotions inspired by our linguistic loyalties, the truth is more complicated.

Before one can participate in the debate about whether Scots or English should be used in Church of Scotland worship, it's worth taking time to ponder the historical perspective.

At the heart of the Kirk's controversy lies the Lorimer Bible, a Scots version of the New Testament which sold out almost immediately when it was first published in 1983 and is now used by some ministers.

Although it has pride of place on many bookshelves, I would question how many people actually read it.

For while W.L. Lorimer's translation is an academic masterpiece, it is not written in any recognisable Scots dialect. Instead, Lorimer devoted years of intense study of different present-day dialects, to create a completely new idiom which no one uses in real life.

The warm reception towards his work can be explained by the fact that it answers a widespread emotional need for affirmation of the Scots identity.

A similar exercise was undertaken at the beginning of this century by the poet Hugh McDiarmid, and others, when they invented Lallans (Lowlands). A synthetic mixture of Scots dialects, Lallans was born out of a desire to establish nationhood.

How many Scots - of any time in history - would comprehend McDiarmid's poem, The Watergaw, without a glossary?

IN truth there is no genuine standard Scots language, universally spoken and understood. Rather, there are many different dialects, such as Doric, Ayrshire and Glaswegian, and these vary within every little locality, and indeed, almost within every household, depending partly upon social class and aspirations. This is perhaps one of the reasons people have become so confused about what language should be used for worship.

The numerous dialects of English and Scots now used derive from Anglo-Saxon, the language of the Germanic settlers of the fifth century AD.

Angles moved North, taking their dialects into Scotland. Remnants have survived in the myriad of Scots dialects used today.

However, attempts to develop standardised written Scots did not survive the cultural and political upheavals of the late Middle Ages.

Modern scholars have detected a standardised norm of written Scots, comparable with that found in present day English, in 15th and 16th century texts.

Even before then, in about 1520, the earliest known Scots version of the New Testament had been created by the scholar Murdoch Nisbet.

But whereas standardised written English subsequently became the educationally enforced norm, in Scotland this process was interrupted by the Reformation, the subsequent circulation of the English vernacular Bible, and the Unions of Crowns and of Parliaments. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Does It Matter If God Speaks Scots?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.