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Guid tae see ye

December 7th, 2011 · Posted by Skuds in Life · 4 Comments · Life

I love the fact that, amongst all the different language versions of Wikipedia, alongside French, Spanish, Russian, German, Finnish and all the rest there is a Scottish version of Wikipedia. This is not in Gaelic or anything like that, but written in Scottish dialect. Of dubious actual value, but that is why it is so brilliant – exactly what I like about the internet.

I love the idea that, instead of a FAQ page there is an ASQ page (Aften Spiert Quaistens) and that you are invited to “juist daff aboot in wir sandpit”. The whole thing is like reading the dialogue sections in a Brookmyre book which makes it ironic that there is no page for Christopher Brookmyre himself amongst the 7,700+ articles. That might not sound a lot, but it puts in at 119 out of the 283 languages that Wikipedia is available in. Not bad considering it isn’t really a language as such.

Looking at the list of languages available one thing did make me smile: the site is available in the Kanuri language, sort of,with only a single article but 4,389 edits! I say ‘sort of’ because this version has now been closed following a community vote with the reason being “the absence of both content and community”.

Anyway, I can thoroughly recommend the Scots version and in particular the page on spellin an grammar. Just don’t blame me if you find yourself getting hooked. It may not be the most kenspeckle language but it is fun. Just remember – Scots isna juist English written wi orra wirds an spellins. It haes its ain grammar an aw. If aw ye dae is tak an English text an chynge the spellins an swap a puckle wirds it’ll juist be Scotched English an no Scots.

Lots of buried treasures – like the 30 August edit of the page about Alex Salmond 😉




4 Comments so far ↓

  • jams o donnell

    Andrew you are on thin ice! what you describe as “not a language as such” very much is

    There is some disagreement about the status of Scots but that is about whether it is a dialect of English (which split off long before Chaucer’s time), a distinct Germanic language or if it is somewhere between the two.

    It’s good that there are so many articles in Scots. It will help in a small way to preserve the language in the same way that that it helps our other native languages. l (look for Irish and Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Manx, Kernow and Norman – which covers the surviving dialects on Jersey Guernsey and Sark.)

    It is a shame that two other languages died out in the 19th century- Norn (the Norse language of Orkney and Shetland) and Yola/Fingalian (Middle English survivors in eastern Ireland) – or we would see pages for them too I am sure.

    It is a shame there are no pages for Shelta, the creole still spoken by some members of the Irish traveller community

    • Skuds

      Well I know I was being a bit deliberately provocative. You say that Scots ‘very much is’ a language and then go on to say that there is disagreement.
      Personally I feel it is similar enough to English to be a dialect or variant of it, but I don’t have any emotional attachment to the opinion.

      I think languages will always die out if they are only spoken as second languages i.e. that nobody *needs* to speak them.

      Another point of view is that preservation of old regional languages helps to prolong internal divisions in a country – like with Catalan.

  • skud's sister

    I have to confess spending entire weeks with my Facebook in Pirate English. Certainly not a real language but amusing……

    • Skuds

      I’ve never gone that far, but I have been known to change the Google default language to Pirate or Swedish Chef – options that sadly seem to be no longer available.