As Creative Scotland acknowledge, the Scots language is made up of many dialects and sub-dialects, all of which are valid and acceptable means of communication in Scots. In the material they’re using to promote their Scots Language Policy, they’ve chosen to use a common dialect they call Central Scots, but which seems to me to be a hybrid of a number of dialects. It also seems to be very out of date. It uses phrases like haud yer wheest, which my greatgranny was often heard to say to her grandbairns. And it takes me back to my childhood days in the 1950’s, reading The Broons and Oor Wullie. It’s a tartan and shortbread version of Scots that really needs to be modernised. I’d much rather Creative Scotland went for an Irn-Bru advert version, incorporating phrases such as Haw, big man, how’s it hingin’? But that’s just my opinion.
My other gripe concerns postcards. I kid you not. To help promote their Scots Language Policy, Creative Scotland had the brilliant wheeze to produce a set of embossed postcards. You’ll see from the photo above that the wrapper for the set beckons one to Hae a wee keek inside. Inside are seven postcards, each of which displays an excerpt from a poem or story written in Scots. Which is all very well and twee and money-wasting, except that one of the postcards contains an excerpt from a story penned by English posh-boy Roald Dahl, a leading member of another elite. If you want to know how I feel about Dahl and his ilk, read an earlier McRant of mine here on McRenegades entitled Toppling Giants. Meantime, all I have to say to Creative Scotland is: Jesus McChrist!
Anyway, what I really came here to do was tell you about the work of McStorytellers in promoting the Scots language. Founded by me some six years ago, McStorytellers is a website dedicated to showcasing the work of Scottish-connected short story writers. Over the years, I’ve actively encouraged writers to submit their contributions in Scots. The site regularly publishes stories that have been written fully in Scots, ranging from the distinctive North Ayrshire burr of Angus Shoor Caan through to the Banffshire Doric of Pat Hutchison, and taking in the likes of Glenn Muir and Roger McKillop with their particular brands of Lallans. It also regularly publishes stories in which the dialogue is written fully in Scots, including umpteen Weegie dialects from the likes of Pat Black, Karen Jones and John McGroarty.
So if you fancy submitting a story or two written fully in Scots or with full Scots dialogue, your contributions would be very welcome at McStorytellers. But please be careful. There are some pitfalls when using the language. Take the word keek, for example. It means a wee look, a peek. It’s not to be confused with the word keech, which is pronounced like loch (without the k), and which means… well… jobby. Hae a wee keech inside has a whole different meaning, eh Creative Scotland?
Have a wonderful St Andrew’s Day!