Can science solve the Scots language/dialect debate?

Brain research into Scots language/dialect debate

IN the city of the ‘peh’ and the ‘inyin’, ground-breaking research has shown that the human brain deals differently with languages and dialects. The findings by Dundee scientists could have implications for the long-running debate over the distinction between language and dialect which is often controversial and politically charged.

Well, no, but an interesting study on how the brain may processes Scots language. Supports the idea of the Scots-English continuum, that, “depending on the social situation, we can choose Scottish vocabulary items, American vocabulary items, technical vocabulary items, or slang vocabulary items, but we select them from a single lexicon”, bit doesn’t have the result of, as the researcher claims, ‘putting to bed political arguments about language status’. As a letter to the National published the following day put it, “wi aa due respeck till Dr Melinger, she disnae seem tae ken fit Scots is, nor tae spik it, sae I’m nae siccar she is best placed tae dae experiments ettlin tae prove the differ atween Scots an Inglis”, adding , “I doot, na I’m siccar, she hes confusit Scots staunard Inglis wi the Scots leid’.

Melinger, A. (2018). Distinguishing languages from dialects: A litmus test using the picture-word interference task. Cognition, 172, 73-88. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2017.12.006

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