Is Scots an ‘inherently’ abusive language?


In Scotland, verbal abuse is also inherent in our language...Scotland has traditionally been a put-down culture. We’re good at criticism and cutting people down to size. Look at Michael Munro’s The Patter: A Guide To Current Glasgow usage, originally published in the mid-1980s, and you’ll see how so much of the language is critical. Many of the terms listed are insulting ways to describe people – nyaff, flyman, bauchle, heidbanger, sweetie-wife, tumshie, tube, daftie, hairy, keelie, breenger, balloon, eejit, haddy, no-user, queerie and countless more. There are also lots of negative adjectives such as haunless, torn-faced, shilpit, glaikit, away wi the fairies and hackit”.

Glaikit, numpty, nyaff: Scots’ fondness for insults isn’t funny, argues Carol Craig – it’s a sign of emotional abuse … and a bully’s charter

Children of Carol Craig’s generation were commonly exposed to toxic stress – and that, she argues in her new book Hiding In Plain Sight, is a root cause of Scotland ‘s ill health, drug and alcohol problems. Here, she examines the prevalence of emotional abuse in Scottish culture when she was growing up …

Not everyone was impressed.

Letters: The language of abuse? No, Billy Connolly’s comedy is self-deprecation

THE excerpt from Carol Craig’s book Hiding In Plain Sight, (Who are you calling a numpty?, The Big Read, December 10), was not in any way constructive. The connection between Scottish humour and Scots language with verbal abuse and humiliation is based on a surface understanding.


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