Is the NESLB actually a ‘retreat’?

The launch of the North-East Scots Language Board (NESLB) received decent coverage in the national press. However there was an interesting response to the Bella Caledonia piece in particular. Issue was taken with the author’s comment that “The North-East is very much the heartland for Scots, as the Hebrides are for Gaelic. For this reason the NESLB will focus resources on improving the status and use of Scots in the area” and the comment by Bella’s Scots editor, Alistair Heather, “It has similarities to the Gaeltacht in the west”.

Retreat ti ‘The Hertland’?

On 26th March 2018, Bella Caledonia reported the launch of the North East Scots Language Board, a new organisation dedicated to promoting the Scots language. The Board is based at the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen, but its executive includes representatives of Robert Gordon University, Aberdeenshire Council and a member of the media.

In the post above, Graeme Purves argues, “This should not be seen as an advance for the Scots language movement, but rather a retreat.  It is the last circling of the wagons around some notional defensible dialect ‘Hertland’ or ‘stronghold’.  However did we get to this sad place?”. He draws on Hugh MacDiarmid’s 1920’s skepticism of a Doric revival and concludes, “the Scots language movement has regressed intellectually, and now seems intent on geographical retrenchment”.  How real target is the anti-standardise that has taken over the Scots revival movement. “Balking at the creation a standard Scots orthography as being ower dreary a darg, it has, in recent years turned its back on MacDiarmid’s Modernist manifesto, retreating once again into nostalgia-driven dialectism”. 

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