Len Pennie: weird code switchy thing

Ina TikTok video, Len Pennie makes some interesting observatios on not speaking Scots.

I’ve just conducted an interview on the Scots language. But I did it completely in English. By that I mean the interviewer spoke to me in English and I responded in the same language. She remarked not out of any kind of prejudice or judgement – she was very lovely – but she said I thought you’d be speaking Scots. It made me think and I’ve been thinking about it since the interview finished. Because I do conduct my interviews in English that doesn’t change whether It’s for the interview that goes on the radio, the newspaper, on the telly. I’ll do it in English. That’s for a few reasons. One because I think it’s quite strange if you ask the question in one language to responded in another. Two, I speak English fairly fluently, so I’d like to be able to respond at to a question in the language that I’m asked. And three, I know that the interview is going out to a global audience. Or at least an audience primarily made up of English speakers. So I want as many people as possible to hear and understand what I’m saying. I think that makes sense. I get a lot of criticism that when I speak in English or when I can speak in English that my scots is “affected” or put on, and I think a lot of Scots speakers feel that way. If they only speak Scots in the house, if they only speak Scots with their family, they feel like their not a valid enough Scots speaker. I hope that I can reassure you that you don’t have to speak Scots all of the time to be a valid Scots speaker. If you contextually feel that you don’t use your Scots in academic circles or professional circles, that’s absolutely fine. If you’re not speaking to a Scots speaker, sometimes you won’t speak Scots. That’s fine. Now if you want to speak Scots to non Scots speakers to educate them to promote the language as I do every day in the Scots Word of the Day videos, that’s also fine. But you should not feel any pressure to use your Scots. It doesn’t invalidate your identity to speak English. It’s not one versus the other. Nobody ever tells me that I’m putting on my Spanish. Anyway A’m gonnie gie the bletherin a bye.


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