Thocht police?

Rab Wilson

rabAH wis claucht up in a Facebook discussion anent a favourite threip o some o thaim wha write in the leid; whether we need a strict orthography fir Scots or no. Nou aince, a lang time syne, ah wis keen oan the idea o a Scots orthography; ie a defined system that set oot, if nae exactly in stane but in “guid black prent”, the wey that Scots shuid be spelt oan the page.

Fir masel, ah abandoned that idea. Ah cam roond tae the idea that there is sic a rich diversity o dialects in Scotland that fowk in aa airts hae thair ain wey o spellin (an pronunciation) fir whit can be verra seemilar wirds. It seem’t wrang tae me tae try an dae awa wi hunners o years o hou fowk scrievit/spak a wird, an lik Orwell’s “thought police” dictated tae thaim thair wis anely yin wey tae spell a wird in Scots. It’s a richt personal view, but ah like this linguistic diversity an “elasticity” in Scots. In his series o poems Unrelated Incidents at ae pynt the poet Tom Leonard hus a BBC type newsreader tell us “thirza right way ti spell ana right way ti tok it. this is me tokn yir right way a spellin” – a great bit o satire that hilariously pricks the bubble o thae language thought police!

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