Unner lockdoon

Scots an the smit: a language unner lockdoun

Frae here at ma desk ah can see richt doun ontae Hawick high street. It’s ten weeks noo syne ah left the hoose for ony ither reason than tae tak the bins oot, but ah get ma vicarious kicks in ither weys.

Reflectin on the effecks o the Covid an lockdoon, writer Thomas Clark minds us that, “Onything that threitens oor mithers an grandmithers threitens oor entire language … the lívin dictionars o oor leid ar no tae be fund on oor shelfs but in oor care hames, oor miners clubs, oor boolin greens. These deiths ar mair than juist personal tragedies — they’r naitional yins, losses no juist tae oor freends an oor faimilies an oor communities, but tae awthing we ever were or micht hae been”.

But Clark gangs on tae coonter the thocht that, “A language dees no whan we stap uisin it”. Raither, he says, ” it dees whan we stap uisin it tae talk aboot onything that maiters”. He conteena’s wi a braw thochtfu quote,

The existential threit tae Scots haes lang been the salty lap o the English tongue, erodin the grund aneath oor feet, shrinkin oor common launds an, thereby, the wirds we need tae describe them. In the same wey as the Dutch haes dredged new cíties frae their seas, sae haes oor language strauchelt tae reclaim its auld areas o discoorse frae the absentee landlairds o the sooth — politics, morality, the present, the future. An it wis happenin. But noo, at wan straik, Covid-19 haes driven us frae the leas, sent us back tae sílent spaces whaur we need nae mair Scots tae talk aboot oor lives than wad busk the front o a tea-towel. A sma haundfu o wirds — Hoose. Cauld. Fower. Waws.

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