The Scotch are a race of hordes from north of Hadrian’s Wall, which has stopped the Scots from murthering us since Roman times.  However, the wall is decaying due to poor standards and could give way any day now, so I would urge you to check out the Queen’s Wall Society website if it was real.   This article will examine the Scottish language from a confused English perspective.

Make no mistake: Scotland is an integral part of England.  That’s England, not Great Britain; the words Great Britain endanger our English sense of nationhood, according to the one-sided logic of the grammarian HW Fowler (see here).   That was in 1926 – times have changed, and British is now the best thing you can possibly be, though Fowler’s mot préféré, “Scotch”, has fallen from common usage.  What Scot is not filled with national pride by such phrases as “Scotch egg”, “Scotch tape”, and “a large Scotch, please”?  Out of five millions of Scots, there must be one or two, but otherwise the word is lost to history.

As much as we welcome the Scots into our English paradise, it is rather strange that their language differs so much from thet of the Queen.  Occasionally Scots speak BBC English (on the BBC, mostly), but when they talk amongst themselves their accents are so thick and luscious that I feel like I’ve gone to another country!   Which I would never do.

The strongest varieties are classified as a separate language, Scots or braid Lallans, the language of Scottish monarchs until 1707 and of an estimated 0.2–2.7 million people today.  It is officially recognised by the Scottish and UK governments, and the Council of Europe.

But IS it approved by the Queen’s English Society? [massive groan] They get the deciding vote, because they’re so knowledgeable about blether. When the QES’s Ian Bruton-Simmons heard about the poor Scottish people whose idiotic iPhones could only understand American accents, he commented:

“When my Scottish nephew calls, I sometimes don’t understand him either”

I think that’s a yes.

(As amusing as that quote isn’t, it is sad that he seems to rank Scotspeak below American English. That’s low.)

Tam o’ nology
More evidence of Scottish incomprehensibility is seen in their proverbs, which appear to be written in a kind of Chinglish or Patois or regional dialect.  For example,

It’s an ill wind that blaws naebody any gude.

Fit ye sayin?  Its ill wind...That boy’s a n00b... I don’t even want to understand that.  And I presume “gude” is a street name for skag?  This saying means, Most bad things that happen have a good result for someone, but that’s online translators for you: they give you something completely wrong and unwise.
So, blow is blaw, no–one is naebody, good is gude or guid.  All perfectly good English.  What else?

A liar shou’d hae a good memory.

Excuse me – what are you doing missing out that L?  It’s obviously pronounced as “shouLd”.  And, pronouncing have as hae, are you utterly round the twist?

Mony cooks ne’er made a gude kail.

Yes.  “Kail”, of course, meaning, er...

Never draw your dirk when a blow will do it.

Ah yes, “dirk”, as in, er, Bogarde :-s

Time and tide will tarry on nae man.

Tarry on” means “wait for”?!

What we first learn we best ken.

But the word order is... This “ken”, who says “ken”?  I “ken” what it means, but...

Alright, very well, it’s a different language!  I shall be going to the kirk and praying for your souls and that of the Scots Wikipedia.
Of course, as foreigners, you Scots will be excluded even more than before from “joining in” with our Proper English Foundation, for this is not strip-the-willow!

But the bonnie Scots language does give us one crazy idea that could be transported to English.  The so-called “Scottish ch in loch” is actually nothing of the sort: it is good, clear English and they reived it from us sassenachs.   We see the ch in other English words like archæology, stomach and technical, all of which are mispronounced with a snivelling “k” noise by English persons because of Greek, whilst the Scots, meanwhile, have made the ch their own.   This has angered our cousins in the Scottish Queen’s English Society, so we will encourage the peoples of England, America, and Australasia to swallow more marbles in order to recreate the throaty ch sound accurately.   Good idea, eh?
(It is, however, unacceptable and undesirable that Scots misuse their ch to pronounce the gh in night... grr!)

Good night.

 The Scotchish Highlands


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