Taking Pleasure in Bad Words

Aye, it happened again. This year when I was over in Scotland I listened as a mother corrected her child for using bad language. Now this wasn’t a case of a wee lad voicing expletives, no, not at all. In fact the wean was being well behaved and having fun with his friends. His offense was describing where Father Christmas took the toy he had wanted: Tae the wrang hoose. His mother’s intervention and correction was swift. “It is ‘to the wrong house!’” she said. At this there was a silent explosion inside my head. Naw, I thought tae masel, the wee man was dead right. He was speaking his language; the dialect of his home – Scots. Now if a Scot can’t speak in his ain brogue in Scotland, then whor is he meant to speak it? For shame, aye, it is shame that drives us to mimic the voice of our colonial masters, because we have become alienated from our heritage and utterly colonised in our souls. How can we be a free country if our hearts are shackled to a foreign grammar?

Scots: Whit?

English: Excuse me, I did not quite catch what you said. Would you repeat it please?

So much can be said in broad Scots in so few words. We have always kent this, and so we should take pleasure in the uniqueness of our language. We go to all the bother of teaching the Lallans of Burns to our kids in school, and call it culture, then go and rob it from them calling it backwards.

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