Seven pounds and ninety-nine pence for a cup with the word “Scunnered” printed on it with a short comic dictionary definition in real English of this Scots word. A penny short of a whole eight pounds – and that is without the tea – for a cup with one of my words on it. This is what they are selling in many of the trendier tourist shops in Glasgow these days. Clever and amusing as these wee cups are I have never felt the need to buy one, and I don’t think that I will be splashing out on one either. The designers and entrepreneurs behind the production of these souvenirs are to be applauded for their enterprise and for helping to encourage Scots to take pride in the uniqueness of their dialect and their culture, but one has to suspect that they are also the children and the grandchildren of the primary and secondary school teachers who made it their mission in life to humiliate us for speaking a version of the English language that was not proper. Very few kids from working class schools ever went off to the Art College or a business school, and those who had the means definitely weren’t brought up to use those words.
#PunnyEckys [pun-i-ek-eez] School punishment. "Ah goat punny eckys man. Five sides ay 'I must not tell teacher double denim's fir numptys'."—
Scottish Words (@ScottishWords) February 26, 2014
Does this leave me feeling bitter? Yes, I suppose that it does. Scots is a unique dialect of English, and the people of Scotland have their own cultural identity of which they should be proud, but we were not always told that we could be proud of our heritage. Fellow Scots – more privileged, more cultured, better educated Scots – were, for generations, the cat’s paw of cultural oppression in Scotland, and now that my words have become fashionable and indeed cash-valuable to the more cultured and better educated pisses me off. I can’t help but hope that their parents and grandparents feel a sting of regret for the words they assaulted us with as they drink from the expensive cups with our innocent and harmless Scots words on them. It would be a sorry waste of energy to hold this bitterness against those who are now profiting from our linguistic heritage. It is putting the new Scotland on the map. It is making Scottishness cool, and that’s well over due. All of that nasty business with the teachers is in the past now. Even they can see that our language will outlive them – it might even help pay for their retirement homes.