Mither Tongue
Keepsakes o the land we treasure
Made wi care tae gie wi pleasure

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in
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Email: info@mithertongue.com
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Robert Burns
 
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CONDENSED  HISTORY  OF  THE  SCOTS  LANGUAGE 

ITS MULTI-CULTURAL ORIGINS  AND  GOLDEN  AGE
4th - 16th Century

lairn mair (learn more)

ITS FALL FROM GRACE AND  RENEWED  CREDIBILITY
1603 - 2010

King James VI
King James
Son of Mary Queen of Scots.
VI of Scotland 1579 - 1625
I of England 1603 - 1625. Scots speaker and writer. Ruled Scotland from England.
bible
1500s
The Reformation
King James VI Version In English 
English gradually became the voice of God, the King and the written word, a situation which still exists today although there are still 1,541,693 Scots speakers in Scotland (Census 2011).
treaty of union
1707
Treaty of Union
Scotland and England became Great Britain. Scottish Parliament banished. English now also the voice of political power.
1700s
The Enlightenment

Most Scottish writers and intellectuals switched to English to reach a wider audience. Scots then associated with sentiment, English with education, advancement and the wider world. Powerful figures on both sides of the border were intent on having Scotland wiped from the map and we were in danger of becoming North Britain. Our identity was seriously under threat and intellectuals mentally wrote the obituary of Scots. Our culture was deeply and irreparably damaged and our language and music desperately in need of a saviour, when we found one in Robert Burns.
Robert Burns
1759 - 1796
Robert Burns
One of the world's most celebrated poets who lifted Scots to its pinnacle of literary achievement, his main teachers the ordinary folk who had carried our language and music down the centuries. By writing in Scots, he openly challenged those who sought to destroy our culture. His faith, humanity and honest use of Scots not only helped preserve it, but brought him a truly universal audience. Although he battled heroically against the Anglicising tide sweeping Scotland, no-one could halt the tremendous social changes that would overtake the nation in the next 100 years. His rural Scotland was to be changed forever.
Industrialisation and Highland Clearances
1750 - 1850
Industrialisation & The Highland Clearances
In 1750, 90% of people lived off the land. Just 100 years later, half lived in or around Glasgow. Social upheaval would affect the language. Urban Scots became associated with heavy industry and poverty and, to Anglicised ears, became the language of the gutter.
Reign of Queen Victoria
1837 - 1901
Reign of Queen Victoria
Born of her fascination for the wild beauty of highland Scotland, our scenery and songs became fashionable across Victorian Britain and our music reached new heights of popularity among the emerging middle classes. Sadly, the wit and irony, the passion and intensity of both our language and music became sanitised and diluted, many of our great traditions being relegated to the Victorian music hall. As in the years after Culloden, they hung in the balance, their rescue delayed until the 1950s. Only English considered appropriate for the classroom.
bible
Late 1800s
Scots Translation of the Bible

"In the beginning o aa things, the Wird baid wi God, the Wird wis God an aa things came tae be through Him . . ." Too late, the damage had been done.
1900s
Scots - The Language of the People

Once the language of kings, Scots would become a weapon of class warfare. For 300 years, the Scottish ruling class did everything in its power to bludgeon the language into submission, but it would not be beaten. Stripped of its place in Scottish institutions, it remained the language of ordinary folk.
Hugh McDiarmid
1892 - 1978
Hugh McDiarmid

Writer and poet, attempted to create a new, pure, literary Scots in an attempt to reduce the gap between ordinary folk and academics by developing a national, timeless language.
English Language Broadcasting 1921 to Date
English Language Broadcasting
The BBC commenced broadcasting, followed by BBC Scotland in 1923, both in English. The Scots language under-represented and often misrepresented, a situation which still exists today.
school 1930s
These children were belted for using Scots in the classroom
Hamish Henderson
Established 1947
Edinburgh Festival of Art

Instilled a rather snobbish perception of Scotland's music. Challenged in 1951 by Hamish Henderson, Scotland's greatest song collector of the 20th century who brought together the true voices of rural Scotland.
school
1950s
These children were shamed and ridiculed for using Scots in the classroom.
Television
1950s
Television brought a whole spectrum of new delights, but as with radio, Scots was reserved for comedy which often poked fun at Scots speakers. Few opportunities therefore existed for authentic Scots to be heard, a situation which still exists today.
Billy Connolly
1960s & 1970s Scottish music found its own voice. Folk clubs sprang up everywhere and the vocal tradition continued to thrive. Billy Connolly, comedian / actor / musician, revitalised the language of Glasgow's streets and shipyards, breathing new life into what was previously  dismissed as the language of the gutter.

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