Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Scots Spellin O English?

Keepin oor mither tung alive gies us an access or inlat tae oor ain history an oor ain cultur. Yaisin it, oo can unnerstaun the words an thochts that wis gaun throu the heids o oor forebeirs whan oor ain history wis bein mooldit. Gin oo gie it up an turn tae the language o England alane, aw oo'll be left wi will be a saicont cless inlat tae some ither bodie's cultur.

The thing that gars "The Brus" sic a ferlie tae me is that here oo hiv John Barbour, a learit Scots cleric, screivin aroond 1375 (aboot 61 year efter the Battle o Bannockburn) in whit he wad nae doot cry Inglis at a time whan the offeecial leid o the English coort an Norman rulin clesses wis still aye Norman/French. The furst Norman king o England efter 1066 tae stert yaisin English wis Henry IV aroond 1400 an it wisnae till efter this that the Scottish nobles taen tent o the diffrences atween the English yaised in England an the Inglis yaised in Scotland an stertit tae cry thair ain yin Scots efter the kintrae it wis yaised in. But anither thing A cannae get ower is the wey the spellin o the words that's shared atween baith Scots an English, in Barbour's screivin o the "Brus", fits easier intae modren English nor they wad intae, for exemplar, the English o 1600 (See Shakespeare or the Authorised Vairsion o the Holy Bible 1611).

Here a wee bit o Barbour's vairsion o Bruce's address tae his men afore the battle:-

"Lordingis, we aucht to love and luff
Allmychty God that syttis abuff
That sendis us sa fayr begynnyng.
It is a gret discomforting
Till our fayis that on this wis
Sa sone has bene rabutyt twis,
For quhen thai off thar ost sall her
And knaw suthly on quhat maner
Thar vaward that wes sa stout,
And syne yone othyr joly rout
That I trow off the best men war
That thay mycht get amang thaim thar,
War rebutyt sa sodanly,
I trow and knawis it all clerly
That mony ane hart sall waverand be
That semyt er off gret bounté,
And fra the hart be discumfyt
The body is nocht worth a myt,
Tharfor I trow that gud ending
Sall follow till our begynnyng."

Ye micht hiv tae yaise a wee bit immagination wi some o the spellins but it's no as hard as it leuks. Juist tak tent that 'i' an 'y' is aften interchyngeable an the penultimate 'i' afore 's' is gey near aye silent.
A hunner year on fae Barbour the Scottish Pairlament, in 1496, (Fower year efter Columbus discovert Americae) recordit the Schuilin Act o thon year.

"It is staute and ordanit throw all the realme that al barronis and frehalderis that ar of substance put thair eldest sonnis and airis to the sculis fra thai be aucht or nyne yeiris of age........And quhat baroune or frehalder of substance that halds nocht his sone at the sculis as said, is haifand na lauchfull essoyne bot failyeis heirin fra knowledge may be gottin thairof he sall pay to the king the soume of XX pounds."

Lowpin on tae 1565 in the ring o Mary, Queen o Scots, efter Roman biggins wis onkivvert in Inveresk, Musselburgh, the follaein extrack wis taen fae the Queen's Thesaurer's accoonts:-

"Aprile 1565:-
Item.   To ane boy passend of Edinburgh, with ane charge of the Queenis grace, direct to the baillies of Mussilburgh, charging thaim to tak diligent heid and attendance that the monument of grit antiquitie now fundin be nocht demolishit nor broken doun,     xii.D."

Nae mair nor a week efter the abuin entrie wis eikit tae the Queen's accoonts, Randolph, the English Ambassador tae Scotland screivit the follaein report tae the Earl o Bedford an it's gey intrestin tae compare the twa leids. Thir nae comparin the twa spellins for the English yin is spelt in the "Ye olde curiousitie shoppe" style whare-as  the Scots Spellins widnae be oot o place in a modren English dictionar.

"Edenburgh, 7th April 1565:-
For certayne ther is founde a cave besyds Muskelbourge, stonding upon a number of pillers, made of tyle stones curieuslye wroughte, sygnefyinge great antiquetie, and straynge monuments found in the same. Thys comethe to my knowledge, besyds the comon reporte, by th' assurance of Alexander Clerke, who was ther to see yt, wch I wyll do myself wthin these three or four dayes, and wryte unto yor Ldship the more certayntie therof, for I wyll leave nothynge of it unseen."

Here agane ther nae doot that the Scots an English leids o Aprile 1565 wis diffrent in soond an ther nae compare atween the spellins. Whit grips ma ee mair nor oniethin else tho is the appearance o thae words that Scots shares wi English. In the Queen's accoonts thae words is aw spelt in modren English but the spellins o Lord Randolph is in a mair auld farrant Elizabethan style. This is the kinna thing ye micht expeck gin modren Standart English wis a byleid o Scots an no the ither wey aroond. Or wis it the wey that, whare the spellin o the common words wis concairned, Scots got tae the standart spellins first an Standart English copied thaim?