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1423Re: [Stonehaven_Genealogy] WEEKLY UPDATE – JUNE 02, 2002

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  • Angela Smith
    Jun 2, 2002
      Dear James,

      I have not written to the message board before but I
      feel I must to save any confusion regarding your
      information on the Scottish dialect.

      An accent is the sound of a spoken language, the way
      people pronounce words. A dialect of a language is the
      distinctive local vocabulary and non standard grammar
      of a region.

      Scottish Gaelic is not a dialect of English. It is a
      language in it's own right totally unconnected to
      English. It has a longer history in the British Isles
      and was spoken throughout Britain until the
      Anglo-Saxon invasion in what is now England and
      Southern Scotland. Gaelic remained a major language of
      Scotland until it was suppressed by the English in the
      17th century. Up until then many Scots had been
      bi-lingual. The English banned Gaelic along with other
      aspects of our culture, people were hung for speaking
      it. Even though today it is no longer illegal to speak
      Gaelic, it still does not receive any official status
      by the Government. For example Government documents
      may be obtained in a variety of languages including
      Welsh, Urdu, and Hindi but not Gaelic. The law which
      banned teaching in Gaelic and teaching Scottish
      history has only recently been repealed. Please
      remember that history is written by the victors and
      Gaelic is often disregarded as a minority language of
      the highlands when it was much more than this.

      Scots have for a long time suffered criticism for our
      accents and dialects and for a while the only way to
      'get on' was to lose the accent. However this is true
      for many regional English accents as well.

      The advent of better transport systems and the English
      Public School system created for the first time a
      standard English accent known as received
      pronunciation (or BBC English)to which many education
      people aspired (not just from Scotland). Television
      and mass communications acts as a 'dialect leveller'
      and most regional accents are no longer as pronounced
      as they once were. However, it would be wrong to give
      the impression that educated Scots are ashamed of our
      accents and dialects for I can assure you, we are not.


      Angela Smith
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