Dienstag, 10. Juli 2012

Wha’ ye talkin’ ‘bou’?

Even though only an extremely remote part of the Scottish population speaks Gaelic, it is still very important to them. According to the Scottish Parliament 81% of the population consider Gaelic an important part of the culture.

A very long time ago – it is not quite sure if hundreds or thousands of years – the language came to what is now Scotland. Its origins are most likely to be found in Northern Ireland. However, in the late Middle Ages Gaelic grew less important and was slowly replaced by the English language. It never vanished completely and can nowadays be learned in special  schools. Scots is, like English, a Germanic language and has existed for centuries. It is not
related to Gaelic and should not be confused with a Scottish dialect in English. Even though both English and Scots have the same roots – the “Anglo Saxon” – they developed differently. Scots was influenced by several languages like French or Norwegian. You can often hear it in local pubs. Many families use it at home at the dinner table, and children use it to talk to each other. These days it is also encouraged in schools. “People here are very proud of their  language. If you want to learn it you’ll have to go to a pub - it’s always easier with a beer”, a young Polish woman, who has lived in Edinburgh for about four years, says. Just like every language Scots has its dialects and variations which you can even recognize as a foreigner.

“Why should I speak Scots when talking to tourists? Nobody likes to repeat himself, right?”
Frank grew up in Glasgow. The Glaswegian dialect is a very special one because it is stronger than in the other parts of Scotland. “We roll the ‘r’ a lot more and leave out letters and syllables. But normally, everyone understands me just fine because I concentrate on speaking slowly.” Most of the people in Scotland’s capital speak English. Although it sounds different
than it does in England, it is easy to understand. Scots endeavour to talk as clearly and comprehensibly as possible when talking to tourists and foreigners. Normally, you do not have any problems to start a conversation with a Scotsman. Everyone is open-minded and used to tourists. So if you want to know more about culture and habits, all you have to do is ask. Everywhere you go you see different people from different cultures and countries of the world.

They have all found their way to Edinburgh - whether it is for a holiday, to study or permanently. One thing every one of them has is common: they had to learn a new language, or at least get used to a different dialect.

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CTR Curso eG Travel Writing Team Edinburgh 2012