“There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Languages

This week is Mother Tongue week, and we've decided to celebrate it at my work/school, TISA. In my homeroom alone, we have 1 Spanish speaker, 4 Russian/Azeri speakers, 1 Mandarin/Cantonese speaker, 1 Italian Speaker, 1 Russian/English speaker, 7 English speakers (one with a Persian/Iranian background, and another whose parents speak Italian and German), and 2 Scottish speakers. What a diverse group!!

That last group was contentious -- is Scottish a dialect or a language in its own right? Scots, of course, insist it is a language, yet it is based on an English grammatical structure where many English speakers can understand large parts of the language. Sure, there are unique words in the language, but even New Zealand English has its own words - jandals, crook, chook, wagging, etc, although to be fair Scottish has more words than most dialects!! Wikipedia said that there is no accepted definition for where to draw the line between a dialect and a language, so there is no final answer. Heated discussions, though!! :)

1 comment:

Natalya said...

Gaelic is the original mother tongue of Scotland. However there are many different dialects within Scotland. Where I come from in the NE, we speak a dialect called The Doric which could almost be described as a language ,as it has many unique words and phrases such as' loon' for boy and 'quine' for girl. and 'Fit like?' for how are you ?Which brings the reply 'Nae bad foo's yersel?'. This NE dialect is very different from that spoken in other parts of Scotland such as Glasgow or Ayrshire or even Dundee which is only 60 miles way. Hope this info is of some use/ interest to you.
- Posted by Lindsay Duncan February 22, 2009 at 8:25pm on Facebook