This is a vital thread. It begs the question of what and who we think Scots is for, in the longer term. If we want it to be accessible to new learners (I presume we do), the "write what feels natural to you" pick-your-own-spelling approach is problematic. 1/
2/ Folk are used to learning languages in a particular way, and this generally consists of a standard form that then becomes a gateway to learning regional variations. I was a classic case in my learning of German in Austria...then marrying a German!
3/ Some of the reaction smacks of "we ken whit Scots is, you dinna". As someone who grew up speaking Scots in Angus, I had big gaps in my Scots vocabulary. I've had to learn (not even relearn) Scots as I grew older and worked in Scots language song and (minor) academia.
4/ This apparent coddling of Scots within the semi-folkloric field (my own trade!) may not be its best pal. Honouring grandparents is one thing, but ultimately this has a shelf life. There's a reason people say "auld Scots" and buy couthy teatowels.
5/ For the past 6 months, I've been on the @IndylanP team working on a conventional-style language learning app (think "At the dentist", "At the pharmacy") using minority languages (Basque, Cornish, Gaelic, Galician, Sami, Scots)
6/ And all of the languages are at different stages. There's plenty handwringing about the words for certain modern things that traditionally haven't existed, and aren't in the dictionaries. But several of the languages have processes in place to deal with this.
7/ What Scots needs, in my view, to facilitate modern usage, is a "learner" register (h/t @molach95) - an agreed vocabulary and orthography for people learning the language from scratch, on the understanding that it's a gateway to the wider dialects and regional identities.
8/ Without *some kind* of agreed register, we will bumble along with multiple spellings (which includes in the headwords of the major dictionaries, by the way) and an endless need to over-explain how Scots is a collection of dialects for another few decades.
9/ *If* the cultural & literary scene is Scots *is* as strong and resilient as many contend, then a learner register should not impact it. If we are confident enough in our own dialects and local usage, then we should welcome a standardised version *in addition* not *instead of*.
10/ Take it from me and my many dictionaries. I'm not a high flying Scots expert, but I dae ken a fair few o ma ingins, if *I* am struggling to come up with terms for X and Y, (Scots is richer in some subject areas than others), think what the learner journey is like.
11/ The main thing you want in language learning is CONFIDENCE. So to burden learners in addition with the notion they have to pick and process a range of dialect options is, I think, not realistic.
12/ In conclusion, for now...a Scots Language Act ( @OorVyce) should have some element of responsibility for a Scots Leid Boord that takes on the establishment of a learner register of Scots.
13/ (for luck) If we need new words, we bring back old ones that have fallen out of use, or fashion new ones with agreed spelling conventions (cf. Scots Spelling Committee 1990s), in the same way that Gaelic has had to do to deliver Gaelic Medium Education. Otherwise...whit?
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