The Continuing Insult To The English Language

Krepostnoi

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I was about 13 and in an informal end-of-term English lesson, the relief Teacher mentioned her female friend had recently done a PhD in English (I thought they were only in science disciplines). The first question asked in the Oral viva apparently required her friend give an answer in list form. "Firstly I would say .."
Immediately the Examiner slammed her down on the very first sentence 'there is no such word in the English language as Firstly, it is First, secondly, thirdly ..' I don't know if that's still true but the word Firstly still jars with me. I give a silent nod to Journalists who use First in their reports and a silent wince to Newscasters and TV presenters (like Paxo on University Challenge) who say Firstly. Snobbery ?
Firstly, viva examiners are not exempt from being arseholes, and that's an arsehole trick to play on someone in their PhD viva. Yes, the viva should be rigorous, but a question like that is just arseholery, pure and simple.

Second, never trust anyone who is prescriptivist over language: languages are living, breathing organisms, and it takes a special sort of Cnut to think they can turn back the tide.

Lastly, anyone who uses less when they mean fewer should be firstly up against the wall when the revolution comes.
 

Yithian

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Lastly, anyone who uses less when they mean fewer should be firstly up against the wall when the revolution comes.
Speaking of fine English.

Narrator: The Encyclopaedia Galactica defines a robot as "a mechanical apparatus designed to do the work of a man". The Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation defines a robot as "your plastic pal who's fun to be with!"
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy defines the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "a bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first against the wall when the revolution comes," with a footnote to the effect that the editors would welcome applications for anyone interested in taking over the post of robotics correspondent. Curiously enough, an edition of the Encyclopaedia Galactica that fell through a time warp from 1,000 years in the future defines the Marketing Division of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation as "a bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came."
 

Ermintruder

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Right....some contentious-but-accurate simplicity
Yep. Gaelic and Gaeilge
If you're saying, there, that it's Irish Gae-lic, and Scots -lidhg (deliberately-misspelt, for clarity), then I'd agree (ie GAYlik versus GAAlig)

Some Irish people I know pronounced it that way, though others pronounce it somewhat differently.
Well, yes, but all versions of Gaelic/Gàidhlig are really just Irish. Similar to the way that Cornish is nearly Welsh.

But conversely: proper Scots is not Gàidhlig. It is from the same roots as Old English, Northumbrian, Manx and Friesian, with plenty of Swedish added-in, and many loan-words from Gàidhlig.

Very few modern-day Scottish people speak proper broad Scots any more, but many still speak a hybrid somewhere between Scots & English.

But it's massively-unfair that the whole country is being Gàidhlig-ified with faux Gaelish roadsigns/placenames, over vast tracts of the country that never *ever* spoke Gàidhlig in the past. I've no idea how Shetlandic & Orcadian speakers will react to the enforced Gàidhlification that we're seeing. I believe in true multiculturalism: I'm not happy waking-up to find I've been spray-painted tartan.

Lallans 93 - Yuil 2018 -Mary Johnstone said:
The Thermos Flask

Ilky nicht afore gyaan til his bed
he fullt the flask wi het waater,
at five neist mornin gyaan oot
til e byre he'd mak a cup o cocoa

She wis jist a bairn, helpin her mam
tae clear the brakfest dishes,
fen her elbick catched her faither's
flask, an doon it fell, clyte, neath the table

She booed doon til e fleer, pickt up e flask
heard a soond like a baby's rattle
gid the flask a shak, syne steed
an gawpt at siller starns aroon her.

Aa day at e skweel she cudna settle
for winnrin fit weird lay afore her:
fit wid dad say, fit wid he dee,
mibbes he'd gie her a lickin?

Fen dad cam in aat nicht she kennt
mam hid tellt him fit hid happent
I ken ye didna mean it, ma quine
sae fash ony mair aboot it.


He didna need tae roar an rage her,
he kennt, wyce man aat he wis
wytin aa day ti hear fit he's say
was waar as werds or a lickin
 
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AlchoPwn

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Right....some contentious-but-accurate simplicity

If you're saying, there, that it's Irish Gae-lic, and Scots -lidhg (deliberately-misspelt, for clarity), then I'd agree (ie GAYlik versus GAAlig)

Well, yes, but all versions of Gaelic/Gàidhlig are really just Irish. Similar to the way that Cornish is nearly Welsh.
Gaelic should always be consensual.
 
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Right....some contentious-but-accurate simplicity

If you're saying, there, that it's Irish Gae-lic, and Scots -lidhg (deliberately-misspelt, for clarity), then I'd agree (ie GAYlik versus GAAlig)

Well, yes, but all versions of Gaelic/Gàidhlig are really just Irish. Similar to the way that Cornish is nearly Welsh.

But conversely: proper Scots is not Gàidhlig. It is from the same roots as Old English, Northumbrian, Manx and Friesian, with plenty of Swedish added-in, and many loan-words from Gàidhlig.

Very few modern-day Scottish people speak proper broad Scots any more, but many still speak a hybrid somewhere between Scots & English.

But it's massively-unfair that the whole country is being Gàidhlig-ified with faux Gaelish roadsigns/placenames, over vast tracts of the country that never *ever* spoke Gàidhlig in the past. I've no idea how Shetlandic & Orcadian speakers will react to the enforced Gàidhlification that we're seeing. I believe in true multiculturalism: I'm not happy waking-up to find I've been spray-painted tartan.
It's called Gaeilge not Gaelic in Ireland although Gaelic may be used as the term colloquially. In Donegal they may call it Gaelic but they have interbred with Haggis People for so long they're kind of Scots. Scots Gaelic is really a dialect of Gaeilge imho.

Yer Lowland Scots is a Sassenach tongue. Awa' wi' ye!
 

Bad Bungle

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Second, never trust anyone who is prescriptivist over language: .
So- like I understand what you're saying Boss, but surely if anyone is allowed to be prescriptive over language it would be a member of an English PhD Examining Board in the 1970's - you know what I mean ?
 

Ogdred Weary

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It's called Gaeilge not Gaelic in Ireland although Gaelic may be used as the term colloquially. In Donegal they may call it Gaelic but they have interbred with Haggis People for so long they're kind of Scots. Scots Gaelic is really a dialect of Gaeilge imho.

Yer Lowland Scots is a Sassenach tongue. Awa' wi' ye!
Didn't the Irish and Scottish Celtic languages separate over a thousand years ago? To the point of mutual unintelligability? Yes, they're very similar but less similar than say Italian and Spanish, which of course have their dialects. Scots the language/dialect further confuses things, as does the fact that some of Southern Scotland spoke a form of Welsh into the Middle Ages. People, they get every and make history extremely untidy.
 

Coal

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Second, never trust anyone who is prescriptivist over language: languages are living, breathing organisms, and it takes a special sort of Cnut to think they can turn back the tide.
With the possible exception of technical writing...
 
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It is from the same roots as Old English, Northumbrian, Manx and Friesian, with plenty of Swedish added-in,
All of the Scottish whisky distilleries place the emphasis on the second syllable - GlenFiddich, GlenMorangie, MaCallan, DalWhinnie etc., except for Talisker. It's the only one with the emphasis on the first syllable and it has something to do with a Scandinavian connection. As they are based on Skye, I'm not sure what that connection is.
 

Coal

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All of the Scottish whisky distilleries place the emphasis on the second syllable - GlenFiddich, GlenMorangie, MaCallan, DalWhinnie etc., except for Talisker. It's the only one with the emphasis on the first syllable and it has something to do with a Scandinavian connection. As they are based on Skye, I'm not sure what that connection is.
Clan McLeod are of Viking descent.
 

Mungoman

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Ramon may overrule me here, but I’ve always referred to the language spoken in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland as Gaelic; the language of the south and west of Ireland simply as Irish.

maximus otter
In my Family the Highlands language was always referred to as Erse. (Grandmother born 1882 in Wick.)
 
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Didn't the Irish and Scottish Celtic languages separate over a thousand years ago? To the point of mutual unintelligability? Yes, they're very similar but less similar than say Italian and Spanish, which of course have their dialects. Scots the language/dialect further confuses things, as does the fact that some of Southern Scotland spoke a form of Welsh into the Middle Ages. People, they get every and make history extremely untidy.
I can read (a bit of) Scots Gaelic it's quite similar to the Donegal Dialect Gaeilge. I guess migration back and forth has maintained the links. Much more difficult to understand them being spoken though, it's like a haggis being choked. And we won't even get started on the influence Norman French had on Munster Gaeilge.
 

Ermintruder

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.... except for Talisker. It's the only one with the emphasis on the first syllable and it has something to do with a Scandinavian connection..
The Scotsman Newspaper Guide To Food & Drink said:
The name Talisker is said to be derived from either the Scottish Gaelic talamh sgeir meaning 'land of the cliff' or the Norse t-hallr Skjaer, which means sloping rock
Both sgeir and skjaer might become anglicised into sheer/shear (and from a loan-word side-route ski/skier...I always understood this word to mean slip/slide ('skite' in Scots) but further checking suggests that:
https://www.etymonline.com/word/ski
Norwegian ski, related to Old Norse skið"long snowshoe," literally "stick of wood, firewood," cognate with Old English scid"stick of wood," obsolete English shide"piece of wood split off from timber;" Old High German skit, German Scheit "log," from Proto-Germanic *skid- "to divide, split," from PIE root *skei- "to cut, split
ramonmercado said:
Yer Lowland Scots is a Sassenach tongue. Awa' wi' ye!
Interesting that an Irish/Erse/Gáelige speaker would imply that the language of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, is therefore English (I jest...but that's the literal inference).

All are interwoven sang-strands of the isles, of course, many of which in reality are loops o' the same string. I've always noticed that the term 'sassenanch' when used in a quasi-contemporary basis by many Irish and Scots to name the English ethnically is the same term used by the current mainland Gàidhealtachd (ie Scots-Gàilidgh speakers in the highlands) to refer to all non-Gaels.

This almost boils-down into an inescapable globularity that anyone south of someone else is looked down upon (literally & metaphorically) as a 'soft southerner' (heated by the sun), with 'hard northerners' conversely cold-cast by the icy winds. Thank goodness there's no comparable east:west sociodifferentiality anywhere in the world, or god knows what state we'd all be in !-)
 
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Ermintruder

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It’s pronounced gallick, you perv.
Aye, Scots 'Gallick' indeed, sounds thusly.

But the Irish version, conversely, is pronounced very-much as implied wi the double entendre. In fact, one could phonetically-state, with a straight face, Erse is Irish Gaylik

(Wi none of yon "k" cairry-oan).... I'd expect this to be prounced by non-tourists with an equisyllablular cadence Ochh-ten-toe-shan

This aa needs to be thocht aboot bi clan cheifs aroon big roarin bonfires. Wi bottles o' buckie an' hunreds o' rollie-ups. Whilst the sharp cry of the feral haggis (strachlin an stravaigin through the tattie skips ahint them) pierces the rauch nicht.
 
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(Wi none of yon "k" cairry-oan).... I'd expect this to be prounced by non-tourists with an equisyllablular cadence Ochh-ten-toe-shan
That sounds more like it. Yet another youtube reviewer mispronunciation. In his defense, he was making cocktails with the above named dram and grew visibly pissed-er throughout the vid.
 

Ermintruder

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I can instantly hear the strong Scandanavian influence in spoken Shetlandic and Orcadian (and in different ways, in both Aberdonian Doric/ Dundee Dundonian

Here's a rare Shetlandic-speakin lass (who's spent most of her life having to speak Edinburghese)...

...an' here's a braw simple wee poem in Shetlandic that sounds as if it could just as easily hae been recorded in Reykjavik aboot a Peerie Cat nb I've been able to use the word 'peerie' for my whole life, in context, yet last night is the first time I've ever seen it written-down. Over half a century of invisible intimate understanding

In my mind, there's no direct equivalent word for 'peerie' in English...to me, it means being small, curled-up, elemental and spinning. Do any other Scots / English speakers here still recognise/use the word?

Like lots of Scots vocab it will die with me, my youngsters widna hae a clue whit a wis bletherin aboot iffn they heard me spraichn' it...my father and mother would've used the word many, many times

Here's a really-good, simple poem, read in Fair Isle Shetlandic by Lise Sinclair. Have a proper listen...right the way through (she repeats it all in English, which suddenly sounds odd in comparison). It has a real Fortean vibe to it as well. Gie it a listen...ye'll no be disappointed
Fauld Up Da Feddoms
 
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Swifty

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I can instantly hear the strong Scandanavian influence in spoken Shetlandic and Orcadian (and in different ways, in both Aberdonian Doric/ Dundee Dundonian

Here's a rare Shetlandic-speakin lass (who's spent most of her life having to speak Edinburghese)...

...an' here's a braw simple wee poem in Shetlandic that sounds as if it could just as easily hae been recorded in Reykjavik aboot a Peerie Cat nb I've been able to use the word 'peerie' for my whole life, in context, yet last night is the first time I've ever seen it written-down. Over half a century of invisible intimate understanding

In my mind, there's no direct equivalent word for 'peerie' in English...to me, it means being small, curled-up, elemental and spinning. Do any other Scots / English speakers here still recognise/use the word?

Like lots of Scots vocab it will die with me, my youngsters widna hae a clue whit a wis bletherin aboot iffn they heard me spraichn' it...my father and mother would've used the word many, many times

Here's a really-good, simple poem, read in Fair Isle Shetlandic by Lise Sinclair. Have a proper listen...right the way through (she repeats it all in English, which suddenly sounds odd in comparison). It has a real Fortean vibe to it as well. Gie it a listen...ye'll no be disappointed
Fauld Up Da Feddoms
Her voice is incredibly relaxing, I'd probably agree to anything she said.
 

Krepostnoi

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So- like I understand what you're saying Boss, but surely if anyone is allowed to be prescriptive over language it would be a member of an English PhD Examining Board in the 1970's - you know what I mean ?
Maybe, maybe not. I would certainly argue that if that was the first point the examiner chose to make, he was in fact making a very different statement, and not one that shows him in a good light. He - and why am I not surprised it was a he - ought to have been well aware of the difference between locutionary and illocutionary force. In fact, I rather suspect he was.
 

maximus otter

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Three abominations I’ve encountered recently:

1. “...was comprised of...” People, a machine consists of eighteen parts (for example) or this farm comprises eleven fields. It is not an “Add one word from Column A to one word from Column B” scenario. Reading such horrors makes me long for a flamethrower.

2. The use of decimate to mean simply “something negative happened to something”. To decimate means “to kill one in ten of a group”. Anyone who can utter a sentence like “Plastic is decimating the environment” should be whipped to death with a wire coat hanger.

3. A mentalist is not someone suffering from a mental disorder. A mentalist, like m’learned friend Ringo of this forum, is a stage performer specialising in mind reading, remote perception etc. Misuse this word in my presence and l will feed you your spleen.

Thank you.

maximus otter
 

Mungoman

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Both sgeir and skjaer might become anglicised into sheer/shear (and from a loan-word side-route ski/skier...I always understood this word to mean slip/slide ('skite' in Scots) but further checking suggests that:
https://www.etymonline.com/word/ski




Interesting that an Irish/Erse/Gáelige speaker would imply that the language of Robert Burns, Scotland's national poet, is therefore English (I jest...but that's the literal inference).

All are interwoven sang-strands of the isles, of course, many of which in reality are loops o' the same string. I've always noticed that the term 'sassenanch' when used in a quasi-contemporary basis by many Irish and Scots to name the English ethnically is the same term used by the current mainland Gàidhealtachd (ie Scots-Gàilidgh speakers in the highlands) to refer to all non-Gaels.

This almost boils-down into an inescapable globularity that anyone south of someone else is looked down upon (literally & metaphorically) as a 'soft southerner' (heated by the sun), with 'hard northerners' conversely cold-cast by the icy winds. Thank goodness there's no comparable east:west sociodifferentiality anywhere in the world, or god knows what state we'd all be in !-)

Ah...you'd better come to Australia.

Queen slanders look down on anyone south of them, New South Welshens look down on Victorians....and everyone looks down on the Tasmania's.

West/East antipathy is quite strong In WA for Anything east of their border, and Cousin Jacks (SA) look down on Victorians, who are east of them.

Football codes were given a good shellacing when I was a kid with Aussie Rules known as aerial ping pong, and only played by wet backs and crow eaters (victorians and south australians), and Rugby played only by University toffs.

The Game was known as 'a game designed for thugs played by gentlemen', while rugby league was known as "a game designed by gentlemen but played by thugs.

It's a funny old world isn't it.
 
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