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AbstractScotland’s indigenous languages were, for very many years, under attack. The Gaelic of the Highlands and Western Isles, arguably one of the earliest written European languages, after Greek and Latin, had a brief apotheosis around 1000CE when it was the language of the Scottish Royal Court. Scots, spoken by the mass of the people, was the language of the renowned Mediaeval poets known as the Makars. Gaelic was effectively ignored but for attempts, by the Scottish Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge, to engender transient bilingualism in order to have the Gaelic diminished and then forgotten. Following the accession of the James VI of Scotland to the throne of the United Kingdom of England and Scotland, the Authorised Edition of the Bible was commissioned and published but only in English, no Scots version being deemed necessary. After the Union of the Parliaments in 1707, what prestige remained to the Scots language diminished rapidly and henceforth almost the entire written output from Scotland has been in English. Exceptions have included Hugh MacDiarmid’s poetry, Liz Lochhead’s translation into Scots of Molière’s Tartuffe (1664/1986), which toured urban working-class areas in the 1980s and to great acclaim, and Trainspotting.
TypeChapter in book
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