The language o these three poems may be shortly
described as the East-Side Edinburgh, dialect, bit Ah
hae a word or twa ti say anent language in general, an
ma Edinburgh dialect in particular. Noo, it hiz aye
appeared ti me that, gin ony Scottish speech wud be true
an natural-lika, it maun follow the same development in
the individual as ony ither language ix' dialect whatsoiver.
Ony sort o hauf-nducated buddy; ony raan ir wummin,
that is, wha hiz eneugh buik-learnin ti ettle eftir writin
somethin original, maun develoo his language oi the same
Process, nae maitter whither he writes in Braid Scots
ir in Standard English. This process, ti ma wey o thinkin,
sterts richt awaw back when as bairns wi first ettle ti
parrot the soons spoken bi the folk moon about iz. The
basis o ony tongue, therefore, is yin o pronunciation;
the wee bairn stammers oot his smaw speec1 in the accent
o his alu fireside, the accent that will inair ir less bide _
in his speech ti the end o his days.
The words thirsels hae less importance than the
accent in wailk they are spoken.
As the bairn grows in knowledge an in years, his min'
gits filled wi new ideas that maun be expressed bi the
general standard terminology, beciz the local mainner o
speakin canny cope wi the situation.! At the schuil,
forbye, the growin bairn maun read buiks written in
Standard English, an gin he dizny hatïen ti hae been
bro3ht up on standard weys o speakin, he will hae ti
anak a stoot- herted, bit no over successfy, attempt ti
read thorn the wey he is telt.
The later deve.lonment o the soeech o ony individual
wha gaes aboot e bit, an reads onything that he
oin git a haud o, involves the assimilation o aw kinds
o words an phrases, ivory yin o whilk, hooiver, is
altered bi contact 1 his ain original accent. The
ootcoa,:,e o aw this is that a literary dialect maun bi
its ain nature contain words assimilated. frae the
standard language and frae ither dialects, the hale
bein in a measure unified bi bein pronounced accordin
ti the original local accent o the individual. In
these three poems Ah has therefore ettled ti vase the
function o accent in a mainner worthy o the 1mj)ortance
whilk it posse,_ ?es in this theory o dialect, bi writin
doon the words as Ah wud naiturally pronounce thump
wi as muckle phonetic accuracy as is possible ri the
usual alphabetic characters.
The first poem describes a wee laddie' s adventure,
frae a bairn's point o vie, an in the dialect
o a wee Edinburgh keelie. Ah'll no say that it is
juist the bonniest dialect that Ah hae heard, bit thalx
ye are; Ah happened ti be brocht up on it, an had ti
tak whit Al got. The second Yin belongs ti the transition
period, in whilk the growin balm is warslin awaw
wi an unfamiliar accent an maistly findin it a sair feat.
The third is written in th last stage o the process, when
a buddy is free ti think fir himsel. It will be seen
that the vocabulary is a wee bit main varied nor that o
the first Wee poem, an that the ugly, staucherin glolal
stop hiz been dropped awthigitherp fir sharely a man may
hae as muckle discretion o his ain as practise speakin
withoot that awfy-like soon.
In conclusion, Ah wad like ti apJly this theory o
dialect ti the question o Synthetic Scots. Ti ma wey
o thinkin, the yin true an naitural Scottish literature
maun follow the process described abuin, an the malt
advantage it tales o the widenin o scope afforded bi
the last stage, the richer a meal* w. it hae ti
wart wi. Naethin, on the ither haunt cud be main
artificial than ti gae ti a fermhoose wi a wee note-bulk
jottin doon the words as they tumble frae the lips o the
:termer an his guid wife, an then atudyin thum up at hame,
an manufacturin a poem accordin ti the limitations
o thir speech.