Thursday, June 29, 2017

Discovering the Dictionary

I was well into my 20s before I knew the one on the left even existed. From that I then discovered centuries of local literature. Much of our problem is a lack of understanding.19467702 10155522165407878 3554944012027741096 o 1

The first to compile a dictionary of Scots is thought to be Rev John Jamieson who published his Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language in 1808. Here is a review of a recent edition. Burns had died just 12 years before, and of course some editions of his works had contained a glossary to explain some of the Scots terms for the unfamiliar reader, which are kind of mini-dictionaries in their own right. Ulster-Scots poets like Hugh Porter (published 1813) did the same.

There have been numerous Scots dictionaries since. Some of the Scots dictionaries use the abbreviation Uls when specifying that particular words are found in Ulster. And there are of course many examples of Ulster-Scots words being collected and published too, from William Hugh Patterson in the 1800s to James Fenton in our own day. There is also an extraordinary online project at which everyone should know about, a volunteer project every bit as impressive as the online Dictionary of the Scots Language. I'm pleased that some of my literary discoveries of recent years have contributed to the ongoing database for

As long as the Scots and Ulster-Scots literary tradition is kept in the dark, people will continue to live in ignorance. And make decisions with no understanding of context or pedigree.