Document 16

Reulis and Cautelis

Author(s): Dr John B Corbett

Copyright holder(s): University of Glasgow: Copyright © 2004 The University of Glasgow. All rights reserved.


James VI and the Court Poets:
Reulis and Cautelis

So far in this course you’ve been taking a detailed look at the language of one of the major poets of the late 15th and early 16th Centuries. For the final three weeks of this term, I’d like to take us forward a hundred years, to the crucial period from about 1580 to 1610, during which the Union of the Crowns took place (1603). Until recently this has been an unfairly neglected (even vilified) period in Scottish literature. In 1900 the critic T.F. Henderson, in 'Scottish Vernacular Literature' wrote, ‘Scottish vernacular prose as well as poetry virtually terminates with James VI’. A fairly lonely voice raised in eloquent opposition to this claim belongs to RDS Jack: over the next few weeks, we’ll be examining his passionate claim that to write off the period from James VI to the so-called Vernacular Revival of the early 1700’s is seriously to diminish our appreciation and understanding of the depth and breadth of Scottish literature.

Today’s lecture will focus on a treatise written by James VI when he was 17, to guide aspiring poets in the composition of verse in Scots. Why did he write it; what influenced it, and what does it say, both directly and implicitly, about the nature of Scots and its status in late 16th Century Scotland? Next week we’ll look at the language of the poetry of the court poets James gathered around him, and ask ourselves how seriously they took the advice of their patron and king. And in the final week of term we’ll turn to sixteenth century Scots prose in general: what did it look like, how broad a range did it cover, and why did it stop being written?

The Language of 'The Reulis and Cautelis'

The 'Reulis and Cautelis' [Rules and Cautions] are more fully entitled, 'Ane Schort Treatise Conteining Some Reulis and Cautelis to be Observit and Eschewit in Scottis Poesie', and they were printed in Edinburgh in 1584 as part of a collection of essays, the modestly named 'The Essayes of a Prentise [an apprentice] in the Divine Art of Poesie'. The 'Reulis and Cautelis' consists of a preface and eight short chapters, many of which amount to no more than a paragraph or two in length. The preface sets out James’ reasons for writing the treatise and alludes to his sources in continental Europe, the first chapter deals with poetic rhythm, the second with the quantity or length of syllables, the third with appropriate vocabulary, the fourth with figures of speech such as comparisons, epithets and proverbs, the fifth with repetition, the sixth with originality, the seventh with the proper subjects for poetry and the place of translation, and the final chapter with rhyme schemes. Chapter five, on repetition, is one of the shortest:

Chapter V

It is also meit for the better decoratioun of the verse to use sumtyme the figure of repetitioun, as:

Quhylis joy rang,
Quhylis noy rang. etc.

Ye sie this word ‘quhylis’ is repetit heir. This forme of repetitioun, sometyme usit, decoris the verse very mekle. Yea, quhen it cummis to purpose, it will be cumly to repete sic a word aucht or nyne tymes in a verse.

And that’s it: short, sharp and simple. And it’s clearly Scots. Various of the lexical forms are distinctively Scottish: quhylis (whiles; sometimes), decoris (decorates; ornaments); mekle (much), sic (such), aucht (eight). The spelling is clearly Scottish: the quh- in quhylis, quhen; the -ioun in some Latinate words; the <ei> digraph in heir (here). And the grammar is Scots: we have consistent use of the -is verb inflexion in the third-person present tense, where at this time, the English form would be -(e)th, and we have the -it past tense inflexion where the suddroun form would be -ed.

James’ prose then at this period is recognisably Scottish, but it would be fair to say that some changes in Scots and in the perception of Scots had occurred in the century since Henryson was writing - particularly written Scots. There has always been some ambivalence about the status of Scots - probably at no time has there ever been a consensus about what Scots is. Henryson and Dunbar clearly considered Scots to be pretty much the same as English: Dunbar writes of Chaucer being the prime rhetorician in what he calls ‘our language, our tongue’, and later David Lyndsay of the Mount also refers to his language as ‘Inglis’. It was Gavin Douglas in the early 1500’s who broke with tradition and spoke in the preface of his translation of the 'Aeneid' of Scots and English being two distinct, if related, tongues. But it would be wrong to paint a picture of Scotland suddenly accepting Douglas’ claim and considering Scots and English to be fully-fledged and separate languages. It is empirically obvious that the two varieties were (and are) very close.

The relationship between English and Scots has always been a problematical one. They derive ultimately from Germanic, but more immediately from different forms of Anglo Saxon. English finds its ancestor in West Saxon, whereas Scots derives from Anglian and Northumbrian. However, as Professor X is fond of pointing out, we can think of linguistic development as a tree or as a wave. If we think of languages as a tree, then we can think of Germanic as the trunk, and two of the branches would represent Saxon-into-English, and Anglian-into-Northumbrian-into-Scots. Two branches, two separate languages. However, if we think of language as a wave, as a series of ripples emanating from a point on the surface of a pond, then the situation immediately appears to be more complex. English would be one set of widening ripples, Scots another. Since the two nations exist side by side, and engage in political and economic and social relationships, then the waves make contact and interact. One changes the other: there are interference patterns. And since England is larger, more powerful, and makes bigger waves, the wave patterns of Scots are more dominated by the wave patterns of English than vice versa.

All through the sixteenth century, Scottish people had been interacting with the English. Gavin Douglas himself had powerful friends in England, where he had spent some time, and these friends acted to support his claims for professional advancement in the Scottish kirk. The most revolutionary event in a turbulent century for Scotland was undoubtedly the reformation, in the mid-1500’s, and this naturally impacted on the language, as all social revolutions do. A Scottish law of 1579 decreed that all householders who possessed 300 merks should also possess a Bible and a book of psalms 'in vulgare langage', that is, not in Latin. This was part of the reformers’ strategy of giving the faithful direct access to the word of God, and short-circuiting the mediating power of the Roman Catholic clergy, who until then had to interpret the word of God for the layman. The Authorised Version of the Bible had not yet been written, no Scots version was widely available (although a Scots version was composed it was not widely distributed, and practically nobody knew about it until it reappeared around 1900 in the library of the Boswell family in Ayrshire). Now think of the consequences of this: if you are a small householder in Scotland in the late 1500’s you might only possess one book, and that book would be the Bible in English. Your education in literacy would be geared entirely to enabling you to read that book, and again, that book is in English. The publication of the Authorised Version of the Bible in the early 1600’s strengthened the association of the Word of God with the English tongue, but it is surely significant that, from the late 1500’s on, the one book that literate Scottish laymen were expected to possess and read was a book written in English.

Other anglicising influences are linked to the reformation. John Knox, the prime mover in the Scottish reformation, lived some of his life in England, in exile, and might have been influenced by the southern variety, in writing if not in speech. One correspondent famously argues that Knox has become anglicised (the correspondent begins, ‘I wryte to 3ou my mind in Latin, for I am nocht acquyntit with 3our Southeron’). The political and economic circumstances of his time clearly account for this drift towards English forms in reformation writing: the reformation was a European movement, and Knox wanted an English readership as well as a Scottish one. The fact that England was a protestant country in fact made it more of a political ally for Knox and the reformers than the Auld Ally, catholic France. More pertinent even than that, however, is the fact that Knox’ main publications were printed in London, the centre of the printing industry of the day. There was a small printing industry in Edinburgh, but the larger English industry flooded the Scottish market - and the London printers quite cheerfully changed anything they didn’t understand or found odd in their Scottish authors’ work. You find this today in the Harry Potter series - the American edition has different slang and references from the British edition: even the title, 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone' becomes 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone' in the USA. Imagine what would happen to British English if the British publishing and printing industry were to dwindle and fold, and if we were to rely exclusively on American imports. Probably we would start writing ‘theater’ and ‘center’ etc, although it would be a while (if at all) before our speech patterns altered.

What kinds of changes were occurring, then, in 16th C Scotland? To give a few examples, English spellings were beginning to displace Scots spellings (heir would be replaced by here, quh- would be replaced by wh-); English grammatical markers were beginning to replace Scots inflexions (-eth for -is; -ed for -it); and specifically Scots vocabulary would be avoided while English terms would be adopted. Since spelling is an arbitrary system, and since English spelling was by no means regular or systematic at this time either, these changes probably did not have the emotional charge they might have now. It makes no great difference whether you represent the /x/ sound in ‘nicht’ with a <ch> or a <gh> as long as some marker is there.

James VI, then, wrote the 'Reulis and Cautelis' against a background of increasing influence in Scotland of works that were printed in England and that therefore conformed to the still fairly fluid norms of English spelling, grammar and vocabulary. Indeed the Reulis and Cautelis can be seen, as RDS Jack argues, as the newly crowned young monarch’s attempt to establish his cultural authority by upholding the virtues of literary creation in his distinctive language variety. Like Douglas long before him, James VI treats English in his preface as a separate, if related, language:

The uther cause [of writing this essay] is that for thame that hes writtin in it [i.e. about poetic composition] of late, there hes never ane of thame writtin in our language. For albeit sindrie hes written of it in English, quhilk is lykest to our language, yit we differ from thame in sindrie reulis of poesie, as ye will find be experience.

So, what were the influences upon it?

The Sources of 'The Reulis and Cautelis'

James VI’s essay is part of a 16th Century genre of poetic advice that had originated in Europe with writers like Du Bellay, whom James mentions in his preface as a direct inspiration. Du Bellay had written 'The Defence and Illustration of the French Language' and published it in Paris in 1549. Du Bellay defends French from the accusation that it is a second-rate language compared to Latin; effectively he argues that modern (ie 16th Century) French literature can aspire to the heights of Latin, and he illustrates this by referring to the work of his contemporaries. About quarter of a century later, George Gascoigne, a minor Elizabethan poet, wrote the first critical essay on poetry in English literature, 'Certayne Notes of Instruction' (1575), and, probably in the same decade, Richard Puttenham (or possibly his brother, George) followed this up with 'The Arte of English Poesie', published anonymously in 1589. These projects were both literary and patriotic: they gave advice to aspiring poets, but celebrated the vernacular of their own country, effectively making a case for their own national literature. James appropriates and domesticates the ideas taken from these other writers (not unnaturally; remember he was 17 years old) and he also owes a debt to the classical writer Horace (65-8 BC), whose 'Ars Poeticae' (Art of Poetry) was still a strong influence on the supporters of the vernacular.

Horace’s views on decorum strongly influence Chapter III of the 'Reulis and Cautelis' which is singled out by RDS Jack as particularly innovative.

Ye man also take heid to frame your wordis and sentencis according to the mater: as in flyting and invectives, your words be cuttit short and hurland over heuch. For thais quhilkis are cuttit short, I meane be sic wordis as thir, is neir cair for ‘I sall nevir cair,’ gif your subject were of love or tragedies, because in thame your words man be drawin lang, qhilkis in flyting man be short.
Ye man lykewayis tak heid, that ye waill your wordis according to the purpose: as in ane heich and learnit purpose to use hiech, pithie and learnit wordis.
Gif your purpose be of love: to use commoun language with some passionate wordis.
Gif your purpose be of tragicall materis: to use lamentable wordis, with some hiech, as ravisht in admiratioun.
Gif your purpose be of landwart effairis: to use corruptit and uplandis wordis.
And finally, quhatsumever be your subject, to use vocabula artis, quhairby ye may the mair vivelie represent that persoun quhais pairt ye paint out.
This is lykewayis neidfull to be usit in sentences, alsweill as in wordis: as, gif your subject be heich and learnit, to use learnit and infallible reasonis, provin be necessities.
Gif your subject be of love: to use wilfull reasonis, proceeding rather from passion nor reasoun.
Gif your subject be of landwart effaris; to use sklender reasonis mixt with grosse ignorance, nather keiping forme nor ordour. And sa furth, ever framing your reasons according to the quality of your subject.
Let all your verse be literall, sa far as may be, quhatsumever kynde they be of, but specially tumbling verse for flyting. By ‘literall’, I meane that the maist pairt of your lyne sall rynne upon a letter, as this tumbling lyne rynnis upon ‘f’.

Fetching fude for to feid it fast furth of the farie.

Ye man observe that thir tumbling verse flowis not on that fassoun as otheris dois. For all utheris keipis the reule quhilk I gave before; to wit, the first fute short, the second lang, and so furth. Quhair as thir has twa short and ane lang throuch all the lyne, quhen they keip ordour, albeit the maist pairt of thame be out of ordour and keipis na kynde nor reule of flowing and for that cause are callit tumbling verse; except the short lynis of aucht in the hinder end of the verse, the quhilk flowis as uther verses dois as ye will find in the hinder end of this buke, quhair I give exemple of sindrie kyndis of versis.

Jack makes much of this passage, directly and indirectly, in many of his writings on renaissance and 18th Century. His argument is complex, but it can be crudely summarised in the claim that the insistence on decorum - of matching language to subject matter - forced Scottish poets to extend their literary medium across dialect and even language boundaries. To focus on literature in Scots is to belittle Scottish poets. They key advice in this passage is ‘Ye man ... take heid to frame your wordis and sentences according to the mater’. As the subject matter changes, so must the language used to convey it. And I mean the language: elsewhere James warns inexperienced writers off the use of Scots at all for ‘wryting any thing of materis to commoun weill’ and ‘uther sic grave sene subjectis’. It was only proper that philosophical, educated discourse on serious subjects should be written in a weighty language: Latin. It was not only proper - it was politically expedient for political debate to take place only in a language that was accessible to an elite few.

Here, he advises writers to use everyday language for poetic vituperation, or flytings: everyday language being characterised by contractions (‘cuttit short wordis’) and dramatised in literature by uneven rhythms (‘hurland over heuch’ means ‘throwing yourself over a cliff’; Du Bellay had used the image of rhythms ‘tumbant en icelle’, ‘falling over themselves’). In love poetry, however, ordinary vocabulary and uncontracted forms should be used. Learned (latinate) vocabulary should be used in learned poetry, and high-flown, emotive words should be used in tragedies. ‘Landwart affairs’ (ie rural matters, or low comedy) should use ‘corrupt’ and regional vocabulary. In all cases, however, ‘vocabula artis’ or ‘poetic diction’ should be used - in other words, whether using high, plain or low style vocabulary, the language should be dramatically appropriate to the characters drawn.

The same goes for grammar and discourse, or, as James puts it, ‘sentences’. High and learned topics should be characterised by logical and erudite reasons. ‘Landwart effaris’ or low comedy should be characterised by poor reasoning, gross ignorance, and a lack of coherence. Love poems should be characterised by ‘wilful reasonis’, that is, they should appeal to the emotions rather than the intellect. The three main topics that James identifies, then - learned poetry, low comedy and love poetry - all have their appropriate vocabulary and style, and it would be indecorous to break the conventions that govern poetic composition.

Finally, James makes a couple of points about poetic style: first, all verse should be ‘literall’, ie it should alliterate, and he gives an example from the flyting of Polwart and Montgomerie, a contest of poetic insults performed before the king, possibly to dispute the post of poet laureate to James. Alliteration used to be the hallmark of Old English poetry before the Norman Conquest; rhyme was originally a newfangled means of identifying the end of the poetic line, imported from the European continent. Indeed, in the preface and Chapter 1 of the 'Reulis and Cautelis', James justifies writing the essay by arguing that not many aspiring poets will know the rules of ‘flowing’, that is, of writing metrically smooth verse. Alliteration survived much more strongly in the north of England and in Scotland than it did in the south of England and this is a very late confirmation of its continuing importance in Scottish poetry.

Although the 'Reulis and Cautelis' amounts to a royal seal of approval for the writing of vernacular poetry, ie poetry in Scots, James puts limits on the subjects that can be decorously broached in Scots verse. In Chapter VII the politician in him emerges:

From Chapter VII

Ye man also be war of wryting anything of materis of common weill or uther sic grave sene subjectis (except metaphorically; of manifest truth opinly knawin; yit nochtwithstanding using it very seindil) because nocht onely ye essay nocht your awin inventioun, as I spak before, bot lykewayis they are to grave materis for a poet to mell in ...

Poets, in other words, should not write directly of political or serious matters - and they should be sparing in their use of metaphor to cloak political subjects. They should be creatures of imagination rather than meddlers in serious matters. Political and serious writing should implicitly be done in Latin; that said, James also employed writers like William Fowler to translate Machiavelli’s scandalous political treatise The Prince into Scots, although it is unlikely that this was to receive wide publication - certainly it did not in his own lifetime.

Translation is another area that receives ambiguous, if not to say ambivalent, treatment in the 'Reulis and Cautelis'. Chapter VI emphasises the importance of originality in verse, and Chapter VII seems to outlaw translation on the grounds of its lack of originality:

From Chapter VII

Bot sen invention is ane of the cheif vertewis in a poete, it is best that ye invent your awin subject your self and not to compose of sene subjectis. Especially, translating of any thing out of uther language, quhilk doing, ye not only assay not your awin ingyne of inventioun, bot be the same meanes ye are bound as to a staik to follow that buikis phrasis, quhilk ye translate.

Translation, then, does not allow you to exercise your own poetic ingenuity, and it ‘binds you to the stake’ of another person’s words. However, James’ words here must be interpreted in the light of his actions: he himself translated French sonnets, and he actively encouraged the translation into Scots of continental poetry by others: John Stewart of Baldynneis’ version of Ariosto’s 'Orlando Furioso' becomes, for example, a very Scots 'Roland Furious'. So what is going on here? The passage in the 'Reulis and Cautelis' must be interpreted not as a general admonition, but as a warning to beginner poets: (1) at this stage in poetic development it is more important to discover your own voice than to translate other voices (this concept of the individual voice being valuable was quite a new one in 16th Century society), and (2) translation is a hard taskmaster, since the source text places certain obligations of fidelity on the translator. This concept of translation was again fairly new to the renaissance, and in Scotland originates probably with Gavin Douglas’ 1513 translation of Virgil’s 'Aeneid'. In his preface to that translation, Douglas ‘flytes’ against William Caxton, who printed his own version of Virgil on the press he introduced to England, leaving out the bits of the epic poem he didn’t want and pretty much concentrating on the love story. Douglas is furious at Caxton’s perceived incompetence while Caxton was in fact doing what most mediaeval translators did: taking what they wanted from the source material and adapting it to their own tastes. The fact that Douglas saw fidelity as an issue is new in the 16th Century, and that demand for fidelity is something James seems to be acknowledging here. That said, the Caxton type of translator did not disappear: in his version of 'Orlando Furioso' John Stewart of Baldynneis freely admits to streamlining and reorganising his baggy original. The difference, I suppose, is that he feels the need to justify this at the end of the 16th Century, where Caxton felt that such adaptation and modification is natural. Again, today, we feel ambivalent about adaptations of, say, books into films - the setting of the novel 'Hi Fidelity' is changed from London in the novel to Chicago in the film version. Du Bellay, one of James’ major sources, also makes a famous distinction between works that ‘translate’ and works that ‘traduce’ the source text, ‘traductions’ being misrepresentations, slanders. So James was probably not against translation as such - it’s unlikely given that he was a competent translator himself and he actively patronised translation - and so his words in the 'Reulis and Cautelis' should be seen as targeted specifically at aspiring rather than accomplished poets.

After the Union of the Crowns

James reigned in Scotland for about twenty years, before successfully negotiating to become king of the newly united kingdom of Scotland and England in 1603. During his 20 years in Scotland he was culturally active, writing poems and prose himself, and encouraging his courtiers to write and translate poetry in Scots. The Scots of the day might (as we have seen) be interacting with English, particularly in spelling, but it was still recognisably Scots. Other Scots, for example George Buchanan, James’ stern tutor, were still composing poetry, plays and non-fictional work (political and religious treatises; histories) in Latin - George Buchanan’s Latin poems would provide models for classically-educated Scottish students to imitate for the next two centuries. 20th Century writer, Robert Garioch, believed that his best work was not his poetry but his translation into Scots of Buchanan’s Latin plays, 'Jepthah and The Baptist'.

Elizabeth died without an heir, and James ultimately obtained the prize of the English crown to add to the Scottish crown. He relocated to London, taking many of his courtiers with him. Only William Drummond of Hawthornden stayed in Scotland, and he kept himself closely informed with cultural developments south of the Border - Drummond of Hawthornden’s library catalogue has been published and it shows in detail the source reading - the incredibly broad source reading - of a 17th Century Scots gentleman poet. It itself is worth a peek. The other court poets followed James to England. Ronald Jack suggests that their ambition was to create a golden age - there was in contemporary writing little sense of betrayal - any sense of loss was tempered by the hope that the new bonds between Scotland and England would benefit Scotland - the Scots, after all, were now in charge of the English court. However, the hopes were not to be fulfilled. James stayed in England for 14 long years before returning to Scotland, and in the meantime the northern kingdom was beginning to feel neglected. Drummond of Hawthornden performed a poem, 'Forth Feasting', to welcome the king home. The poem, in which the River Forth, symbol of Scotland, exalts the king, nevertheless ends with a note of complaint, when the poet compares the claims of ‘Isis’ (ie the Thames, representing England) and the Forth:

Ah, why should Isis only see thee shine?
Is not thy FORTH as well as Isis thine?
Though Isis vaunt she hath more Wealth in store,
Let it suffice Thy FORTH doth love Thee more:
Though shee for Beautie may compare with Seine,
For Swannes and Sea-Nymphes with imperiall Rhene,
Yet in the Title may bee claim’d in Thee,
Nor Shee, nor all the World, can match with mee.
Now, when (by Honour drawne) thou shalt away
To Her alreadie jelous of thy Stay,
When in Her amourous Armes Shee doth Thee fold,
And dries thy Dewie Haires with Hers of Gold,
Much questioning of Thy Fare, much of Thy Sport,
Much of Thine Absence, Long, how e’re so short,
And chides (perhaps) Thy Comming to the North,
Loathe not to thinke on Thy much-loving FORTH:
O love these Bounds, whereof Thy royall Stemme
More then a hundreth wore a Diademe.
(ll. 383-400)

England’s greater wealth, beauty and - let’s face it - sensuality is noted here, but the poet (in the persona of the river) appeals to the king not to forget who loves him most, and not to forget his roots. The poet reminds the monarch that he is a Scottish king. But notice: the Scottish poet appeals to the patriotism of a Scottish king, returned to his homeland for the first time in 14 years - in English. Look at the spellings and the word-forms: ‘why’ rather than ‘quhy’, ‘hath’ and ‘doth’ rather than ‘has’ and ‘dois’, ‘claim’d’ rather than ‘claimit’ or ‘claim’t’, ‘much’ and ‘much-loving’ rather than ‘muckle’ and ‘muckle-luvand’. Why does Drummond use English on this occasion? Jack writes: ‘He makes the patriotic appeal in English because, like all writers at this time, he thought of language choice decorously rather than politically.’ Jack’s argument is that we should also think of the language choice of the 16th Century writers decorously rather than politically. That I’m not so sure about. While granting that we should certainly seek to understand what motivated the language choices of renaissance Scottish writers, it does seem to me that there is clearly a political dimension, some of which the writers themselves were well aware of, and some which is clear only with hindsight. Ronald Jack worries that the tradition of Scottish literature has condemned renaissance writers such as James and his contemporaries for a betrayal of Scottish values - by turning away from Scots towards English they sacrifice Scottish cultural autonomy on the altar of political expediency. That is a crude 20th Century political view that should not be imposed upon the 16th and 17th Centuries. Jack shows valuably that Scottish cultural life goes well beyond idiom - we have to take notice of and value the lively traditions in Scotland of literature in Scots, Latin and even English. However, the very notion of decorum can and perhaps should be understood historically and politically (with a small ‘p’) - the very notion of decorum develops as a social and political process. It is no accident that Latin was the language of erudition and high seriousness - nor is it a consequence of the innate superiority of Latin as a language - instead, it is an aftershock of the Roman Empire and the continuing authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Nor is it an accident that regional dialect was considered appropriate to low comedy - that is the language of the relatively powerless, less educated and easily mocked. It is not that regional dialects are innately funny.

So decorum, one of the prime literary and linguistic values codified in James’ Reulis and Cautelis, must be understood as a powerful principle in 16th Century Scotland and later (and indeed earlier - you could easily illustrate James’ principles by referring to Dunbar’s ouevre). That is Ronald Jack’s position - decorum explains the language-shifting, boundary-breaking, polyglot richness of older Scottish literature, a richness denied if we focus only on literature in Scots. My position is to adapt Jack slightly, to acknowledge the richness of older Scottish literature, but to bear in mind that the concept of decorum itself cannot be held up as a universal literary and linguistic absolute, a constant for all time. What is linguistically appropriate is developed in social and political contexts, and that too can be tracked over time, to give a fuller explanation of the forms of language that are used in literature.

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Information about Document 16

Reulis and Cautelis


Text audience

Adults (18+)
Informed lay people
Audience size 21-100

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Method of composition Wordprocessed
Word count 5063

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Author details

Author id 608
Title Dr
Forenames John
Initials B
Surname Corbett
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1950
Educational attainment University
Age left school 17
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation University Professor
Place of birth Ayr
Region of birth S Ayr
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Bridge of Weir
Region of residence Renfrew
Residence CSD dialect area Renfr
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Insurance Broker
Father's place of birth Auchinleck
Father's region of birth S Ayr
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Dental Receptionist
Mother's place of birth Ayr
Mother's region of birth S Ayr
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ayr
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes In most everyday situations
Portuguese Yes No No Yes When trying to communicate with my in-laws
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes In domestic/activist circles; reading literature