Document 799

Conversation 13: Two male postgraduate students on academic life

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): SCOTS Project

This document contains strong or offensive language

Audio transcription

M741 Okay, [laugh]. Oh now it gets weird because it's like definitely recordin. //I'm gonnae,//
M605 //[laugh]//
M741 this is actually really good for me cause now I'll know how my test subjects feel when I'm recording them, //eh//
M605 //Aye, aye.//
M741 which is, cause I'm like, oh yeah, just talk, talk away. And I think now that I'm in this kinna situation, with being recorded, I'm understanding this whole observer's paradox, listening, recording, type thing, that makes it really difficult to get sort of natural speech.
M605 And there's also an element of ehm, of teachin. I think maybe teaching us about all this.
M741 Mm
M605 In that you're sayin to folk, "talk" and they're sayin "well talk, what about?"
M741 Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. See that was, that was one thing that really annoyed me when I was an undergraduate, that hardly anyone would talk in the class. And you'd be like, it would end up the tutor would be like a sort of mini-lecturer, and you would just be talked at for an hour, because they had to do something to kind of fill in the time.
M605 Yeah.
M741 [CENSORED: forename] [CENSORED: surname] was really good at that, actually, eh, //she used to do.//
M605 //Yeah, but [CENSORED: forename]'s actually// very good though. //She's got a//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 good knowledge base and she
M741 Yeah, totally, but it was just really annoying. Not in, not in because she was talking, but because everyone else just wouldn't. It was just like, they'd all be sitting there, going "Well, I don't know what to say; let's just be quiet for an hour and someone else will talk." //And that//
M605 //Yeah.//
M741 really really annoyed me, //really annoyed me.//
M605 //And one of// one of the things is like, ehm, I think, this year, I've I've inherited classes from other people.
M741 Right.
M605 So in English you don't teach for the full year, you teach, ehm, they divide it in //modules.//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 So you teach, either One A or One B.
M741 Right.
M605 Ehm, and I'm doin One B, which means that, I've got a class who, well five five classes all of whom have already been brought together, //and they've been//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 They've been ehm, g- gettin to know each other, with another tutor,
M741 Mmhm
M605 who paradoxically, one of whom was one of my old tutors.
M741 Oh right. //that's weird, yeah.//
M605 //And I've told them this, I've just said,// you know, I actually
M741 Yeah.
M605 [CENSORED: forename] taught me as well.
M741 Who is it?
M605 [CENSORED: forename] [CENSORED: surname].
M741 Don't know her.
M605 Right. Ehm, and I almost feel as if, everyone has their different styles //of teaching, obviously, almost//
M741 //Yeah, yeah, yeah.//
M605 feel as if they're kind of expecting me to do things in the way that she //did them.//
M741 //Yep.//
M605 And I'm not either able or willing to do //that.//
M741 //Yeah.// Yeah, cause you've gotta get your own sort of teaching style. You've gotta find it an
M605 Yeah.
M741 I think, ehm, like, emulating someone else, like, to an extent, is is good, but I think you've got to try and find your own way and your own feet, and do it //so you're own//
M605 //But also I mean ye//
M741 com- so you're comfortable like teaching in your own style.
M605 It's also different as well, when you've got like a, you got three, three months, first time at University.
M741 Mmhm
M605 ehm, and th- the job of the tutor is to kind of ehm is to get people feelin at ease, and to just get like things flowin, and to put people in, in, put people at ease. But then by the time you know, you you're you're three months in, //you need to pick//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 up the pace a little bit, you need to kind of //You'd be expectin//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 a little bit more engagement, a little bit more involvement from
M741 Yeah.
M605 from people.
M741 I think I just, I made it really obvious that they weren't talkin when they weren't. I was just like [tut] "so everyone have a good weekend?" Nothin happened, I was just like "Oh [inaudible] //[inaudible] thanks for that, that's//
M605 //[inaudible]//
M741 appreciated," //and I just//
M605 //Aye.//
M741 I just made them feel like, you know, youse aren't talkin, youse have youse have got to do this. Erm, anyway, they seem to be gettin somewhere now, like the past couple of tutorials it's been really good, because they've started actually talkin an asking questions an thinkin about things, which has been really really good but. You get, it's only a certain amount of people who who are like that, and then the rest of them are just like, not very talkative. I've been tryin, when I see them outside of class and stuff like that, and actually stoppin and goin "Hey, how are you doin?" you know, "Everythin alright?" So the- that kinda informality gets back into the tutor group. And people feel as if they can kinna chat and stuff like that. And I, like, I took them for a drink at Christmas time, to say, you know, good first term's work and stuff like that, and I think a lot of them were like "Wait a minute. He's takin us for a drink? Whit's whit's goin on?" But I think they really enjoyed it, cause it gave them then a chance to like chat about stuff totally informally, in a situation that's not
M605 Yeah.
M741 you know like a classroom, which w- I think was really really good for them. What kind of stuff is you're doin in One B with them?
M605 It's ehm, well, we've got quite a lot of poetry, we've got, today was Wordsworth and Coleridge. We've done done Herbert
M741 Right.
M605 I've got two more poetry sessions //and he//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 keeps sayin "I hate poetry", and I keep sayin "That's why it's compulsory."
M741 Yeah, [laugh].
M605 [laugh] //[laugh]//
M741 //Yep.// //Yep, yeah.//
M605 //Which is which is which is the case, you know?// Ehm, I've got a session on kind of, I've tried to kind of group it just chronologically, so I've got a session on sort of Modernists, //but it's basically//
M741 //Right.//
M605 Eliot, and Hopkins, who doesn't quite fit in that Modernist mould, //but he was quite//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 kind of influential, you know? And then I've got an, a session on modern Irish poetry,
M741 [click] Oh right, cool.
M605 And I don't quite know how I'm gonna do that, I think I'm gonna do something about like erm, I'd better be careful about how clichéd I go into what I'm talkin about, but I think I'll do something with ehm I don't know, Yeats and Heaney //and something on//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 ehm, artistic response to violence an.
M741 Uh-huh
M605 Do you know, s- somethin like that, I don't want to get into the, I think you can deal with these things in a really clichéd way, you know? And I feel a kind of a a responsibility not to do that. But it, but also I think that people are not very, they don't get political enough about their about their poetry. I mean sometimes, I mean, I'm co- I come at things from quite a kind of ehm politically engaged angle //in terms of//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 the questions that I ask tend to be questions to do with language, power
M741 Mmhm I think a lot of the times though, like, undergraduate students are kind of unwilling to get involved in these kind of big heady debates, like, not so much about the poetry, but about the sort of political dimension of it.
M605 Yeah.
M741 Er, why why that is, I don't know, but I definitely, when I was doin like Scot Lit and poetry er stuff, I never, I wasn't really willing or, to get involved in the whole political side of things. And even, even novels, not so much poetry, but novels as well, like, I just didn't really want to deal with that, cause it's really, it's complicated, I think. It can get messy, an //I think people get//
M605 //People might//
M741 a bit emotional about it, it can get a bit emotional about it as well, especially Irish poetry, like
M605 There's gonna be a lot of resonances an things.
M741 Mmhm
M605 I mean, one of the things Wh- I'm be- I mean what I basically look, tend to be looking at in in my own work is about ehm the political implications of artistic form.
M741 Mmhm
M605 So why write this way and not that //way?//
M741 //Yeah yeah yeah, yep.//
M605 It's a really simple question. //but that's tends to be what I'm//
M741 //Yeah.// //[sniff]//
M605 //in one way or another talkin about.//
M741 Yeah. //That looks quite cool.//
M605 //Ehm, so when I come// to do in Wordsworth, and I mean I'm not, I'm not especially sympathetic //to the Romantics,//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 and I ended up talkin the other day about Wordsworth and Marx.
M741 Right.
M605 just because it's like you know, what are the political implications of the Romantic ehm, sort of favouring of the country over the city?
M741 Mmhm
M605 What are the im- political implications of this, thinking about Marx and, you know, Ma- the C- Communist Manifesto's sayin about abolishing the difference between the town and the country.
M741 Mmhm //Yeah.//
M605 //You know, what are the// political implications of this apostrophe to nature that you get in in Wordsworth and Coleridge, //you know,//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 ehm in in reaction to the industrial revolution and. And some people were really interested; others were, like, "Oh all of a sudden I've got an angle on this."
M741 Uh-huh
M605 It just depends on the personalities and on the
M741 Yeah, definitely.
M605 Erm, cause you've got to find, I think, some way of like, especially in poetry when you've you always do quite dense formal patterning,
M741 Yep.
M605 you've got to find some way of saying, well why bother with all this formal stuff?
M741 Yeah.
M605 What's the point to it, what's the? And obviously you don't have an answer to that question, but what might be some //some ways//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 of thinkin aboot it?
M741 Hmm //That sounds quite cool.//
M605 //Yep.// It can be but that was the one good class out of five. The other four, I I didn't fall flat on my face but they weren't very successful, you know?
M741 Yeah, I've had a, I had one class like that so far this term. Fact it was it was only because I didn't really prepare it well enough Er, and we were talkin about the the semiotic triangle, se- semantics and stuff like that.
M605 What, ehm, Saussure?
M741 Er, yes, Saussure, reference, signifier //and all the rest//
M605 //Yeah.//
M741 of it so we were talkin about that. And they hadn't actually managed to copy down the the diagram and I've not, I didn't do semantics; I only did semantics in first and second year. Ah, and really didn't know anything about it, and I'm like [inhale] "Yeah, this is what this means", and they were like "Are you sure?" and I'm like "Yeah". "No! //No, actually, just give me a couple of//
M605 //[laugh]//
M741 minutes here until I read my tutor notes," and they were like "Oh my God!" But I made up for it the next week, like, I actually spent time like sitting and reading up on sort of Middle English, Chaucer stuff, so I was able to go "Boom boom boom, this is what it's all about", and I think they were a bit more impressed //by that.//
M605 //Well your reputation// is so important isn't it? I mean you have, I feel very self-conscious at times about when you're //off form.//
M741 //Yeah, [inaudible]// Yeah, oh aye aye like I know it was it was simply, not because I didn't know the material, it was because I never prepared it. Er, and semantics is just something that I'm I've never really been particularly interested in. But Middle English sho- is a bit easier, er, and next week it's sociolinguistics, which obviously //I'm gonna do in,//
M605 //Which will be, you'll be in your//
M741 I'll be in my element.
M605 Whereas I kind of feel that like if I had a class on teaching Alasdair Gray, I'd feel quite nervous //because I'm I'd be//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 thinkin well, you know, //all of a sudden//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 th- that's what I'm supposed to be able to do. And then I'd be I'd be startin, well, how do I teach this stuff to beginners? How do I kind of //get on with?//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 [inaudible] I mean I'd love to be asked to do it.
M741 Yeah.
M605 Obviously, I'd love to be asked to do it, but ehm
M741 See that's the thing when you're, you've gotta teach something that you're not really sure of. It kind of consolidates your own knowledge base as well, because you've got this opportunity to go and read up and then you've got to be able to teach it, and that was one thing I was taught when I was doing my undergraduate. You just don't really ever know anything until you can explain it to someone else. And if you can explain it to someone else and they get it, then you know, you'd really know about it, because you're able to //sort o expl-//
M605 //Which is what writin// essays is about, which is what the, basically your undergraduate essay is that same process. It's,
M741 Yeah.
M605 it's showin that you understand enough to explain it to a third party.
M741 See I found it really odd actually that I can explain a lot more in an essay, and then it just kind of goes out ma head. I can figure things out and link them all together er on paper. But if you ask, really ask me to do like a lecture on exactly the same material, I wouldn't know anything about it. I would just be like, what do I talk about here? //But it's//
M605 //Mmhm//
M741 it's quite, it's quite weird that it's easier to keep your thoughts coherent on paper, but then it's a lot more, I think it's a lot more difficult to do it orally as well, but I don't know. I don't know if that has any currency or not.
M605 I think it depends whether you actually read from a script or not. I th- I think if I'm gonna lecture I'll be reading from a script.
M741 Yeah?
M605 Because I'm, because the thing about, ehm, [inaudible] I mean I wouldnae be, there it is, standing at the //lectern//
M741 //Mm//
M605 just reading. //But I would definitely have it,//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 because with the stuff that, that we're workin on is not so much ehm practical skills at the lecture level, //I mean that's where the tutorial//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 comes in. But it's not like like saying, well like, you know, John Corbett works through, quite often makes use of Powerpoint?
M741 Yeah.
M605 And when he's talkin about grammar an, and semantics an, and you know, those kind of things //to undergraduates,//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 and that's a great way to do it, you put up y- your basic kind of concepts, your //information,//
M741 //Yep.//
M605 and then you just //kind of, expand on youv-//
M741 //Kind of expand on it, yeah.//
M605 yo- you kind of work out w- with the students what what makes sense //and doesn't make sense an//
M741 //Yeah, yeah.//
M605 ye- you take people through it like that. //Ehm//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 I was at a class yesterday on Gaelic phonetics, actually,
M741 Oh wow, cool! //Who was doin that?//
M605 //which is// ehm, the new professor of Celtic. Ehm, [CENSORED: forename], ehm, [CENSORED: surname], //his name is.//
M741 //Oh right, cool.//
M605 [CENSORED: surname], in fact, is how he pronounces it.
M741 Yeah, I didn't know, er, [CENSORED: forename] [CENSORED: surname] got promoted, //as well.//
M605 //Yeah yeah, he got ma-//
M741 Er, met him a couple of months ago; he came into work, and I was like "Dr [CENSORED: surname]." And he was "well, I, actually I'm a //Professor now." [laugh] And I was like, "Oh, right!//
M605 //Professor now. [laugh]//
M741 Congratulations, congratulations." So that's pretty good.
M605 Yeah yeah, he's one of my supervisors.
M741 Is he, yeah?
M605 Yeah. //[door slamming] [inaudible]//
M741 //Who's, who, [?]the other one[/?]?//
M605 With er, [CENSORED: forename] [CENSORED: surname],
M741 Right.
M605 so they're the two profs.
M741 Wow, that's pretty impressive.
M605 Yeah.
M741 That's pretty impressive. Er, are you, has [CENSORED: forename] found anything out about her viva yet?
M605 I understand that she passed. //I haven't spoken to her personally, but I heard//
M741 //Right, cool. Uh-huh.//
M605 I heard that she'd passed.
M741 Brilliant. //Excellent.//
M605 //Like// obviously I didn't hear before she heard, but //aye, some,//
M741 //Mmhm.//
M605 she must have spoken to somebody who spoke to //somebody.//
M741 //Yeah, the// Scot, Scot Lit department seems to be growing in strength. That's //pretty good.//
M605 //Well,// it depends. The thing about it is, I mean, how many people are gonna get decent contracts? I mean, without [CENSORED: forename] and, do you know [CENSORED: forename] [CENSORED: surname]? She teaches //Scots language in this department, yeah?//
M741 //Mmhm yep.//
M605 [CENSORED: forename]'s a nice nice person.
M741 Mmhm
M605 Ehm, without [CENSORED: forename] and [CENSORED: forename] I'm not sure that they could teach the courses quite as well as they do. //Because//
M741 //Right.//
M605 both [CENSORED: surname] and [CENSORED: forename] do lecturing, I think. //I know [CENSORED: forename] does//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 a bit. //I think//
M741 //Right.//
M605 [CENSORED: forename] does a bit as well.
M741 Aye, she never ever taught me, but I've heard of her.
M605 I mean she's she's she's just, she she got her viva passed last year.
M741 Right.
M605 Ehm, and they both do do ehm quite a lot of teaching, and and ehm, and [CENSORED: forename] does a lot of admin. But, I mean I don't know the details of their contracts, but they don't have proper jobs.
M741 No, that was, when I spoke to [CENSORED: forename], ehm she was saying that, she was only on a point six contract or something like that. Er //and didn't know whether they would, yeah, it's not.//
M605 //It's not, it's obviously not permanent either, you know?// //They've got no security.//
M741 //She said it wasn't at all.//
M605 And the other thing, the other problem is that the eh the department is facing ehm decreasing student numbers at the moment,
M741 Right. //Oh that's a shame.//
M605 //for whatever reason.// So, I mean I would say definitely, let's give, fine, get the money, and give [CENSORED: forename] and and [CENSORED: forename] both jobs,
M741 Mmhm
M605 because they've both got specialisms, but they're both really good in //general.//
M741 //At everything// //else, yeah.//
M605 //general kinna// ways as well. And, I haven't been taught by actually by either of them,
M741 Right.
M605 ehm although I've been to kind of papers that [CENSORED: forename]'s given, //certainly.//
M741 //Right.//
M605 Ehm I don't think I've been taught by [CENSORED: forename]. I might have been. I cannae mind. But ehm You know they the- they've got good reputations as //teachers.//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 But that doesn't necessarily mean that that money's gonna be there to give them the //jobs.//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 Cause it would strengthen the department immensely //if ehm//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 [CENSORED: forename] [CENSORED: surname] was able to turn round tomorrow and say "right, you've both done x number of years or months kind of showing us what you can do,
M741 Yeah.
M605 Here's a salary, ehm here's the teaching responsibilities, go away and write, go and write some articles and let's get, //let's get some work done," you know?//
M741 //Yeah, get it done, yeah.// //[inaudible]//
M605 //I don't know if the department's gonna be in that position.//
M741 Yeah, but I mean, I don't know, I don't think th- there's enough done at High School level to say to people "Look there are there are a few universities that do specifically Scottish Lit." Cause I didn't know that Glasgow did Scottish Lit, when I came in. //Er//
M605 //I mean,//
M741 and it was only English Language, sorry English Lit., did English Language because of the whole Honours system, you've got to do //English Language//
M605 //Yeah.//
M741 and then did Scot Lit., pure- found out purely on, by my supervisor, she was like "Oh, we do Scottish Lit., by the way." And I was like "Okay, I'll do that as well." Erm but I think if they did more at High School level, and said, you know, there is a whole, you know, other corpus here, there, you know, you can do Scottish Literature here instead of English Literature. But then they don't do enough with English Language either. Like, I never even knew that there was so much stuff in English Language, //but like phonetics,//
M605 //Cause they do it in England of course// they do like a //separate A-level in in English Language, yeah.//
M741 //Yeah, they do A-level English Language, yeah.//
M605 They don't do enough linguistic study they don't do, they don't do obviously anywhere near, anything like enough //Scots Language stuff either.//
M741 //I think we got all// SPOCA in High School. The the Subject, //Predicator, Object,//
M605 //Predicator, Object,//
M741 Complement, Adjunct stuff. Er, that was that was it in fact. And that was in fourth year, but when you did fifth year there was nothing, //it was all literature.//
M605 //I mean I think they've got// this ehm, I think they, they do have a lot of nonsense in Higher English though, a lot of kind of stuff which the teachers hate to teach. //you know,//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 kind of very, [inaudible] though apparently the government wants people to. What th- what they're doin is puttin a pressure on teachers of English to provide all these critical skills,
M741 Mmhm
M605 which teachers of m- almost any humanities subject
M741 Yeah.
M605 could be asked to be a part of the responsibility for.
M741 Yeah.
M605 Like, writing essays in history gives you kind of critical tools //and critical//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 skills, you know? And there are, [?]askin[/?], it's now called Higher English and Communication,
M741 Yeah.
M605 so that, half of what they're, I mean that's one reason why I don't want to be a school teacher.
M741 Mmhm
M605 Ehm //But the only times I//
M741 //That's//
M605 consider bein a school teacher would be if I got to teach Scots language.
M741 Right. //See that was the thing, you can kind of//
M605 //Do you know what I mean, that's that's when I//
M741 do that, but then it's all this this whole, I don't know, national treasure thing, like Scots language, you teach it on Burns' night type thing. Er, which I think's a, you know you do you do Scottish Language through Burns. And then you maybe do a little bit of Tom Leonard or somethin like that, but you don't really do all that much about the the grammar or it, the phonetics of it, how it's different from Standard English, this whole Standard English-Scottish continuum, you know, where you use it, why you use it. the historical developments. You don't do anything like that //and it's such a shame.//
M605 //I mean,// in simple terms, I just think that on day one, primary one, people should come in and and they should get like, count to ten in //in English and count//
M741 //And,//
M605 to ten in Scots, //and just work//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 its way through, //right//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 through the education system.
M741 See I I //and yeah//
M605 //[inaudible]//
M741 yeah, I totally, I think like they need to do something about getting Scots on a on a more even footin. And even if people are bi- I say bilingual, but, you know, I think if, if that happened, and people are able to code-switch effectively between the Scots an, and Standard English, it would be, it would be really good, and then you're totally discouraged from writing in it as well, speaking of which I've still to send you those essays.
M605 It's alright, because I got them off the Corpus.
M741 Did you? Oh //right, brilliant, excellent, yeah, yeah, yeah. Cool.//
M605 //Cause I mean it's published now, yeah, so I went, I did I did read them.// Ehm, I mean th- [exhale] the thing about it all is is that I'm forever sayin things like that when I've just forgot what I was about //to say. [laugh]//
M741 //[laugh]. My friend// does that. He is like, that's that's one of his catchlines, "The thing about it is". //And, boomph, [laugh] yeah.//
M605 //An an it, what it is it's the sp-, see you spend like four seconds, an it takes you... It's like if you read ehm// you know, oral- you know orally transmitted //poetry,//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 A- and and it's full of these lines that are like, which appear, if you read them on the page, to be //repetitious.//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 But what they're there to do is to //to allow the, gi- give you a couple of seconds to remember what he's got to say next.//
M741 //they give you a couple of seconds to remember, yeah.// But that's, he always says that, and we always just burst out laughing when he does it, cause he doesn't, I don't think he realises it, when he's doin it; it's just totally subconscious, until we go "you've just said it again, you said it like two seconds ago." "The thing about it is. The thing about it is." And it's always when we're discu-, like not arguin about somethin but debatin about somethin. An, it always seems to precede like some sort of hair-splitting point. //[inaudible] like//
M605 //Right, yeah.//
M741 Come on, like, give it up, really, eh. //[?]He's a good guy[/?].//
M605 //It's funny though, because// I'm I'm learning Gaelic at the moment, and one of the things that's kind of lacking in my Gaelic conversation is those kind of phrases.
M741 Mmhm [sniff] Yeah, just sort of filler, //filler phrases, yeah.//
M605 //Filler phrases, cause you need them.//
M741 Yeah, oh yeah, //definitely.//
M605 //You need them, whereas// you quite often hear me like using lots of "okay"s
M741 Mmhm
M605 And lots of "so"s.
M741 Right.
M605 A lot, occa- some things like "okay" have kind of made their way into Gaelic,
M741 Mmhm //Mm//
M605 //You know?// People will use that
M741 Yeah.
M605 Ehm //An//
M741 //Do, when// you, when you converse in Gaelic, like, how how proficient are you?
M605 I've been doin it, I've got I've got eighteen months' University Gaelic,
M741 Right, cool.
M605 ehm which means that I can read a bit,
M741 Right.
M605 and I speak broken Gaelic and I sc- I switch between Gaelic and English a lot.
M741 Right. //Cause ma f-//
M605 //Just because I don't// use it very, like every day, //you know?//
M741 //Uh-huh// Yeah, cause ma flatmate, he's Welsh,
M605 Yep.
M741 erm, and when he talks to like his mum and his dad and his brothers and stuff like that, he. It's really really funny to listen to him, cause he will, like, big broken, big stretches of Welsh and then all of a sudden he'll just slip into English. And then it'll be all Welsh again, er and it's really interesting like hearin him kind of code-switch between using English words and then using Welsh words, but he uses English words normally when he's swearing, actually, that's maybe //[?]the point[/?].//
M605 //I wonder about Welsh// because, cause Gaelic apparently, the the concept of a swearword apparently is is is alien to Gaelic.
M741 Right, oh right.
M605 Like the idea that a word in itself has value.
M741 Uh-huh Yeah. //Yeah.//
M605 //Right? So// in English you can, or in Scottish you can have your series of different words for parts of the body, you //know?//
M741 //Yep.//
M605 And and one word you would like use in, if you were teaching,
M741 Mmhm
M605 Right? Another word you would use down the pub.
M741 Mmhm
M605 And and with different people, different //ages.//
M741 //Right.//
M605 Whereas in Gaelic, I think they just like, words don't have moral value, so //yer arse is yer arse.//
M741 //Mm// That's quite interesting.
M605 So the concept of a swearword is is is alien to //as I understand it to Gaelic,//
M741 //[cough] Uh-huh//
M605 traditionally to Gaelic,
M741 Yeah. //Cause there's been loads of work done//
M605 //linguistic culture.//
M741 in in English as well, sayin that, you know, a swearword's just a swearword, it's not any worse than any other word, like a table or whatever. It's just the kinna it's it's interesting how a meaning, a a judgement meaning has been put on on top of that, //on top of that word.//
M605 //I wonder what that's go to// do with the like sociolinguistic history of //English and Norman French and Latin and some of these.//
M741 //Yeah, I I don't know. I w- wondered if it's// more cultural than //anythin else.//
M605 //Mmhm//
M741 Cause I don't know, like being sort of, I would think that Gaelic's quite 'nicey' language, I suppose. Er I don't know whether English is maybe, because of all the sort of strife it's actually gone through //to get where it is now.//
M605 //I don't know, I don't know if it's// so much that, I ju- cause I think it's just a very specifical-, specifically cultural i- idea that words can have //of themselves have value.//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 But you can still ehm, abuse people in Gaelic.
M741 Right.
M605 But you you do s- you do that by calling them, ehm, like, think if you think about the English phrase "son of a bitch".
M741 Mmhm
M605 Eh, there's not, there's not a swear word anywhere in there.
M741 Yeah.
M605 But that is a a kind of taboo phrase //in the context in//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 which you use it.
M741 Well, it, like this is th- like, would you say "bitch" is swearin? //See I would say it is.//
M605 //I would say bi-// I would say "bitch" is swearing in that phr- sentence.
M741 Right.
M605 Because //it's a it's a developed phrase, whereas//
M741 //See I would, yeah.//
M605 if we're talkin about ehm, dogs, well that's a bitch.
M741 See that, that's the one thing, like, my girlfriend, her mum er keeps dogs, and when she says "bitch" like I can't au- but help automatically thinking it's the swearing word connotations, rather than the, you know, the the gender of the dog. //Er, and I'm just like//
M605 //Aye, aye.//
M741 "you ju- you just swore," [inaudible] "No, no, no, Robert, it's the it's the dog, the the she's a bitch". //Er, but it//
M605 //[laugh]//
M741 just, it's really weird that that's, that's w- that's what [inaudible] in ma head now.
M605 I mean you c- you could take that far enough and say that then, you know, "cow" could become a swear word, you know //if you talk about a woman or,//
M741 //Yeah, yeah.//
M605 do you know, there's, and I think that's what happens. I mean don't, I'm not in any means like knowledgeable about this, but I gather that's what happens in Gaelic when they use like
M741 Right.
M605 phrases, but the words themselves aren't of erm value, but like it's in the context.
M741 Mmhm
M605 But then I wonder if religious words have value, in Gaelic. //Like, cause [inaudible] the concept of//
M741 //Aye, cause that ehm.//
M605 blasphemy must must still exist, c- in Presbyterian
M741 Uh-huh //Cause in Middle English that was//
M605 //culture.//
M741 that was that was the thing, like religious terms like, "God's bones" and "God's teeth" and stuff like that, they were they were the bad words. //Ehm//
M605 //Yeah.//
M741 but obviously that's kind of all changed, with the sort of de-Christianisation of //of of//
M605 //Mmhm//
M741 sort of English culture, I suppose. But ehm, in Middle English, an Chaucer and stuff like that, that was definitely that was the that was the tabou-, the taboo words. It's b- it would be quite interesting to actually look at swear words. There's a girl doin a, some work just now on slang. And I think she's looking a bit at swearing in Glasgow, in Glaswegian, which would be quite interesting. Hopefully I'll look a bit at that //as well when I//
M605 //Yeah.//
M741 come to do, er, actually do my research. Cause I've not even started it yet, which is really bad, but I've got a meeting tomorrow.
M605 When's your deadline? Kind of October?
M741 Ehm, I think it's end of September, //so, I think I've//
M605 //Aye, yeah.//
M741 got, like, two months' groundwork, two months' recording which will take me up to the school holidays, and then transcribe it, analyse it, write up some sort of preliminary findings and then get it written down.
M605 But a lot of it will be transcripts then and things like that, you mean, in terms of how much you have to write, do your transcripts count in part of your wordcount, or is that //appendixed?//
M741 //Ehm// I don't know. All the other thesis that are, er, or is it "thesi"? //[laugh]//
M605 //[laugh]// //I think I think the- "theses" sounds quite funny, you know? [laugh]//
M741 //Eh, all the other stuff I have... Yeah.// //All the other ones that I've read er//
M605 //[laugh]//
M741 have all the the transcriptions actually included in the main body of the text, but I don't know whether they've counted towards the word limit or not. I don't know whether they would. //But then, I//
M605 //Don't know.//
M741 suppose they probably should,
M605 I think
M741 cause they're part of like your argument, like quotations get taken into your word count.
M605 I think it just depends on ehm I think doing sociolinguistics, you're you're in a a funny position, cause you're sort of straddling kinna arts and social sciences, //in terms of how//
M741 //Mm//
M605 the rest of the Academy views what you're doin.
M741 Mmhm, yeah, sociolinguistics seems to be the kinna I don't know, it's gettin a better, it's got recently a sort of better reputation bein a lot more scientific and stuff like that, especially with like, in the sixties there was the whole growth of, like, Labovian quantitative sociolinguistics and stuff like that. Ehm but even he, I was reading this last night in fact, even he says, you know, this whole sociolinguistics lookin at the relations between language and society, that's not what we should be doin, you know, we should be tabling stuff, counting things, and doin it like that, cause that's that's the scientific thing and he says, like, he's quite, he regrets the whole concept of sociolinguistics, cause he doesn't think that that's what it's all about. //Ehm//
M605 //Right.//
M741 but, it's got, it's got better. And even our department, like, we've only got one sociolinguist, //Um, [CENSORED: forename], yeah.//
M605 //Is that ehm, [CENSORED: forename]? Yeah.//
M741 But she, eh, she's hoping to get another one in fact, but there's loads she's got like loads of p- eh postgrads doin work on different bits of //[inaudible]//
M605 //Cause I know [CENSORED: forename]// //And, sh- oh, don't.//
M741 //Yep, [CENSORED: forename] and there's myself, there's [CENSORED: forename]. [CENSORED: surname]? I don't know if you know her.//
M605 I think I've probably met her actually.
M741 Eh, there's [CENSORED: forename] [CENSORED: surname] //Ehm//
M605 //What about [CENSORED: forename]? Is [CENSORED: forename] doin// somethin sociolinguistic, or?
M741 [CENSORED: forename], that's her job, erm
M605 Oh she's postdoctoral? //isn't she, yeah?//
M741 //Yeah, oh, I don't know if// she's post-, I don't know if she's got a doctorate, does she?
M605 Can't remember.
M741 Um, but she's she's actually workin. Eh, and then there's Who else? There's a girl called [CENSORED: forename], and there was [CENSORED: forename], erm, there was there's loads, and she's had like really some good thesis work comin through, the past sort o five years or so.
M605 Yeah. //Well it s-//
M741 //Ehm, but it's//
M605 says something when you've got, you know, one member of staff in an area, but they've got a disproportionate amount of ehm //postgraduates an//
M741 //Yeah,// that's the thing, like, all the work that we're all doin's all on Glaswegian. Er, we're not really doin anythin else. Like all ma work's on Glaswegian, all the
M605 mm
M741 [CENSORED: forename]'s work is on Glaswegian. Eh, obviously all of [CENSORED: forename]'s and [CENSORED: forename]'s work is on Glaswegian, [CENSORED: forename]'s, her's is on Welsh actually. Welsh and English code-switching, eh, which is a bit hard to do, from up here, so she has to do it through questionnaires and stuff like that. She went down a couple of weeks ago, to a school in Wales an an said, you know.
M605 Is she a Welsh speaker herself?
M741 Yeah, yeah, sh- well, wi English. Eh, she can speak Welsh, but she kinna f- really forgot a lot of it when she came up here for Uni. Erm, she had to kind of try and re-teach herself before she went down, //so she was able//
M605 //Aye.//
M741 to talk to the kids and stuff like that. Um, but yeah, I think she is maybe the only one who is not doin anything in in Glaswegian
M605 Right.
M741 just now, which is really, it's cool; there's like //so much stuff goin on here.//
M605 //Well it makes a lot of sense, you know, it makes a,// well, it makes a lot of sense to be to be usin materials that you've got to hand, you know?
M741 Yeah.
M605 I was doin some work in one of these y- one of these moments of, it's actually not for my PhD but it's kind of I did this paper last year on ehm, I, it's kind of a misleading title, called "Sectarianism and the Scots language".
M741 Right.
M605 And I did a pa- I did this, basically the argument's about the ehm, the kind of Scots language literary revival of the early twentieth century.
M741 Right.
M605 And, er I'm lookin at people like William Souter.
M741 Mmhm
M605 And I'm tryin to say that the kind of catalyst behind this, behind, for some of the writers'
M741 Mmhm
M605 ehm linguistic tactics, is a response to Irish immigration.
M741 Right. //Uh-huh//
M605 //Okay?// Ehm, it s- it sounds really tenuous when you just hear it out of //the air.//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 Yeah, but th-, so I put this argument together about like, what is the ehm what is the cultural context of Scotland in the nineteen-twenties?
M741 Uh-huh
M605 An, why after ehm two hundred years of parliamentary union with England, why a nationalist movement now?
M741 Mmhm
M605 And not, do you know what I //mean, why wo-,//
M741 //Yeah, two hundred years ago, yeah.//
M605 Well, I mean, there probably, sure there was two hundred years ago, but, do you know, why now? What's what's special about now?
M741 Mmhm
M605 Ehm and I'm lookin at, kind of, some of the the the strategies to do with ehm literary Scots writing
M741 Right.
M605 and talk about like linguistic choice, Ehm //like the privileging//
M741 //Mm//
M605 of ehm Germanic over ehm Latinate vocabulary,
M741 Uh-huh
M605 on the basis that the La- the Latinate vocabulary is stigmatised as English.
M741 Right.
M605 And then paradoxically they then go back to kind of G- Anglo-Saxon cognate //languages,//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 to g- to and there's a lot, there's a kind of a kind of a political kind of ehm //subtext//
M741 //Sort of thing goin on.//
M605 to a lot of what's goin on go- goin on here. Ehm
M741 Is th- is this a paper in progress, //just now? Right.//
M605 //In, well I did it I did it as a conference paper last year.// And then I've got to revise it for ehm publication.
M741 Right.
M605 And I'm gonna turn it into a kind of a //more//
M741 //Mm//
M605 sort of developed, developed essay. //[?]But I will.[/?]//
M741 //Ah, that's cool.//
M605 but one of the the basic ehm So you've got this idea like that it it it's destructive to to, like you know, we we've both written essays in Scots, right, and //my attitude is//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 always, ehm, don't stigmatise classical vocabulary,
M741 Mmhm
M605 a television's a television's a television.
M741 Yeah. //Rather than//
M605 //Right?//
M741 a "far-seer" or something like that.
M605 Which is something that I, in fairness like, as far as I understand, the Icelanders do that sort of thing.
M741 Mmhm
M605 And the Germans do as well.
M741 Yeah. //Yeah, their//
M605 //Right?//
M741 their word's "Fernseher", I think. //for tele-//
M605 //Whereas if you// go into like in Gaelic, ehm it depends on the word.
M741 Yeah.
M605 Right? So "television" in Gaelic is "telebhisean", //because you//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 think about it, like, //a literal.//
M741 //But it's spelt differently, is it not?//
M605 Yeah, because the Gaelic alphabet doesn't have a 'v'.
M741 Yeah.
M605 But that's the only difference.
M741 Yeah.
M605 Ehm, well, no, actually there's one other difference too, but it's just phonetically //'television' in Gaelic.//
M741 //Right.//
M605 Ehm because if you think about television, like a "far-seer".
M741 Yeah.
M605 right, well, that's doesn't, that's what it literally means, but that doesn't
M741 Yeah.
M605 eh, you know that's not what it what it now means.
M741 Yeah.
M605 So the word itself has acquired kind of value in meaning,
M741 Mmhm
M605 so they've they've kept that word. But then the word for "Internet",
M741 Uh-huh
M605 is "eadar-lìon" I've got very bad Gaelic accent. e- "eadar-lìon" //'eadar-lìon'//
M741 //Right.//
M605 ehm, which literally means "Internet",
M741 Right.
M605 because it's the the c- net which joins up, the connecting net.
M741 Yep.
M605 Right? So that in that context, it makes sense.
M741 Yeah.
M605 I don't know how, if that's just, if that was actually thought out as as a good word to to Gaelicise.
M741 Yeah.
M605 Whereas they decided that "television" they would keep. I don't know if it was just habit that dictated that, or
M741 Yeah.
M605 or whatever, but.
M741 Mm
M605 But but they've, you know, there's a certain approach to it. But my attitude is always television's television's television.
M741 Yeah.
M605 Ehm, so I'm looking at kind of ehm linguistic choice, in in in ehm Scots, like, writing in the, in the nineteen, early nineteen-hundreds onwards.
M741 Mmhm
M605 And between the wars, you know, at the time when the Church is publishing its, the Church of Scotland's publishing it's ehm "The Menace to", "of the Irish race to our Scottish Nationality", //an all that kind of thing an,//
M741 //Mm//
M605 ehm. But what, we- we- th- the main kind of impetus for all this is that if you look at the Scottish National Dictionary,
M741 Mmhm
M605 ehm, there's a little, this is why, talk about, like, you, the work in this department on Glaswegian is so interesting,
M741 Uh-huh
M605 is, that if, was it, in the Scottish National Dictionary, in the introduction to Volume One,
M741 Right.
M605 published nineteen thirty-three I think, right? But, look in the introduction; it's like set out in kind of bullet points, //like, number, like,//
M741 //Right.//
M605 you know One dot One, and then it goes on kind of thing. Well, about fo- fourteen pages in or something,
M741 Mmhm
M605 It says ehm, there's this one little thing which says "Due to the influx of Irish and foreign immigrants, into the industrial, into the industrial area surrounding Glasgow, //the dialect//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 has become hopelessly corrupt." //Right?//
M741 //Yeah.// //Yeah.//
M605 //So right near// the centre //of//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 this monumental work of Scottish scholarship //which//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 ehm which begins in the nineteen, in the early twentieth century,
M741 Mmhm
M605 right, to catalogue the distinctiveness of Scots //speech,//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 they ignore the city of Glasgow, the biggest city in Scotland, [?]wi her[/?] a huge population. They just ignore Glasgow, //one of the//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 I mean they say, well, you know, ehm, it's okay to catalogue like the Norse influence on ehm insular Scots, //an//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 it's okay to catalogue kind of the Romany influence //on//
M741 //Yep.//
M605 on my dialect of Scots, //you know in the South-East.//
M741 //But it's not//
M605 "But, we're not gonna touch Glasgow, because Glasgow's full of foreigners."
M741 Mmhm
M605 Irish people. //You know, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 And so Glasgow is left out //entirely//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 of the the SND.
M741 Mmhm [inhale] It seems that, that seems to be really endemic though, that urban, urban Scots seems to be bad, sort o correlated with bad Scots and rural Scots is good Scots. //Er//
M605 //Mmhm//
M741 and that's I think that's th- an impression that is even right up to the modern day, that, you know, you go and ask a a a schoolkid, you know, "do you, do you speak Scots?", they'll probably say no. But they'll they'll prob-, there's so much S- Scottish things goin on. Ehm, but it's just become so intimately correlated with, you know, if you speak, if you speak an urban variety then you're speakin, you know it's bad, it's bad Scots. Er, which is which is a real shame, //I think.//
M605 //And it's not as if like ehm//
M741 But it's interestin, that, that's kind of gone along with Irish immigration as well. //I didn't know about that.//
M605 //Well I mean y-y-y-// you sh- you wou-, you shouldn't accept it, but I I I mean I'll put the argument in,
M741 You think that's a m- main factor or //s- contributing factor?//
M605 //I think them the ehm, I// think that the, the impetus, the cultural nationalism,
M741 Mmhm
M605 which we had in the early twentieth century //in Scotland,//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 part of the driving force of this was a feeling that Scottish culture was under threat, as a result of immigration.
M741 Right.
M605 And that is part of the, kind of, the context in which you have, you have the poetic revival, //you have//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 some of the scholarly - I haven't really looked too far into scholarly projects //yet, but might -//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 but, based on that thing in the SND, I'm thinking, well, this is what, this is the cultural context in which people are beginning to worry about Scottish culture. //They're gonna worry//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 about the survival of Scottish culture. Why in the early, ehm, nine-, the early ehm nineteen-hundreds? And then the thing I was looking at yesterday was Jamieson's dictionary.
M741 Right, yeah.
M605 Right? And, the introduction to Jamieson's dictionary, and ehm a guy put me on to this at a conference,
M741 Mmhm
M605 Ehm, the introduction to Jamie-, cause it's into [inaudible] I'm not really a linguist, but I end up, you know, cause of the questions I ask kind of going down these kind of //routes,//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 and you're not goin to ask a lot of advice off linguists, //you know,//
M741 //Right.//
M605 But, Ja-, the introduction to Jamieson's dictionary, ehm, all it is is it's a racial tract saying that ehm the Lowland Scots are descended from the Picts,
M741 Uh-huh
M605 the Picts ehm are a Germanic people
M741 Mmhm
M605 who came to Scotland and this, you know, the the Northern part of this //island, which you know//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 [inaudible] in what's now Scotland, from, ehm, you know, Northern Germanic Europe,
M741 Mmhm
M605 ehm, in that they were different people from the Anglo-Saxons, they spoke a Germanic language, and the language that Lowland Scots speak today is a d- direct descendant of the language that their Germanic ancestors spoke when they first came to, ehm, when they first came to this island. //Right?//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 So what they're basically saying is that, ehm, he spends, whole thing, it's called "dissertation on the origins of the Scottish language" //And//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 wh- all it is is a big tract ehm trying to completely dissociate the Lowland Scots from any Celtic provenance
M741 Right.
M605 at all. Instead of saying "the Picts", this is eighteen hundred or something, //instead of//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 sayin "the Picts, we don't really know much about them",
M741 Mmhm
M605 we know that the language that the people in this part of Scotland speak, is some form of Germanic speech,
M741 Mmhm
M605 with various influences. //Right?//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 We know that. Ehm, where we came from ethnically, we don't really know.
M741 Yeah.
M605 Instead of saying that, he goes out of his way to say, whoever they are, they're certainly not Celtic.
M741 Mmhm
M605 Right, so there's a whole kind of. And that's what forms the introduction to his dictionary.
M741 Yeah.
M605 That that that is the introduction, there's no kind of. //It's almost like the//
M741 //Mm//
M605 the the, you know, the impetus for Jamieson writing his dictionary i-i- is is is influenced by this kind of whole ehm racial politics, //you know,//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 which obviously has got implications for the relationship between Highlands and Lowlands, //the relationship//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 between Scotland and Empire,
M741 Yeah.
M605 you know, ehm where are you in the imperial kind of //context?//
M741 //Ah//
M605 Are you, are you powerful or are you disempowered?
M741 Yeah. //Oh, that sounds quite//
M605 //So I keep, I keep// digging up and digging up and digging up //and then I'll//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 I'll hopefully finish it and then everyone can go "Rubbish!" //[laugh]//
M741 //[laugh] No, no it sounds// quite, sounds quite interesting, like, it definitely wasn't anything like I don't know whether it would, like, just goin by what you said, whether it would be a main factor in in the kind of revival or whether it was kind of contributory //factor, but it is interestin to see why//
M605 //[inaudible] [?]different talking[/?], yeah.//
M741 like you say a big revival and a kinna cultural, cultural revolution, in s- some kind of way, happened two hundred years after, you know, we kind of get get taken over by England.
M605 I mean I'm I'm lookin at a specific number o //writers.//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 And, it's definitely like ehm I'm not really talkin about spoken Scots. I'm just talkin about the the kind of academic an an literary //movements//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 of the period, rather than a kinna more broad-based popular,
M741 Right.
M605 ehm, and certain people, like Hugh MacDiarmid gets exonerated, I don't, and one of the things I'm tryin to do is to say that like ehm, is to s- is to get rid of this idea that authenticity's a good thing. I wanna forget authenticity.
M741 Right.
M605 I wanna say, what is artificial is good, cause that's freedom. //Do you know what I mean, I I want to get a- get away//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 from this idea of authenticity, cause I don't think authenticity is achievable. I think it's a pretence, whenever you claim to be authentic in writing. I think there's a I think there's a bit of //pretension goin on there.//
M741 //I don't know, I// I think it's, I think it's probably more pretentious to be artificial,
M605 Right.
M741 in a lot of ways, and what what MacDiarmid did, admirable as it m- kinna was, I think was academic ag- arrogance, //in a lot//
M605 //Right.//
M741 o ways, and that, for that reason, I don't I don't really like MacDiarmid, but I think he he went sort of deliberately out of his way to be really obtuse.
M605 In places he certainly did, //yeah.//
M741 //Er,// An I, ehm, what's the point, like, he he even says, you know, that he wants his poetry to be read by, you know, the kind of average Joe in the street.
M605 Hokum, you know, //I mean.//
M741 //But that's// that, that's not the language that the average Joe in the street sh- street uses, I mean a [inaudible], c- you just, you know. It's not, it's not the language that normal people use an from a linguistic point of view like I had I had really big problems with MacDiarmid, like really big problems. ah, some of his stuff, his English stuff is r- is really interesting and his Scottish stuff is is interesting from a linguistic point of view, but not for the reasons that it's, you know, New Scots, it's I, this whole plastic Scots is eh really //strikes a chord with me//
M605 //Mmhm//
M741 I think it's, I think it's he w- really pretentious, arrogant that, to think that he would single-handedly make the Scots language new an accessible to everyone. But I just think that he'd do, he went [?]right[/?] about it completely the wrong way.
M605 I think he's often ehm given too much, he's o- too much weight is placed upon him in terms //of what he's//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 expected to have achieved.
M741 Yeah.
M605 Ehm, because on the one hand MacDiarmid undoubtedly is interested in, ehm you know, //the Scots language//
M741 //[sniff]//
M605 in a social way. //And he's interested//
M741 //Yep.//
M605 also in Gaelic, and he's interested //in these things, you know?//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 But on the other hand, he's a he's a deep in the dye modernist poet,
M741 Yeah.
M605 in the same, you know, like ehm T S Eliot,
M741 Mmhm
M605 in a different way. ehm and not like T S Eliot in lots of ways, but a- or like, you know he's he's got big admiration for James Joyce,
M741 Mmhm
M605 you know ehm, so on the one hand he's got his politics,
M741 Yeah.
M605 but he's also got his ehm, he's also got his artistic //ambitions.//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 And it's funny that, MacDiarmid kind of said something like well, cause you know he kind of moved away from Scots later in his career?
M741 Yep.
M605 And and he he almost says "well I can't do this on my own,"
M741 Yeah.
M605 Right? //A- and it's almost as if he says//
M741 //I think that way//
M605 "I I wish that ehm Scots language would be ehm, you know, higher." Cause he's so socialist after all //so//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 we'd be better considered and we'd have a a better place in the community, //you know?//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 But, I'm not necessarily goin to do that myself.
M741 Yeah.
M605 I've also got a a vocation to be a modernist poet, and to, and one of the problems when we look at MacDiarmid, is that, first of all, his own pronouncements //are often//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 qu- I think quite unhelpful in terms of reading his poetry.
M741 Yeah.
M605 but he's b- he's almost like he's he's being judged according to a criteria that he would never have seriously tried to achieve on his own, if you know what I mean.
M741 Yeah. I don't know, like.
M605 Because that's why like a lot of the early MacDiarmid,
M741 Uh-huh
M605 when I write in Scots, like, in prose,
M741 Mmhm
M605 I wouldn't write in that fashion because
M741 Mm
M605 I'm not tryin to achieve the effects that he's tryin to achieve in "the Bonnie Bruikit Bairn" or //the "Watergaw",//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 you know, cause it's just different kinna
M741 Yeah, I think //like//
M605 //purposes, you know?//
M741 the whole, I don't, you can't you can't create a language; it's just not the way that the //language//
M605 //Language works.//
M741 language works. It's it's a it's a dynamic, kinna, self-monitoring system, an i- and you can't, you can't change a single you can change a thing [inaudible], exactly like you were sayin there. Um but from what I can understand that, maybe earlier on in his career, he felt as if he was good enough to be able to do that. //Ehm//
M605 //Yeah.//
M741 to be able to single-handedly change it, and I d- I don't know. It's a shame that he never achieved, but this whole lack of standardisation, and he was using words from kinna all over the place, er you know, from right up the top of Scotland, right down in //the Borders,//
M605 //Yeah.//
M741 just kinna all over the place, [?]tried usin[/?] old dictionaries and stuff like that. Ehm, I think, if it had been a bit more standardised, and they've done, they've tried to do that, but I don't think that in my, in our lifetimes, I think Scots is probably gonna go down, rather than than than up.
M605 Yes, there's seems to be quite a a mixed situation in terms of across the, the different schools, there are certain schools where //it's [?]probably[/?]//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 very [inaudible] the poet they've got cause, I don't know how poets are really the people to look for for this sort of thing but I think the poet that g- that that writes in the most kind of ehm [exhale] sort of standard kind of //form is//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 probably Robert Garioch.
M741 [Tut], right. I'm not read any of his, well I think I've read a few, maybe, aye, bits and pieces of it. But, I think it's gottae, it's gotta come from the media. I think, once it gets accepted in in media, and it starts getting disseminated to a larger, //larger crowd,//
M605 //Mmhm, yeah.//
M741 er, and then education as well, I think media and education are the two main sort o bastions of of getting the kinna Scots //language, [inaudible].//
M605 //I mean I think that like// that there's a lot of nonsense that's talked about with regard to kind of linguistic fascism in terms of the people who say ehm "don't try an standardise Scots", ehm, because you know that's just linguistic fascism,
M741 Yeah. //you see that's//
M605 //and it's [inaudible].//
M741 exactly what happened with Standard English though, I mean, //all these dialects//
M605 //and a lot of linguistic//
M741 goin round about, and they went, "no this is the one that's got the most currency, we'll just use this one," //and then//
M605 //Aye.// //[inaudible]//
M741 //by a process// of media, I mean it was all printed books and stuff like that, that it became, //more standardised.//
M605 //But I mean the the f-// I I couldnae say, well, it's just like technology, you know like, ehm, I I would be the last person to try and make speech in the country less diverse than it //is.//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 But I mean this isn't ehm Tiananmen Square here, //you know?//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 It's not like we're gonna have people goin round with, like, tape recorders listening, //to people,//
M741 //Yeah, yeah.//
M605 saying, "fa" instead of "wha", you know?
M741 Yeah. //I think it'll, I think th-//
M605 //It's not gonna happen.//
M741 they only need to have a really a written standard. I don't think //they've gotta//
M605 //No.//
M741 have a a a s- obviously you can't have a spoken standard but I think if they get a written standard, then their, you know, the battle's kind of half won. But that's the thing, you look at the S- like the the SND, you've got so many different spellings for so many different things. I mean do you spell "faa" without an 'a', with an apostrophe, with a 'w'? I mean, wh- how how do you spell it?
M605 I mean th- I think the most positive way I can find o thinkin about ehm standard written Scots is just to say, it would be useful to have a standard form available. //Right?//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 Now, you don't have to use it.
M741 Yeah.
M605 But it's the one that we're gonna teach in schools.
M741 Yeah.
M605 Right? That's all I'm gonna say, and Tom Leonard's not gonna use it, and Irvine Welsh is not gonna use it, but why the Hell would they?
M741 Yeah.
M605 You know, th-th-th-th- they don't need to. //It's not their//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 that's not their purpose, //you know,//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 that's not why they're tryin to do. //Ehm,//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 and, y- no-one's gonna go round telling an adult how to write letters. No-one's gonna go round telling an adult what to do when he writes a letter to //the newspaper.//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 You know? But when you're gonna teach kids, then you've gotta have
M741 You've gotta //have one, you've gotta//
M605 //But it's ju- but it's just, it's just// it's just technology, it's just like, the a a technological //tool, you pick a system//
M741 //you pick a system and eh,//
M605 but it but it's not like you're trying to say "do this" and "don't do that". //It's just that//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 if you don't give teachers some kinna resource, //then//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 they're gonna go, [inaudible] how did, how much time did you waste, tryin to
M741 Yeah, yeah, definitely, I mean I think when I was writing ma stuff, it was it was a case of what I felt w- was Scottish, and then if I wanted to go and get a Scottish word or wh-, you know, look up the SND and try and get a translation, but I never, like I remember havin this conversation with you last time, like I never ever wrote straight off in Scots. //I//
M605 //Mm//
M741 just, ma mind just wasn't, i- isn't wired for it now. Eh, I wrote in English and then //translated.//
M605 //Mmhm//
M741 I, which I said, I I think you kind of lose a lot of the er //the the, yeah, the kind of nuances of it, yeah.//
M605 //Idiomatic kind of ehm syntax and, yeah.// Yeah.
M741 But, that's the only way I could do it, because when I was growin up an gettin taught, it was Standard English, Standard //English, Standard English.//
M605 //Yeah.//
M741 See when I'm writing now, I've gotta think in Standard English, lo- there's no way that I I can do anything else.
M605 See I think my English flows better having written in Scots, because I think more about //flowing//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 spoken English now.
M741 Yeah.
M605 Ehm, but with that, I mean I didn't write in a Standard form
M741 Mmhm
M605 or anything, like I definitely marked out my writing as I sa-, I used "whae" //W-H-//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 A-E.
M741 Right.
M605 And I used "yin",
M741 Right.
M605 and I used ehm certain other forms which were definitely kind of, just like when I had to choose choose between a form, like I would never say, ehm I couldn't use "whaur", cause it's "where", //where I come from,//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 Right? I wouldn't use ehm "brack", I'd use "breck", //you know like//
M741 //Right.//
M605 "time for yer breck."
M741 Yeah.
M605 Yeah?
M741 Wher- where are you from again?
M605 E- East Lothian.
M741 Right.
M605 Although I've lost ma accent completely. //But I definitely//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 marked it all out as, in in these forms.
M741 Mmhm
M605 Ehm, but I mean, th-, it's not, it's not all the huge amounts of kind of phonological difference, //more than you can//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 cope with. I mean, if you're gonna use something like "awa".
M741 Mmhm
M605 Right? In my dialect that's pronounced "away".
M741 Yeah, aye, see I would never say "awa". I would always say "away".
M605 But the broadest Scots speakers //would in//
M741 //Aye, would say "awa", aye.//
M605 in, but where I come from the broadest Scots speakers would say "away".
M741 Right. Right.
M605 Because it's like it's almost like Tyneside.
M741 Uh-huh
M605 Right? An an as far as I understand it, like like it's it's not "twa" it's "twae".
M741 Right. [yawn]
M605 It's ehm, it's "away", //in the same//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 the same vowel.
M741 Yep.
M605 And it's not "wha" it's "whae" as well. It's always like where, it's kind of like Central Scots has the "aw".
M741 Mmhm They //have "a".//
M605 //South-East Scots// is kind of an "a" //sound, right?//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 In, but if I read like a book and it says "awa" I'll just pronounce it "away",
M741 Mmhm
M605 because that's my dialect an //it doesn't bother me. You don't need//
M741 //I found, yeah.//
M605 to overspell, you don't need to spell everything out.
M741 Yeah.
M605 If we did that would be usin the IPA,
M741 Yeah.
M605 and no-one does that. //You don't need to represent//
M741 //Yeah, you're right.//
M605 everything in
M741 Yeah.
M605 you know?
M741 I don't know, I th- I think it will be interestin to see, cause I know there is, there are current-, an awful lot of initiatives goin on just now in schools, and stuff //like that, to get.//
M605 //John's quite involved, isn't he?//
M741 Yeah, yeah, they're doin a, I think it's himself and Jeremy, I'm not sure. a- are doin a a a reader of Scots grammar. There's maybe John and Simon. I can't remember, it's one of //them.//
M605 //Simon// Horobin?
M741 Yeah. //I//
M605 //Right.//
M741 I I'm not sure who it is though. But they're doin a a Scots grammar. //Eh, cause. Yeah.//
M605 //With schools in mind, or?//
M741 Yeah, //and they//
M605 //Right.//
M741 were involved in eh, i- setting up the exam questions an stuff like that, I'm sure as well, for the //SQA.//
M605 //Right.//
M741 Ehm. But th- they they've been an awful lot involved and obviously John's written, you know, a book on on Scottish grammar, Scottish, and Scottish literature
M605 Oh, aye, "Language and Scottish //Literature", yeah, yep.//
M741 //Yep.// Ehm, as well, so they're all, they're all really involved in it, but. Er, I don't think, it's not got, it s- it can't come from from universities, it's got- it's gotta come from primary schools, it's gotta it's gotta start, like you say, one to ten in English and in Scots, it's it's gotta come from, it's gotta start there, I think. Er, and then just pick a system an an they they stick to it. And I know like talking to John an Jeremy and stuff like that, that all these kinna Scottish language meetings and stuff like that, it gets quite animated, you know, how how do you spell "faa"? You know, like, a- and people get really emotional about it, and then it always comes down, you know, they say, they spell it like this in Lothian, they spell it like this in Borders, they spell it like this in the Highlands. That's all well and good, let them spell it like that, where the- when they want to, but there's there's gotta be there's //gotta be a standard, there's gotta be some sort o//
M605 //Some kind of resource for teachers.// The other thing is that when I'm writing, I'm thinking, well, I'm tryin to keep an eye open and say, I don't, if I'm being like completely selfish, I might not like the look of that on the page,
M741 Aye.
M605 but what is the current trend?
M741 Yep.
M605 What is the current trend? And ehm, cause one of the things about spelling is that you want people to be able to just read very quickly,
M741 Yeah. //Which I find really difficult, yeah.//
M605 //And reco-, recognition.//
M741 Cause when I was reading Welsh, Irvine Welsh, er, I couldn't, like, you had to kinna either read it out loud, or spend a lot of time readin it.
M605 Yeah.
M741 Er, and ma friend, Emma, she she can't read, she couldn't read it at all. Cause she grew up, it was all Standard English, and she's quite middle class and all the rest of it. Ehm, but w- she couldn't read Irvine Welsh at all. She just couldn't get a hold of the, what she was seein on the page.
M605 I mean I think with someone like Irvine Welsh, you'd probably say, "go fuck yourself".
M741 Yeah.
M605 But, cause, I think th- in in the context of some of this writing, there's a certain element of trying to challenge you.
M741 Yeah. //Yeah.//
M605 //And from a// literary and political perspective, you can see, like with Leonard, for //instance,//
M741 //Yep.//
M605 You know?
M741 Yeah, yeah, //definitely.//
M605 //"If you dinnae understaun// what I'm daein, just get the fuck oot ma road."
M741 Aye, aye. //Yep, yeah.//
M605 //Or something like that, kind of, Leonard says.// Ehm to totally [?]balderdise[/?] and [laugh] paraphrase Tom Leonard, //but//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 in that context, it's like, the difficulty might be part of the, part of the game.
M741 Mmhm
M605 Yeah.
M741 But, I don't know, we'll wait, I think we'll wait and see what happens, and hopefully, you know, over the next sort of five, ten years or so there'll be //actually movements.//
M605 //It's it's it's about// i-i- it's about, like, political will, to be honest, it's about, I don't mean political will in a top-down way from Holyrood. //I mean//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 political will in a, do the people want to do it.
M741 Yeah. I don't know, I don't think they do, cause I think there's so many, so much negative feelin about about //Scots,//
M605 //I think it// varies a lot //regionally.//
M741 //Eh// yeah, I mean, the- the- it all comes back to this whole urban-rural thing. You go up to say Aberdeenshire, you know, up there, Scots is, Scots is good. You come down to Glasgow, Scots is is //bad.//
M605 //But also in Aberdeen// city, Scots is good.
M741 Yeah, yeah. //I don't know I//
M605 //Yeah.//
M741 think that's a lot, I mean, even though it's still quite, it's still far, it's still North, and it's still quite in a sort of rural, secluded sort of area. Whereas I think, you know, G- Glasgow is, it's right in the Central Belt, it's it's really industrialised, a lot round about it, whereas kinna Aberdeen's just kinna //"doomph",//
M605 //Yeah.// //I think it almost goes like the further south you go,//
M741 //there and a lot round about it.//
M605 like this it gets less //prestigious.//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 So that in Dundee city, you're starting to change, like what, between Aberdeen and Dundee, you're startin to get less //sympathetic,//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 till in Edinburgh which has got huge amounts of traditional Scots features in it, //which//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 Glasgow has, I won't say lots, Glasgow Scots has developed in a different way, //you know?//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 Ehm and then Edinburgh, Edinburgh Scots I'm I'm, I imagine is more traditional; //it's not developed.//
M741 //Mm//
M605 It's more conservative than Glaswegian Scots is, //perhaps. Right?//
M741 //Yeah. I don't// I don't know, I //I'm not really, I've never//
M605 //[inaudible] sayin, [inaudible]//
M741 Never really looked at Edinburgh, er, //Scots.//
M605 //I mean, just from a// from a vocabulary point of //view, like//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 The verb "ken" is still used in Edinburgh, all the time,
M741 Right.
M605 whereas in Glasgow, it's not really heard much now.
M741 Um
M605 Or do you hear it a lot in, when, in your studies?
M741 I still use "ken". //Um//
M605 //I think it's heard in Lanarkshire and Ayr-, it's// definitely heard in //Ayrshire.//
M741 //Yeah.// //But I don't know,//
M605 //But I think actually in Glasgow// //itself, in the city of Glasgow,//
M741 //yeah, cause I've// not really heard all that many like recordings and stuff like that, of of the kids, er, of like the informants actually talkin, er, cause a lot of the Scots, like, a lot of the media work that's bein done just now is all on schoolkids. //Er, so//
M605 //Yeah.//
M741 there's like a whole //range of er,//
M605 //Well that's in s-//
M741 recordins, cause they're all the ones who, who, well, I mean, we're not lookin, they're not looking at it, er, you know, "how Scottish is Glaswegian?" they're lookin at, you know, "how's language changin?" //"How's the Scots//
M605 //Mmhm, yeah.//
M741 language changin in Glas- in in Glasgow? Ehm, but I don't know how, how Scottish it is, and that's one of the things I'm kinna lookin at, //I suppose, as well.//
M605 //Yeah, I mean i-i-// i-i- it's kind of a loaded question, but I think, it's fa- just like as a, as a lay-person, ehm ma perception is that Edinburgh's kind of a more conservative //form of Scots than//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 Glasgow is, or has been,
M741 Yeah.
M605 in certain //ways.//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 Just anecdotally, just that there's certain things which have survived
M741 Mmhm
M605 ehm or have not mo- changed as fast,
M741 Yeah.
M605 in Edinburgh. Like, you still hear a lot of "whae", where you don't really hear "wha" much in the c- the centre of Glasgow.
M741 Yeah, I think //there's a//
M605 //You know?//
M741 a, I think there's like different like obviously different pressures, and stuff like that, that's happened in Glasgow that's maybe not happened in Edinburgh. //Er//
M605 //Yeah, of course.// And I think like that immigration's part of that. //But,//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 I mean, one of the reasons that I'm quite agitated by this research that I'm doin, is that why is immigration necessarily a bad thing, you know? //And there's a//
M741 //Yeah.// //I don't think//
M605 //you know I hate that.//
M741 it's viewed, well, not in Glasgow, well, I don't know.
M605 I think it depends where you are.
M741 Yeah. See, this is the thing, like, I think there is definitely divided in opinion whether immigration is good or bad. You get all these like kinna reactionary people "Oh yeah," you know, "immigration's really bad", an from a sort of economic point of view, that's I think the- they're focussing on that, but I think in in Glasgow, like, the the numbers of immi- like the numbers o immigrants that we actually get, from a linguistic point of view it's like, obviously kind of reinvigoratin Glaswegian, I suppose, but.
M605 I mean I stay in Govanhill now.
M741 Right.
M605 I moved down the southside, and that's kind of an area kind of //which has had a//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 a history of immigr- immigration //in the last kinna//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 couple o hundred years. And so it's very interestin //listenin to people.//
M741 //Yeah.// //I think it's quite an//
M605 //[inaudible]//
M741 uncomfortable area to be lookin at though, cause I think it has like the potential to be quite racist in its kinna orientation, when you start like lookin at immigration from like, I don't know. Do you see what I'm sayin? It's //like//
M605 //What, as an o-// as an area of study?
M741 Yeah.
M605 I mean the motivation behind my study is kind of a, is very politically sort of a, ehm, there are people who are disguising in the nineteen-twenties and thirties, //ehm//
M741 //Mmhm// //Concern for, yeah.//
M605 //And some of them aren't even disguising it, ehm.// //A kind of//
M741 //[inaudible]//
M605 antiquarian Scottish concern. And what they're doin is they're actually usin that to disguise ehm //absolute racialist kind of//
M741 //A kind of rac- racial, yeah.//
M605 politics, //which which//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 I want to kind of expose //in that sort of way, you know, that's kind of a mo- that's//
M741 //Yeah, I think that, that, I think that's what I'm saying. It's like//
M605 that's the motive behind what I'm doin.
M741 Yeah.
M605 It's kind of just to say, well, actually, you know,
M741 Ye- they're basically racists?
M605 Well not all of them, not not I I mean I don't want to be, be, kind of cause I'm you don't want to get right down into talkin about authors all the //time but//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 there are implications to what is bein done //here, there are//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 political implications to these artistic //choices, and//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 and there's a political context in which this has arisen. //And if we're gonna//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 talk meaningfully about early twentieth-century Scottish culture,
M741 Mmhm
M605 we just can't do it outwith the context of changes in society at the time, and //how that's affec-.//
M741 //Aye, yeah, yeah.//
M605 You know? And that's, I, you know, I'm not int- I don't want people to be sayin, "For some reason in the nineteen-twenties there's a renewed interest in the Scots language, and they were all good left-wing people." //[laugh] Because they weren't.//
M741 //Yeah, [laugh].// //Yeah, yeah, no I d-//
M605 //You know? Some of them were.//
M741 That is, I think that's exactly why I would be quite uncomfortable like kinna lookin at it. Eh, from like that, ye- because I think it would be quite disturbing to find that there actually, that's that's what the reality was. //Er//
M605 //But no, I don't mean, I'm not sayin it's// for all people. I don't think it was hugely important to MacDiarmid, for instance.
M741 Yeah, yeah.
M605 Ehm I don't think it, necessarily made a great deal of difference in a lot of //contexts.//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 Ehm, but I certainly think it was part of the the prevailing climate.
M741 Yeah, yeah, definitely.
M605 Which I think is a bit more interesting than just saying "everybody who wrote in Scots, nineteen-twenties, was a socialist". Well they werenae.
M741 Yeah. //Aye, yeah, definitely.//
M605 //[laugh]// You know?
M741 I I don't know how, it would be interestin to see, cause you don't really get a lot of things just now on on writing and immigration. I don't think it's, it's a, it's a big, it's a big deal, just //now.//
M605 //I don't think it's// a big deal in Scotland //anyway,//
M741 //But.// //See I think that's a//
M605 //for whatever reason.//
M741 like you get, you've you've got the two camps, like people who do think it's a problem and people who don't think it's a problem. I don't, I I'm //one of the, I don't think//
M605 //Mmhm, yeah.//
M741 it is a problem, but, it would be interestin to see maybe in fifty years or so, a hundred years or so, people lookin back and seein if there's the same kind of correlations that that you're kind of lookin at in the sort of early nineteen //hundreds.//
M605 //I think it actually// affects, like, if you look at ehm see if you compare the writing, it's something to do with like rural Scots and urban Scots, //right?//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 But see if, and I'm not gonna mention anybody in the other camp because I don't know if there's a really big repsen- representative of it, //And I've not//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 worked very much on contemporary Scots language poetry [inaudible], kind of Lallans movement //poetry.//
M741 //Yep.//
M605 Ehm, but if you look at, like, Irvine Welsh, Tom Leonard, James Kelman,
M741 Mmhm
M605 I don't know if you've come across Suhayl Saadi?
M741 No. //No.//
M605 //Right.// Glasgow writer, and his first novel, "Psychoraag" is set in an around Pollokshields.
M741 Oh, right, cool.
M605 Right? Glasgow Asian writer. An an that is kind of important to the language he uses.
M741 Mmhm
M605 you know, the whole kind of, there is a lot of, he, he uses a lot of Urdu in his //in his Scots.//
M741 //Yeah, yeah.//
M605 Ehm, how naturalistically, I don't know, and I'm not sure that he would necessarily be bothered by naturalism. //It's just kind of a kind of a thing.//
M741 //Yeah, yeah, his.//
M605 But if you look at this whole, you know, explosion in urban Scots writing in the nineteen-nineties, you know, from Kelman through Irvine Welsh, and //now Suhayl Saadi,//
M741 //[yawn] Yep.//
M605 then, and then of course it's got its precedents beforehand
M741 Yeah.
M605 and you look at these group o writers, ehm and you start to think, well, why are, you know, why is, is there a division between like a Lallans group of writers and
M741 Mm
M605 and er, and these kind of urban writers, and what's //what is the//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 difference, what is the? Why wouldn't Irvine Welsh adopt these kinna strategies?
M741 Mmhm
M605 Part of the dif- difference is obviously poetry and prose,
M741 Yeah.
M605 because there's not been a huge amount of Lallans prose,
M741 Yeah, no, yeah, //I know what you mean.//
M605 //But// "But n Ben A-Go-Go" is er A rare a rare kind of exa- ehm
M741 [Tut] I think I've heard of, I think I've heard of him but I've not read it.
M605 It's eh, like, cause it's a science fiction, then, he he gets //round the whole thing cause he says well "it's//
M741 //Yeah, yeah, yeah, I've f-//
M605 it's it's a futuristic world, I //can,//
M741 //Yep.//
M605 they can speak wh-" - science fiction always does that, //always creates//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 new languages for itself, doesn't it? //You know?//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 Ehm, I think it's like it's part of [?]reason[/?] is poetry and prose but part of it's also rural-urban and it's //it's what's kinna//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 going on with.
M741 Yeah, see I think that's like, that's definitely one of the things like Tom Leonard does, that urban Scots is just as intrinsically valuable as as rural Scots is.
M605 Mmhm
M741 Er, and he made, I think he's actually one of the poets who's really good at this whole dicom- the, sorry, dichotomy between language and literature. He kind of brings them together really really effectively. Er //which is, oh aye, he he//
M605 //He's very intellectual, very high-brow in his//
M741 he's really really good, like, I think some of his stuff's fantastic. Um
M605 Very crisp, in what //it's in it's//
M741 //Yeah.// //[inaudible] yeah.//
M605 //perceptiveness and//
M741 cause he he he he notices things that I think everyone notices, but no-one says anythin about.
M605 Mmhm
M741 He's like, you know, things like the nine o'clock news. An the the chap drinkin beer and listenin to the classical music and stuff like that. I- it probably all happens but no-one ever talks about it. //An,//
M605 //Tom Leonard is// where I got the thing about the Scottish National Dictionary.
M741 Right.
M605 Because he says, you know, ma language is sacred. //Well, it's no ma la-//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 [inaudible] that's the end line, but the fi- first line is ehm "Ma language is disgraceful." //You know? [inaudible] "Ma weans tellt//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 an ma wife tellt me, it goes down down down." And one of the lines is "Even the introduction tae the Scottish National Dictionary telt me".
M741 Right. //Aye.//
M605 //Right?// And at that point I say "Aye-up, what's goin on here?"
M741 Aye, yeah, yep.
M605 And the other thing is it's like, is it impertinent to say well, Tom Leonard's a a a Scottish Catholic? Is that impertinent? //Now, an if you lo-//
M741 //Mm//
M605 if you go to American literary studies, //right?//
M741 //Uh-huh//
M605 People are doin this kind of stuff all the time.
M741 Uh-huh
M605 They're sayin, well we've got like particular concerns from people in different kind of communities //religious,//
M741 //Mm//
M605 ethnic, whatever kind of communities, you know? whereas Tom Leonard, and he's he's often talked about as the Glaswegian champion, you know?
M741 Mmhm
M605 has this line, even the introduction to the Scottish National Dictionary tellin me
M741 Mmhm
M605 And when you follow the reference, the reference is, ehm "owing to the influx of Irish and other el- immigrants,"
M741 "[inaudible] Glasgow //dialect's hopelessly corrupt."//
M605 //Glasgow, yeah, right,// and that's it. //And that's//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 an an an Tom Leonard, I mean, we know that Leonard has, has, comes from like, you know, a Catholic community, //He's got an//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 Irish surname, I mean. //An an don't you just//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 start to think, well //wh-wh-//
M741 //[?]With all the links.[/?]//
M605 What is, what is he sayin? //What is he sayin?//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 Is he talkin about, "I'm bein excluded because I'm Glaswegian"?
M741 Mmhm
M605 Or is he sayin //that and somethin else?//
M741 //Because I'm, yeah.// //Because of his heritage.//
M605 //And there's a certain kind of don't// don't mention, don't mention sectarianism, //you know like//
M741 //Yeah.//
M605 and Scottish Nationalists are terrible for this as well, because, like ehm like I mean I'm workin a bit on kind of, like, I I don't think sectarianism is the right word,
M741 Right.
M605 cause I think there's anti-Catholicism, and there's anti-Irishness, and they don't always coincide.
M741 Mmhm
M605 You know? Ehm, and that's just one side of the thing, //you know?//
M741 //Mmhm//
M605 I don't think sectarian is quite the right word, but I'm workin on these kind of questions quite a lot.
M741 Aye.
M605 Ehm, [CENSORED: utterance]
M741 Yeah, we're quite happy here.

This work is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

The SCOTS Project and the University of Glasgow do not necessarily endorse, support or recommend the views expressed in this document.


Cite this Document

APA Style:

Conversation 13: Two male postgraduate students on academic life. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 June 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Conversation 13: Two male postgraduate students on academic life." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 25 June 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Conversation 13: Two male postgraduate students on academic life," accessed 25 June 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 799

Conversation 13: Two male postgraduate students on academic life


Audio audience

Adults (18+)
For gender Males
Audience size 2

Audio awareness & spontaneity

Speaker awareness Aware
Degree of spontaneity Spontaneous

Audio footage information

Year of recording 2005
Recording person id 631
Size (min) 64
Size (mb) 308

Audio setting

Recording venue Lecturer's office
Geographic location of speech Glasgow

Audio relationship between recorder/interviewer and speakers

Speakers knew each other Yes

Audio speaker relationships

Members of the same group e.g. schoolmates
Other Both postgraduate students in SESLL

Audio transcription information

Transcriber id 718
Year of transcription 2005
Year material recorded 2005
Word count 14078

Audio type



Participant details

Participant id 605


Participant details

Participant id 741
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1980
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Occupation Student
Place of birth Lanark
Region of birth Lanark
Birthplace CSD dialect area Lnk
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Glasgow
Region of residence Glasgow
Residence CSD dialect area Gsw
Country of residence Scotland
Father's place of birth Lanark
Father's region of birth Lanark
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Lnk
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's place of birth Wishaw
Mother's region of birth Lanark
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Lnk
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes