Visit Scotland 2014/Rab C. Nesbitt/Dick Emery

I did mention a wee while ago that 2014 is going to be a big year in Scotland, in fact it’s a Homecoming Year as well as being our Independence Referendum year. You can read all about some of the events which will be going on throughout Scotland at the Visit Scotland site.

If you are feeling fraught at the moment what with the stress of the coming season you might like to cheer yourself up with a look at some old Scottish comedy from Rab C. Nesbitt. You can see him having a wee bit of a rant below. Anyone who has trouble understanding David Tennant’s accent might find this interesting!

Just to even things up I’m mentioning an English comedian too as
it has come to my notice that Dick Emery didn’t make it to the US in the way that Benny Hill did. If you want to see some of his sketches have a look below, they’re mostly from the 1970s, my favourite decade, although the first one is the 60s I think. One of his most popular characters was Mandy, who never did master the art of walking in high heels, that’s the one thing I have in common with ‘her’.

The Scots Language.

I heard that Alex Salmond had been talking about the teaching of the Scots language in schools. I think that it is about time that something was done to stop the rot where Scots is concerned. Too many words are being lost to us, and once they are gone – they’re gone.

I know that there is no spare money around at the moment, but I really don’t see why such an initiative should cost much – if anything at all. We don’t need teachers to be sent off on courses or anything expensive. Ten minutes towards the end of each primary school day would be all that was needed to teach children a couple of Scots words or phrases each lesson.

It could be a very informal winding down of each day and the only tools necessary would be an English-Scots dictionary and a black/whiteboard. There’s no need to make a big production number of it as there are so many other things vying for space and time within the school day.

When I was at school, in the west, a good few moons ago, we were all bi-lingual. At school we spoke the Queen’s English to the teachers and then when it was playtime we reverted to Scots.

Some adults used to complain about us speaking slang, but it wasn’t – it was just Scots. Likewise – when we grew up it was natural to speak plain English to people in authority as a matter of courtesy, after all the person that you are speaking to may not speak Scots, and I suppose to show that you could speak good English. However, at home and with friends the less formal Scots was used.

I’m not sure if that practice is carried out in the whole of Scotland as a matter of course though. I well remember being in a bank in Fife and when I asked the bank teller a question – his answer to me was -: Ah dinnae ken, but Ah’ll fund oot fur yee.

I have to say that I was dumfoonert. There is no way that you would get a job in a bank in the west of Scotland if you spoke to customers like that. And although I’m all for the promotion of the Scots language, I still think that there is a time and a place for it.

Even Rab C Nesbit was bi-lingual. There was always a time in each programme when his best English came out – usually when he was incensed about something and just had to let off steam.
As he got angrier, so he became ‘posher’.

I know quite a lot of people that that happens to and it’s always funny to observe, whether it’s Rab C. or yer mammy.