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The languages of the Scots

Maccoinnich, Aonghas and Pons-Sanz, Sara (2012) The languages of the Scots. In: The Edinburgh Companion to Scottish Literature 1400-1650. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh. ISBN 978-0748643905 (In Press)

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Abstract

This chapter, co-written with Dr Pons-Sanz, will provide the necessary historical and linguistic background to the discussion of the literature. It will have two functions: firstly, to provide a brief linguistic history of Scotland until 1700, with particular emphasis on sociological aspects of language choice and deployment, and the resultant impact on literary survivals; secondly, to outline linguistic features which contribute to literary style, such as the use of rhyme and alliteration, issues of register, and concomitant discussions of syntax, semantic fields, and generic usage. The first section will discuss, briefly, the influences and legacies of other languages in Scotland, including Latin, Middle and Early Modern English, Old Norse and Anglo-Norman, while concentrating on Older Scots and Gaelic; the second will focus mostly on Older Scots and Gaelic.