Middle Scots as an emerging standard and why it did not make it


Joanna Bugaj (Poznañ)


The aim of the present paper is to trace linguistic standardisation on the territory of Scotland. The initial stage of the process can be dated back to the first half of the sixteenth century, when Scots, the then prestigeous national variety stemming from the Old Northumbrian of the Scottish Lowlands, was in its prime and flourished in a range of registers and literary uses. It was used in administration and legal activities (Acts of Parliament, burgh records, court proceedings) as well as in literature, in many different styles and genres. Scots was at that time a potential standard which could have completed all the neccessary criteria, had the political and social circumstances been different. Therefore, in this paper the applicability of Haugen’s criteria for a standard to the sixteenth-century Scots is going to be tested. The discussion of the unfulfilled criteria will concentrate on the reasons for Scots not becoming a “fully-fledged” standard and on the role of English in the displacement of this developing standard in Scotland.




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