Tuesday, 3 February 2015

"Madness, yet there is method in't"

DCAL has finally got around to publishing its strategies for Irish and Ulster Scots. The former's cover design is emerald green, while the latter's is royal blue — thus perpetuating unfortunate ethnic stereotypes that can only damage the speech varieties in question. In the case of Ulster Scots, the stereotyping is compounded by the fact that the document also covers "heritage" and "culture", matters likely to be of little interest to the quarter (or, more likely, third) of speakers that is CNR, and that may well alienate them.

It is also interesting, to say the least, that the strategies are being issued in bilingual format. When the drafts were issued for consultation, they were in English only. Many of the submissions made on Ulster Scots, as those familiar with the Northern Ireland situation would expect, lamented the obvious fact that so much of DCAL's translation output is literally incomprehensible to native users of the leid.

Indeed, it's also incomprehensible to the Blether Region, who has spent many years studying Scots, the reason being that the people who promote such parasitic cant — the leading clique of the Ulster-Scots Language Society — live in a world of their own, browbeating and overruling any fig-leaf native speakers whom they "consult" while simultaneously making vexatious complaints against people whose own translation skills are far superior.

It also cultivates political and bureaucratic support by claiming that it is the "representative" organisation for Ulster Scots. The USLS may in fact be representative of British-Israelites or unwitting former MI5 assets, but representative of ordinary speakers it clearly ain't.

Now that the strategy has been issued in its final form, it is bilingual — with the English alongside a totally inept USLS-style translation.

The Blether Region has a modest proposal to make on that front. Anyone rendering an official document in Ulster Scots and being paid for it out of public funds should be required to append their name and e-mail address to the published form of whatever they produce. The stipulation should be made a condition of their getting the work.

Auld Firm colours, ethnic packages, textual diarrhoea — so it goes. Although it is all redolent of some sort of strategy, one does wonder whose, and quite what it is intended to achieve.

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