Talk:Early Scots

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Is it indistinguishable or different?[edit]

Some deranged academics seem to think that Northern and Southern Middle English texts were distinguishable. Perhaps they have overseen the obvious fact that they all used a Latin script, which to be fair, renders them indistinguishable. How those academecs find differences in indistinguishable texts, does of course remain a mystery. Unsurprisingly, being academics they've probably lost the plot.

  • This poor soul is of the opinion that there was no Standard and dialect differences between north and south.
  • Towards a History of Northern English: Early and Late Northumbrian. This paper is part of an ongoing research project which aims at elaborating a grammar of northern varieties of English based on a corpus of texts ranging from the first written records to the present day and belonging to various text-types.
  • Here Southern and Northern dialects are differentiated.
  • This paper reports the discovery of a syntactic dialect difference between northern and southern

Middle English... 11:44, 9 July 2006 (UTC)

Not being knowledgeable enough I wasn't sure how to deal with the following so left this:
"Apparently such writing was orthographically indistinguishable from contemporary writing from elsewhere in Britain except for the usual differences between Northern and Southern Middle English such as:"
That, of course, seems to contradict itself; if indistinguishable from contemporary writing from elsewhere in Britain why are some of the differences between Northern and Southern Middle English listed? Either it is indistinguishable or differs it can't be both. Perhaps the finer detail would be better placed in an article Northern Middle English, adding it to Middle English would perhaps overburden an otherwise excellent article. Until I can find out more I will leave that to those more knowledgeable than myself.
Nogger 19:07, 28 July 2006 (UTC)


Ignoring the fact that the topic of the article is a spurious modern construct, and has nothing to do with the history of the era, I'm afraid this article, especially the historical section, is still way below par. Statements like "Through Margaret's influence the Gaelic aristocracy merged with that of the new Anglo-Norman feudal landowners." What does Margaret have to do with Anglo-Norman feudal landowners? Nothing! See also "Feudalism facillitated the spread of the language through its social structures such as the burghs established by David I, mostly in the south and east of Scotland." Feudalism is a system of military culture, and has nothing to do with burghs. And as it had nothing to do with burghs, and as incoming "feudal knights" did not begin to come and settle in Scotland south of the Forth until the reign of David I - and Scotland north of the Forth until William I and Alexander II, and as French was their language and not English, the relationship between Feudalism and English is spurious, and the relation of both to Margaret is just silly. If that weren't enough, I notice the interesting spelling "The monastries". Is this "early Scots"? :P Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 23:30, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

OK, I had intended just to leave it to someone else, but I went and cleaned up most of the most serious garbage in the article. Hence I removed the tag. Calgacus (ΚΑΛΓΑΚΟΣ) 00:29, 21 July 2006 (UTC) BTW, where does this fascination for the word "Anglic" come from? I hope everyone knows that this is just a (rather unhelpful and misleading) Latinate word for English. I notice some Scottish historical writers use the similar word "Anglian" to refer to English people and the English language, which is weird because these writers never call Gaelic Hibernic/Hibernian or Scottic/Scotian, or Old Norse Normannic/Normannian or Danic/Danian, nor do they call Norman French Frankic/Frankian. Curious one.

It certainly is that! Just like "Middle" English! I mean, we cant use terms you object to that werent used by the speakers. That would be plain spurious! 18:17, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for that. Typos aside, the sources are often good on historical phonology and etymology etc. I suppose linguists ain't social historians. Apparently many of them in Scotland use the spurious modern construct. Nogger 00:41, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Calgacus - DOST is probably the most respected source for the Germanic language spoken in Scotland at this time and it uses the term Early Scots. You may think it is spurious but the leading scholars in the field do not. Unfortunately the DSL site is down as I type this, but if you go on when it's working you can find examples aplently. - Duncan Sneddon —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:45, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Sample text[edit]

The Brus is unquestionably Scottish literature, but was it written in 'Scots'? A direct comparison with Chaucer's Canterbury Tales written about the same time suggests its language is very close indeed to his. The On-line Dictionary of the Scots Language notes " Barbour's Bruce is as old as the poetry of Chaucer, but has a more modern appearance" and "Barbour is more accessible to the modern reader than his contemporary, Chaucer". This seems to suggest that Barbour's writing was if anything MORE English than Chaucer's. Of course it can be reasonably argued that the distincion between Scots and English is and was a rather artificial distinction anyway, not least back in a period when modern conceptions of such distinctions did not yet exist. Meanwhile the sample text shown is from almost exactly the same period as the above. Is it English or 'Scots'? At first glance it looks like a non-English language: but replace the old alphabet letters e.g. thorn, and the unfamiliar archaic medieval spelling and it magically becomes English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:53, 15 October 2012 (UTC)

The introduction seems to be clear enough:
Early Scots describes the emerging literary language of the Northern Middle English speaking parts of Scotland in the period before 1450. The northern forms of Middle English descended from Northumbrian Old English. During this period, speakers referred to the language as "English" (Inglis, Ynglis, and variants).
Early examples such as Barbour’s The Brus and Wyntoun’s Chronicle are better explained as part of Northern Middle English than as isolated forerunners of later Scots, a name first used to describe the language later in the Middle Scots period. (talk) 19:21, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Orthography - did one exist?[edit]

Perhaps I'm being pedantic, but if the word 'orthography' means 'standard spelling' and Early Scots (like MSc) is noteable for having no standard spelling, then is not one of its defining features in fact the very absence of an orthography? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:28, 19 October 2012 (UTC)

a: the art of writing words with the proper letters according to standard usage
b: the representation of the sounds of a language by written or printed symbols
b would seem to apply here. (talk) 19:28, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Colon, list, capitalization, sentence fragment?[edit]

Should this be changed?

Some orthographic features distinguishing Northern Middle English and Early Scots from other regional variants of written Middle English are:
The notable use of the Northern subject rule, which according to one hypothesis, is thought to have arisen through contact with the Celtic languages of Britain during the early medieval period.
"The notable use" (etc.) appears to use a capital T to start a sentence, yet it is not a sentence which follows. Also, it is considered improper to use a colon after the verb "to be" ("are"). I will delete the colon and leave the rest to the author. (PeacePeace (talk) 19:39, 8 June 2016 (UTC))
No reason to make any change. The idea that "it is considered improper to use a colon after the verb "to be" " is not set out in MOS:COLON; colons are regularly used after "to be" in introducing lists. Ghmyrtle (talk) 20:28, 8 June 2016 (UTC)