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A keek at Scots lang syne: a brief overview of the historical development of the Scots language

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A keek at Scots lang syne: a brief overview of the historical development of the Scots language
    VI ENNA E NGLISH W ORKING PAPER S V OLUME 17 N UMBER 1 J UNE ,   2008 I NTERNET EDITION AVAILABLE ON : HTTP :// WWW . UNIVIE . AC . AT /A NGLISTIK / VIEWS . HTM   C ONTENTS   L ETTER FROM THE E DITORS ………………………………………………….1  E LISABETH H AIDINGER Scotland and Austria: a critical discussion of language status andperceptions of Scots and Austrian German……………..…………….....3  C HRISTIAN L IEBL   Nothing new in the North? The reflexes of OE ā in Early Middle Englishplace-names.………………………..……………………………………..28  L OTTE S OMMERER Noun phrase typology and the emergence of the definite article:analogy, accommodation and frequency effects….…………………....63 J OHANN W.   U NGER   A keek at Scots lang syne: A brief overview of the historicaldevelopment of the Scots language……………………………………..91 I MPRESSUM ..……………………………………………………….…..….104   L ETTER FROM THE E DITORS   Dear Readers, As the summer and the 2008 European Football Championship have reachedVienna, it is time for the new ‘hot’ issue of VIEWS – particularly for thosewho are looking for some reading distractions after the football craze! Thefour contributions presented in this latest issue follow two broad thematic  2 VIEWS threads: detailed diachronic empirical studies of Old and Middle English andissues in language policy and perceptions of non-standard language varieties.The first contribution by Elisabeth Haidinger presents an investigationinto the symbolic and ideological status and the perceptions held towardsScots and Austrian German. After providing definitions of key concepts, likelanguage variety, and of the two varieties in question, Haidinger reviewssalient literature and attitude studies about Scots and Austrian German.Shedding light on the problematic and liminal status of and prevalent attitudestoward each of the two varieties independently, Haidinger goes on to comparethe two sociolinguistic situations and points out similarities and differencesbetween the positions of and attitudes towards Scots and Austrian German.The second contribution takes us into the field of historical phonology, asChritian Liebl deals with the reflexes of OE ā in ME place-names. Hisdetailed analysis of the attested material offers new insights into the possibledating of the ā > Ä  shift and related sound-changes and discusses the variousinfluences, both dialectal and phonological, that had an impact on theformers’ implementation.Lotte Sommerer’s contribution is concerned with the emergence of thedefinite article in English and its possible roots in the OE noun phrase and,particularly, early demonstrative usage. Using data from the Parker andPeterborough Chronicles in two computer readable corpora she suggests thatthe development of the definite article was initiated by a combination of frequency effects and analogy processes, and directs the reader’s attention tosome important, related phenomena.The final contribution by Johann Unger thematically ties in with the firstcontribution as we return to issues of language policy and the linguisticsituation in Scotland. After providing a brief introduction to the formallinguistic properties of Scots as a variety, the main body of Unger’s paper isconcerned with the history of Scots and traces its development from its earlysrcins till today.We hope that you will enjoy the inspiring contributions of this year’ssummer issue and would be happy to include your comments in form of areply to one of the articles in our next issue. T HE E DITORS    17(1) 3 Scotland and Austria: a critical discussion of language status and perceptions of Scots and Austrian German Elisabeth Haidinger, Vienna *   1. Introduction This paper is concerned with a comparison of the complex sociolinguisticsituations of Scotland and Austria with respect to the language status of andperceptions held towards Scots and Austrian German. At the heart of thedebate about Scots and Austrian German lies the controversy as to whetherthey should be treated as distinct languages or dialects, regional or nationalvarieties of English and German respectively (cf. McClure 1988, Smith 2000,Jones 2002 for Scots and Muhr 1995, Scheuringer 2001, Wiesinger 2002 forAustrian German). It should be noted that, in discussing Scots and AustrianGerman, affirmations regarding their status will not specifically refer to theirlinguistic nature such as vocabulary and grammar. Rather, I will analyse theirsymbolic and ideological status and investigate the perception held towardstheir medium of communication (cf. Craith 2003: 62).Against the backdrop of the socio-political debate about Scots andAustrian German and the debate about the very nature of ‘language’ and‘dialect’, the purpose and grounds of comparison of these two linguisticentities is to demonstrate that the issue of Scots and Austrian German is notonly a linguistic question but fundamentally a political and cultural matter,influenced by ideological beliefs and attitudes (cf. Trudgill 2004).Based on the assumption that the status of Scots and Austrian German isindeterminate and that both are perceived as being in a socially and culturallyinferior position vis-à-vis English and German, I will attempt to analyse theunderlying factors which determine the perception of one language variety asthe more powerful, prestigious and ‘proper’ form of speech and another as theless prestigious, non-standard, incorrect variety (cf. Thomas 2005: 174). * The author’s email for correspondence:  4 VIEWS For this analysis, I reviewed the relevant literature and interpreted findingsfrom attitude surveys to make accessible to the reader the controversialpositions of Scots and Austrian German. 1 In discussing their status andperception, I will also address aspects of language policy and the political andcultural debate surrounding these problematic entities in Scotland and Austriaby highlighting major achievements and shortcomings. Given the nature of language as a cultural construct, speakers bring certain cultural notions totheir dealings with language, which may also “influence, sometimes ratherprofoundly, the implementation of language policies” (Schiffman 2006: 112).The politics surrounding status planning and prestige allocation is frequentlylinked with “the ideological character of processes for the determination of which language problems are allocated policy attention” (Lo Bianco 2004:749). Furthermore, changing attitudes of the public may lead to greaterpressure for the development of policies that might affect the status of alanguage in society. As Lo Bianco (2004: 738) puts it so accurately:  Language problems always arise in concrete historical contexts and theseinevitably involve rival interests reflecting “loaded” relations among ethnic, political, social, bureaucratic, and class groupings, and other kinds of ideologicalsplits and controversies, including personal ones. As to the structure of this paper, I will first provide explanations anddefinitions of vital concepts before moving on to discussing definitions of Scots and Austrian German. Then I will analyse the problematic status of andprevalent attitudes toward Scots. The next part of the paper portrays thedebate about the status of Austrian German and analyses people’s attitudestowards it. Finally, I will outline the major similarities and differences foundbetween the sociolinguistic positions of Scots and Austrian German. In thelast section of this paper, I will give an outlook of the future of Scots andAustrian German and make some tentative suggestions for improvement. 2. Terminological issues2.1. Language variety The concept of language variety, or variety for short, can be defined as “a setof linguistic items with similar social distribution” (Hudson 2001: 22), i.e. itcan cover languages, dialects, and registers etc., and it can be considered 1 This analysis is based on my MA thesis (Haidinger 2007). This thesis was written at the Department of English at the University of Vienna under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Dieter Kastovsky.  17(1) 5 larger than a language as well as confined to few items. I agree with Hudsonthat the term should be used as a more general one, which covers concepts of languages and dialects. This should allow for the discussion of why certainvarieties are regarded as distinct languages whereas others are considereddialects of the same language (cf. Hudson 2001: 23). I regard it as necessarythat, in this paper, the term variety is used as a neutral term for referring toany linguistic system with a distribution in social space (cf. Milroy & Milroy1999, Wardhaugh 2002). 2.2. Attitude and language attitude As stated in the introduction of this paper, the perception of Scots andAustrian German amongst their respective speakers and the perception of these varieties abroad will be illustrated by means of language attitudesurveys. The concept of ‘attitude’ and ‘language attitude’ in particular, provesdifficult to define due to its non-monolithic nature. The definition I believe tobe most adequate for this paper is provided by Sarnoff (1970: 279 quoted inGarrett, Coupland & Williams 2003: 2-3), who defines ‘attitude’ as a “adisposition to react favourably or unfavourably to a class of objects”. A‘language attitude’ is “any affective, cognitive or behavioural index of evaluative reactions toward different language varieties or their speakers”(Ryan, Giles & Sebastian 1982: 7). However, due to the highly complex andpsychologically manifested (cf. Oppenheim 2005) construct of ‘attitude’, and‘language attitude’ in particular, this paper will use the term ‘languageattitude’ not as a technical term per se, but rather as a term that refers to thespeaker’s perception of language varieties and the resulting value judgementsand evaluations (cf. Edwards 1985: 155). 2.3. Standard and non-standard In debating the language status of Scots and Austrian German, a conceptwhich needs to be addressed is the, to some degree, idealised understandingreflected in the polarity of standard and non-standard varieties. The idealisticand politicised notion of a ‘standard’ is based on the assumption that there isone uniform and internally coherent, monolithic entity. In effect, however,there is a great deal of variability within the standard itself that people areoften not willing to admit (cf. Leith 1983: 33-34, Milroy & Milroy 1993: 3-4).An exemplary instance of politicisation of languages is the determinationto transform certain varieties into standard varieties as the language of publicinstitutions such as the government, education, law, business and media. AsMar-Molinero (2006: 9) explains, the use of such standard varieties is the
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