Naewey tae bide

It’s impossible tae unnerstaund fit it feels like tae hae naewey tae bide. But, juist shut yer een; tak a míntie tae imaigine fou it maun feel tae nae hae a comfy sofa tae come hame an park yer bahookie on efter a lang, haurd day; nae telly tae watch daft programmes on whilst ye ham in tae yer warm maet keukit in a convenient kitchen ben the hous. Think fit it maun be like tae nae hae a cosy bed far ye can pit yer heid doun fan ye want naething mair than a decent kip.

Sadly, for a lairge nummer o Scots fowk, they dinna hae tae imaigine this scenario because it’s their reality. In 2016-17, there wis mair than 34,000 hameless applications made in Scotland. Aamaist the same amount o fowk fa mak up the population o Fawkirk or Stirlin. A hertbraken nummer.

Things div seem tae be gettin a wee bittie better, fouiver, compare’t tae 2005-6, fan this nummer reached ower 60,000. The raison for this coud pairtially be that fowk seem tae be becomin mair conscious about the problem. Ah hiv certainly seen a chynge in attitudes taewart hameless fowk sin ah wis a young quinie.

Ae chiel fa, ah believe, haes haen a grand impact on motivatin mair fowk tae help the hameless in the North-East, an beyond, ower the past few ’ear, is Gordon Cruden. Back in the winter o 2015, the Brocher decidit tae embark on a thirty-day ‘Hungry for the Homeless’ challenge. This involved spendin a month bidin on the streets o Embra, Cardiff, Dublin, Belfast an London wi nae siller, maet, bed or shelter. Ower the duration o his challenge, Cruden shared the stories o mony o the fowk he met alang the wey, fa war left wi naewey but a cauld street tae caa hame, on social media. Mony a time he explain’t juist fou little it teuk for thaim tae end up on the streets, an it wis a harsh reminder tae aa fa read his posts juist hou guid ye’ve got it if ye hae a ruif abuin yer heid, an fou easily it coud aa be taen awa fae ye.

The reaction tae these stories, whilk left ye fit tae greet, wis outstaundin. By the end o his thirty days on the streets, Cruden haed thousands o fowk follaein him on Facebook, an ah ken for a fact that mony fowk fae round about the North-East nou see thaim fa are bidin on the streets fae a different perspective. A braw example o fou juist ae person can mak a gigantic difference.

There wis also anither event haudit in the capital this ’ear, wi the intention o shinin some licht on fit life is like for the hameless. On the 9t o December 2017, mair than 8000 fowk slept roch on Princes Street Gairdens, raisin juist ower fower million pund tae help the hameless fowk o Scotland. Whilst this o course is a fantastic achievement, there haes been some críticism o the event, the name o whilk, ‘Sleep in the Park’, hints tae it bein a glorified muisic festival; an tae a point, that’s fit it wis. Nae dout that haein the likes o Liam Gallagher an Amy Macdonald performin tae those fa war able tae gie £100 or mair wis a great incentive tae raise funds, but ah canna help thinkin that this approach unnermine’t the hale issue o hamelessness tae an extent. Nae haein somewey tae bide is sae much mair uncouthie than haein a jolly tae the park wi yer chums tae watch warld-famous singers an be served bacon rolls by Rob Brydon.

The £100 minimum donation also left me feelin disherted about the hale shebang, as ah felt that fowk fa mebbe coudna afford tae help out by donatin as muckle, shouldna hae been left out. In fact, ah think it wad be a fantastic idea if they lat fowk fa are registered as hameless jyne in, sae that they coud mingle an share their experiences wi fowk fa care about helpin thaim. There’s nae denyin that it’s a fantastic idea tae haud an event whilk raises sae much awaurness and siller for fowk ’itout a hame. Ah div believe, fouiver, that a haundfu o tweaks shoud be made, tae aither mak it mair realistic o the challenge o bidin on the streets, or mair inclusive aathegither.

Aatho the nummer o fowk ’ithout hames daes seem tae be drappin, an mair an mair fowk are daein their bittie tae help, the issue o hamelessness contínues tae exist in Scotland. Gordon Cruden, fa nou rins twa residential centres in the North-East for fowk fa are strugglin, is a role-model for onybody fa wants tae dae somethin tae help thaim fa dinna even hae a place tae caa hame.

O course ye dinna hae tae stairt wi a challenge as difficult as his ane tae mak a difference. But fan ye’re lyin cosy tucked up under the duvet the nicht, mebbe think tae yersel if ye can spare a pund or twa, or even a few mínties o yer time, tae mak somebody fa haes naething’s day.


Antonia UriAntonia Uri is a twinty-ane year auld Doric-spikkin student o Modren Furrin Leids at the University o Aiberdeen. She is currently the Alba Eiditor at The Gaudie, an a scriever for The National. Claik awa wi her on Twitter @teuchtertoni.


Social media thumbnail ímage: not everyone is taking in the historic sights by byronv2. Licence: CC BY-NC 2.0.

Cultural diversity outthrou time an place

Thare is ither places the warld ower, an ither times outthrou history, wi differs: whiles it’s ither places we’v niver been tae (A’v niver been tae Oceania, for ensaumple) an whiles it’s e’en places we’v niver haurd o (maist fowk haesnae haurd o the island whaur A’m steyin, Réunion). As for ither times, thay can shaw differs an aw, whither it’s times we can mind wirsels, times we can project wirsels intae (sae the naur futur) or times remote fae wir ain experience.

Sae, aw in aw, we arenae alane in wir ain cultur nor in wir ain pynt in time.

Tae some stent, we’re mindit on ither times an places ilka day, but we’re aften mindit o the same times an the same places, whan thare a fair braider spectrum o existence available. The focus is mainly on recent epochs an dominant kintras, yer superpouers o the day: wir attention is a fair feck mair aften focussed on modren-day Americae as on New Guinea or the Mbuti; though, sae we’ll see later in this airticle, it isnae acause thir ither fowks dinnae hae things tae shaw us.

An the existin diversity is aften mair extraordinar nor whit we realise: maist fowk wadnae say thare wis sae mony as seiven thousand leids in the warld, but that’s about hou mony thare are. The differs acqueish different leids isnae wee, aither: thare is twa-three different methods tae encode evidentiality in the verb, whither it’s throu the uiss o affixes or pairticles or jyned in wi the tense sýstem. “Evidentiality? Whit’s that?” A hear ye say. Aye, that concept merkin the source o information that is common in the Native American languages an Scots an English disnae encode ava.1 An thare’s the antipassive, the equivalent o the passive in ergative leids. Ergative leids? That’s the leids that, like Bescayan or mony Aborigine leids, uises the (pro)noun o intransitive verbs like the object o transitive verbs.2 An the diversity in claes, cuisine, relígion, artisanry is comparable.

It is richt braw that thare is thir differs acqueish different kintras an times; we can rejyce in this diversity. It is richt braw that we are aw different, wi wir ain thochts, wir ain ideals, wir ain habits. We can aye learn fae ilk ither an we, quite simply, aw hae the richt tae exist an aw.

An this diversity is threitent. It is projectit that mony o thir thousands leids coud be deid gif current trends an affcomes contínue, in partícular the quarter o the current leids that is anerly spoken by less nor a thousand fowk. An the threit tae diversity in claes, cuisine, relígion, artisanry an mony ither domains o life is comparable.

An whit can be dangers o the utmaist loss o cultural diversity? In addítion tae the loss itsel, it can hae affcome on wir abílity tae hae alternatives and wir knawledge o sic alternatives. An thare can be negative lang-term eftercomes due tae the viability o the society.

We can see the societies in Jared Diamond’s ‘Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive’. In this 2005 beuk, he descrives hou certain societies haes foundert ower time. Whither that is acause thay war laith tae chynge tae fit thair environs or due tae thair eftercome on the climate, mony societies haes aither disappeart — like the Greenland Norse that refused tae uise fish like thair Inuit neibours — or been reduced tae a remnant o itsel — like the Rapa Nui that fellt treen an biggit statues, lea’in room for a environmental doun-drappin.

We’ll need tae see gif a siclike fate waits on certain modren societies, wi the potential for a environs-connectit doun-drappin like some o thaim descrived by Diamond in Collapse. An a waur case scenario, in terms o societal doun-drappin, wad be a general doun-drappin o humanity. We can think on hou, gif sic a society wis ower the hale globe, naebody, or awmaist naebody, wad survive. Tharefore a global society wad coud bring humanity itsel, the species tae whilk we aw belang, tae failure an destitution.

On the conter side o this, we can see the Malagasy at Tromelin, forhouied by the crew o a wrackit sclave ship, that geniously inventit a new cultur, evendoun at odds wi the existin ane that thay awready kent, wi new biggin, fishin an burial techniques.

Throu this an ither ensaumples outthrou history, we can ken whit’s possible, whit’s awready been duin, hou lang it’s lastit an whit upshot it can hae on the society.

Thare is the outlat that first comes fae L. P. Hartley’s The Go-between: “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” It means that, gif we gang back or forrit in time, a place winnae necessarily be kenspeckle. It entails that the Scotland wir forebears kent afore us can be fair different as the Scotland we ken thir days. Gif we war sent back twa hunneryear tae Jacobite rebellion times, we wad be outlanders wirsels in the sense that the habits wadnae correspond. It is important tae mind that we wirsels will be history some day, sae we sud tak tent that whit we lea’ for wir bairns an wir granbairns is something wirthwhile, creative, interestin, productive.

Thare is forby a beuk cried The Past is a Foreign Country by David Lowenthal that deals wi the wey fowk view the past, in partícular in líteratur, an hou fowk can learn anent the past.3

In it, Lowenthal, sae faur back as 1985, emphasised (p396) that the chyngin landscape meant that maist fowk is in wankent environs. Sae, the past isnae juist a outland place, but a outland place fae whilk we wirsels come.

Throu leukin at ither societies thir days whaur we are yet outlanders, we can ken whit habit or act is possible, whit is awready around, hou wide it is awready spread an whit consequences it can hae on the society.

For ensaumple, on the quaisten o gender roles: the association o men wi huntin an weimen wi gaitherin, or men wi war an weimen wi steyin at hame an siclike associations. We can figure out whither thir associations is biological or cultural by leukin at ither culturs. Juist ’ithin the ae island o twal million (New Guinea), we hae three different fowks wi three different gender role scenarios: thare is the Mudungumor, whaur baith sexes haes “masculine” roles; the Arapesh, whaur baith haes “feminine” roles; an thare e’en the Tchambuli, whaur fowk follaes the conter fae whit certain Wasterners wad expect.4 5 Sae we can see that the reality o human behaviour is a fair feck mair varit than whit a body wad coud think. Tharefore the idea that specífic gender roles is inherent tae humanity is due tae a incomplete knawledge o human behaviour.

Mair ensaumples can be fund in Jared Diamond’s latest beuk, The World Until Yesterday, on hou the habits o some hunter-gaitherer societies an hou thay can hae better ideas on certain topics than whit we dae.

A ensaumple o this is parentin, a domain whaur the Kung an the Aka haes better results, wi depression bein evendoun fremmit for thaim. Thir African hunter-gaitherer fowks haes a fair feck o phýsical contact as bairnies, an varied contact ’ithin the community, bein cared for by aw the ither fowk in the community an no juist the nuclear faimily whan thay hae time aff fae wark.

Leukin efter bairns is a verra human act, as is leukin at the past. An leukin at the past is a wey for us tae better unnerstaund the futur, itsel a capacity specífic tae humans. It’s a capacity that haes helpit humanity prevent itsel fae stervin an deein out thousands o years syne in East Africae.

As Joan Boades, a Catalan archivist an best-sellin author, haes said:

“I’m an archivist because I’m interested in the future rather than the past. Some scientists had established that human beings use the same part of the brain either to remember things or to imagine the future so if we translate this to a social context, we can say that a society that can’t remember its past also cannot imagine its future . . .” 6

This fact can be confirmed whan we leuk at the science: we can see that the thochts anent the past an the futur flaucht in multiple weys: for ensaumple, whan fowk haes Alzheimers, thay cannae mind the past an thay cannae imagine the forrit an ayont ony mair, aither.

An this leukin tae the futur hings in wi planification. Ae thing A wad tak fae that is that we can uise wir uniquely human capacity o planification for tae pertect wir uniquely human cultural diversity.

In conclusion, it is braw that thare is aw the variety an diversity in the warld an we sud forder it. No only that, but this diversity can be a wey for us tae better unnerstaund humanity an the warld. An leukin at different times an places that we dinnae ken sae weel is a specífically human capacity that we sud uise wittinly.


James McDonaldJames McDonald is a Scots polyglot steyin in Réunion. He is keen on different leids, inspecially local leids, an thair forderin, whether it’s Scots, Gaelic, Réunion Creole or ither leids. He wirks in schuils, helpin bairns wi thair hamewirk an giein chess lessons. Ye can contact him on jmcd89 [AT] googlemail [DOT] com.

Glossar

(Ye can translate ony wird atween Scots an English at the Online Scots Dictionar.)

Scots English
ae one
affcome effect
acqueish between
Bescayan Basque
conter contrary
differ difference
doun-drappin a state of collapse
eftercomes effects
environs the environment
evendoun absolutely, completely
flaucht intertwine
foundert collapsed, foundered
forder promote, advance
forhouied deserted, abandoned
forrit an ayont the way ahead; the future
fowks peoples
fremmit foreign, alien
geniously ingeniously
kenspeckle recognisable
laith loath
outland, outlander an outsider, stranger, alien
sclave slave
stent extent
sud shoud
treen trees
wankent unknown, unfamiliar
wir our
wittinly knowledgeably

Toodily-doo, Flanderinos!

It stairts like this. Ye’re on yer traivels somewhaur — Malta, coud be, or Spain. Weel, mebbe no Spain. But whauriver. Somewhaur warm. Touristy. Nice, but no too nice. Say, Turkey. An ye’re in a bar. This daurk wee howff for fowk wha cannae staund the heat. Weel, there’s a queue in this bar, an here’s you, staundin in it. Fower places back fae the front, an there’s nae twa people in the place speak the same leid as ony ither twa. This micht tak a while.

It daes, o course. But at lang an last ye’re ane awa fae the bar, an prayin that the chiel in front o ye’s o a mind tae keep it simple. Peely-wally fellae. Sunglesses. He raises his haund, flashes up the wee peace sign.

“Twa mair beer,” he says.

Yer jaw draps. Gin ye’d a drink in yer haund, ye’d be wipin it aff the fluir. O aw the gin joints in aw the warld..! Ye’v heard it aw, bi nou; the Serbo-Croat for can ah hae a Black Russian, Mai-Tais magicked up in Madeira Portuguese. Yet wha’d hiv thocht? The wunner o thaim aw! A Bud Light speirt for in guid braid Border Scots! Ye sidle on up tae the bar wi a smile. The boy shoots ye kind o a leuk. But that’s awricht. He disnae ken that ye ken. Haud on readin . . . “Toodily-doo, Flanderinos!”

Scots as a leid o education

In this airticle, we’ll leuk at the faisibility o the uiss o Scots in education. Syne whan haes it been uised in education? In whilk wey it is uised in education? An is it siclike wi ither leids? For tae answer thae quaistens, we can leuk at the history o Scots an its uiss in education . . .

Fae the middle o the nineteent hunneryear till the end o the twintiet hunneryear, Scots wisnae gien a place in Scots schuils ava; it wis whiles doun-hauden even.1

On the ither haund, Scots wis a fair feck mair uised in Scots schuils afore the 18t hunneryear, as we can see fae this quote fae The Register o the Privy Seal o Scotland:2

“Ane instructioun for bairnis to be lernit in Scotis and Latene…” (1559)

Haud on readin . . . “Scots as a leid o education”

Surfeit Uiss o Digital Technology

Technology, an the mair by taiken digital technology, haes baith positive an negative eftercomes. Technology can hecht possibílities we wadnae itherwise hae. On the ae haund, technology in general can help us redd up problems: technology can allou us tae dae mony things fae the maist basic huntin gibbles tae space shuttles. On the ither haund, technology can cause hashery for the feck o humanity, whether it’s technology that’s uised for killin fowk (like nuclear wappens) or connachin wir environs (like fossil fuels), or connachin wir brain cells, like whit we’ll see efter in this airticle.

Digital technology is a fair guid ensaumple o the foresaid general description o technology: wi it, we can communicate wi fowk the ither side o the warld. An that’s braw; A wadnae can write this airticle itherwise. We can keep in touch wi fríends an faimily on the ither side o the warld. But, at the same time, digital technology can distract us fae actual real life human traffeck that we war born for. For wir psychological growthe, as weel as ither aspects o wir halth, digital communication micht get yer wirds throu tae the ither body, but it’s sae sib tae real life communication as Jackie Stuart is tae the heir o the Jacobites.

Haud on readin . . . “Surfeit Uiss o Digital Technology”

Argie-bargie in politics

Whan fowk is discussin issues, the conversation whiles dwynes intae a wee stramash: ae side gies thair thochtie on the thing, the ither says “naw, A think this ither thing,” an thay juist rane thair stances. An this is the mair-be-taiken whan it’s polítical issues. Whiles ye’re chancey tae even see fowk argollin for thair posítion. An, whan this happens, fowk afttimes come awa fae it thinkin the same things thay did aforehaund. Whiles, it’s mair the waur: whiles, fowk juist caw ilk anither names, like “yese are juist dunderheids”. An thay end up thinkin thair ain posítion thay awready haed even mair. An that’s a waesome state o affairs.

Sae whit dae we actually want tae be daein? Dae we want tae redd up tuilyies? Or evitin bein naur thaim whan thay kythe? Or dae we juist want thaim no tae kythe?

Haud on readin . . . “Argie-bargie in politics”