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Evertype: Alice in Wonderland -- in Ulster Scots!


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Evertype would like to announce the publication of Anne Morrison-Smyth's translation of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland into the Ulster Scots language, Alice's Carrants in Wunnerlan. The book uses John Tenniel's classic illustrations. A page with links to Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk is available at http://www.evertype.com/books/alice-ulster.html . Bookstores can order copies at a discount from the publisher.

 

http://www.evertype.com/pics/blogpics/alice-sco-ulster.gif

 

Michael Everson

Evertype, alice-in-wonderland-books.com

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The Caterpillar an Alice lukt at ither fur a quare while wi’oot taakin: finally the Caterpillar tuk the hookah oot o its mooth, an spoke tae hir in a languid, dozy voice.

 

“Wha ir yae?†said the Caterpillar.

 

This wusnae a perfu guid openin fur a yarn. Alice answer brev an baakwardly, “A—A harly know, Sir, jest at this minute—at least A know wha A wus this moarnin, but heth A hae bin changed a wheen o times since thin.â€

 

“What dae yae mean bae that?†said the Caterpillar sternly. “Explain yersel!â€

 

“A cannae explain maesel, A’m feert, Sir “ said Alice, “baecaas A’m naw maesel, yae see.â€

 

“A dinnae see,†said the Caterpillar.

 

“A cannae mak it onie mair clear,†Alice answer, wile polite, “fur A cannae unnerstan it maesel tae stairt wi; an baein sae monie different sizes in yin dae haes turnt mae heid.â€

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  • 4 months later...

It is a shame THOSE who bleat about the way Shetland is becoming do not at least try to keep the language alive here. With the shocking revelations about thousands of years of using local stone to build with and the lack of broadband I am suprised at the low, very low level of letters published. While you bleat about everything else. You seem to let the language of the elders die

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Just the same as they let the language of their elders die, language is an evolutionary thing, it changes and moves on with the influences dropped on it during the passage of time. Some of us can speak and write Shetland much as our ancestors spoke it 100 - 150 year ago, simply because we learned it naturally as the only means of vocal communication there was when we were kids. But few if any speak it now much, the language has evolved and moved on due to massive external input and influence of the last century and especially the last 40 years

 

Perhaps we should preserve a "snapshot" of the specific variety of language that is dying right now, but why? 150 or so years ago some were still alive who could still speak some amount of Norn, 150 years before they'd have spoken it much better, but no-one decided to preserve hardly any of that as it died, and if they had, what use would it have been to anyone now anyway?

 

Shetland as is spoken right is nothing like what it originated out of, god knows what the Picts spoke, perhaps some of their's still survives here and there in Shetland somewhere, but no-one can recognise it. A good proportion to Shetand can be traced back to Norn, but then you got Scots thrown in among it, and some archaic English from old Bibles, the Dutch frequented for centuries and left behind some of their tongue in it too. More lately the influence of English and Scots dialects has increased dramatically and what the younger generations speak today is the result. Where it goes from here will depend on what influences impacts upon it, but even the "purest" Shetland preservable from today's speakers is no more like the Shetland of say two or three centuries back as modern English is like the "Ye Olde Tea Shoppe" archaic English.

 

So what exactly is the point of preserving it at any one given time, and why? Strikes me its of no more point than the preservation of some old buildings and other relics that are done in a "freeze frame" of a half (or more) fallen down state. Think places like St Ninian's Isle Chapel or the Staneydale Temple, a few rocks stuck in the ground that at best mark out the general plan of whatever was on the site, but tell you next to nothing about the building itself or what was all on and done on the site when it was in use.

 

Preserving something in its original form, or at least in a form from which the original can still be easily seen, this I can understand and see the value of. To preserve something in an advanced stage of "evolution" (decay??), be it old chapels or temples of which little remain but an outline, or a language which has very very little in common with what it originated from, strikes me as a total waste of time and largely a form of denial that the passage of time brings an inevitable evolutionary process.

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^ Who's doing it, can we be told, or is it a secret until publication? They might have chosen a "better" book to use, but it'll be interesting to see the result.

 

The Ulster Scots as quote above, whether by default of it being so, or by accident/intent preserves a generally "English" sentence structure, grammar etc. Shetland on the other hand (depending obviously to a degree on the origins of the version used by the translator, and of its "age") does so much less.

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Who's doing it, can we be told, or is it a secret until publication?

I shouldn't like to say without asking the translator's permission first.

 

They might have chosen a "better" book to use, but it'll be interesting to see the result.

There is no better book! There are few books which have been so widely translated, apart from, say, The Bible. See evertype.com/carrolliana.html for my own range of translations of Alice.

 

The Ulster Scots as quote above, whether by default of it being so, or by accident/intent preserves a generally "English" sentence structure, grammar etc. Shetland on the other hand (depending obviously to a degree on the origins of the version used by the translator, and of its "age") does so much less.

Due to its history, Ulster Scots does seem to have more influence from standard English than other dialects do (it has likewise influenced Ulster English a lot more than most of its speakers realize).

 

Have you seen the thread below about Sandy Fleming's translation of Alice into Scots?

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I was at a lecture last year where Dr Robert McColl Millar gave a spoke on the roots of the Shetland dialect. If I understood him correctly the dialect Ghostrider and myself know arose from a more or less spontaneous combination of Scots and Norn. As part of his talk he mentioned the New Zealand accent. The recent colonisation of New Zealand meant that many original pioneers were still alive in the age of audio recording. Their accents were many and varied but their children without exeception spoke with the recognised New Zealand accent.

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