We saw a practical example of it recently when Alec Salmond said 'behave woman' to Anna Soubrey in the House of Commons. Some folk have taken great offence to this and others of us simply see it as an example of Scots language and humour in practice.
Political correctness aside, the kind of international media frenzy which can be stirred up from such a comment is frankly, ridiculous. But does serve to show how distinct Scotland and England are as cultures.
I had personal experience of this difference on almost a daily basis during my own 'exile' years in London. I worked for some years in a theatre bar and one night a man came in asking for information/directions/something with which I could not furnish him, but I knew the box office staff would be able to help. So I said to him 'you'll need to ask the boy in the box office that' And was amazed when the man went into orbit. He called the theatre manage and accused me of all kinds of things because I'd used the word 'boy.'
I should point out the 'boy' in question was white, so no racist slur could be implied - unless of course I was being racist using Scots language in England? For me, 'boy' is simply like 'behave' - an example of my own language in use. 'The boy over there' simply means 'the CHAP over there.' translated into English. So, seriously, what was all the fuss about? I've remained bemused, and not a small bit worried about it ever since.
If you're too lazy to click, here is a taste of Crockett on Scots dialect:
To write correctly and intelligibly the Scottish dialect is difficult. But it is easy to be vulgar in dialect. Shall our noble literary language be brought down by the vulgarisms of the local funny man to the condition of a mere idiom? Certainly, if the people want it so. But there is no need to call the jumbled rubbish Scottish dialect.
For myself, I love to discern a flavour of antique gentlemanship about a man's written Scots, something that takes me back to knee-breeches and buckled shoes, to hodden grey and Kilmarnock bonnets. They might be a little coarse in those days, but they were not vulgar.
And, indeed, there never was a nobler or more expressive language than the tongue of the dear old ladies who were our grandmothers and great-grandmothers in this our own Galloway. Let us try to keep their speech equally free from Anglicisms which come by rail, Irishisms which arrive by the short sea-route, from the innuendo of the music-hall comic song, and the refinements of the boarding-school—in fact, from all additions, subtractions, multiplications, and divisions, by whomsoever introduced or advocated. There is an idea abroad that in order to write Scottish dialect, it is enough to leave out all final g's and to write dae for do—which last, I beg leave to add, is the very hall-mark of the bungler!
Now this honest Doric of ours is a sonsy quean, clean, snod, and well-put-on. Her acquaintance is not to be picked up on the streets or at every close-mouth. The day has been when Peg was a lady, and so she shall be again, and her standard of manners and speech rank at least as high as that of her sister of the South.
The result may not show in the reports of the Board of Trade; neither will it make Glasgow flourish yet more abundantly, nor the ships crowd thicker about the Tail of the Bank. But it will give broad Scotland a right to speak once more of a Scottish language, and not merely English with a Dundee, a Gallowa', or a ‘Doon-the-watter’ accent. And, above all, it will give her again a literature frankly national, written in her ancient language, according to the finest and most uncorrupted models.
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'Raiderland' first published 1904. Republished 2014 by Ayton Publishing Limited and available as ebook or paperback online HERE