The Herald

Ockone, times have changed and pronunciat­ion is now a sair feckt


I HAVE bad news for Linda Kennedy (“Och I’m scunnered with this bus bot”, Inside Track, The Herald, December 26). Among the young, the Scottish “ch” sound has already largely died out in the Glasgow area, as I have witnessed from personal experience. Let me explain.

Many aeons ago, in a galaxy far, far away (Coatbridge, to be exact) when I was a young bright-eyed, bushy-tailed teacher of classics (in those days they taught Latin and Greek in schools), I was seconded to study Russian fulltime. There was a theory then that Russian would become the second modern language after French instead of German or Spanish. (Nowadays, thanks to the Curriculum for Excellence, they don’t have any languages at all. Such is the onward march of progress.)

When teaching the basic sounds of the language I would say to the pupils “You are lucky; the Russian “kh” sound is identical to the Scottish “ch”, as in Balloch, Loch Lomond and so on”. Sage little heads would nod in silent appreciati­on. Message received and understood.

Fast forward a few incredibly brief years and my wretched career is reaching its ignominiou­s end. Same scene, same lesson, same comparison. But what a different reaction. Blank incomprehe­nsion or facetious parodies – hoots mon and the like.

It’s not just the children. I notice that several of my friends now do the same. Perhaps one should be philosophi­cal about this and affirm with Heraclitus: “All things flow, and nothing same remains.” Everything changes, including language.

However, contemplat­ing the demise of Scots, I cannot refrain from murmuring a sad Ichabod – or must that now be Ikkabod? Brian M Quail, 2 Hyndland Avenue, Glasgow.

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