Marina Dossena University of Bergamo‘Sassenach ‘, eh? Late Modern Scottish English on the borders of time and space.”


The complex relationship that has always existed between Scots and Gaelic, and indeed between Gaelic and English, has often been the object of studies in language contact (e.g. Ó Baoill 1991 and 1997, Dorian 1993, McClure 1986, Millar 2010 and 2016). Moreover, the historical events that have underpinned the external history of these languages in Scotland are intertwined with important literary developments at all stages. This is particularly true of Late Modern times, when Highland life and culture became the object of both idealization and stigmatization (see Dossena 2005: 83-133); within this framework, literary accounts of the Jacobite rebellions contributed significantly to the spread of Gaelic vocabulary outside Scotland.

In this contribution I will focus on Celtic borrowings into (Scottish) English at a time when language codification was pervasive, but in which popular culture and indeed literature played a very important role in the creation of persistent cultural images. To this end, my analysis will rely both on dictionaries and on literary and manuscript sources.

Keywords: Scotland, Late Modern English, language contact, lexicology, lexicography.

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