Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

A Dictionary of Lowland Scotch
With an Introductory chapter on the Poetry, Humour, and Literary History of the Scottish Language and an Appendix of Scottish Proverbs by Charles MacKay LL.D. (1888)


The original intention of the Editor of this work was to make it a guide to the better comprehension by English readers of the immortal works of Robert Burns and Walter Scott, and of the beautiful Scottish poetry to be found in the ancient and modem ballads and songs of the “North Countrie,”—and not only to the English but to all other admirers of Scottish literature, where it differs from that of England, and to present to them in accessible and convenient form such words as are more poetical and humorous in the Scottish language than in the English, or are altogether wanting in the latter. The design gradually extended itself as the compiler proceeded with his task, until it came to include large numbers of words derived from the Gaelic or Keltic, with which Dr. Jamieson, the author of the best and most copious Scottish Dictionary hitherto published, was very imperfectly or scarcely at all acquainted.

“Broad Scotch,” says Dr. Adolphus Wagner, the erudite and sympathetic editor of the Poems of Robert Bums, published in Leipzig, in 1835, “is literally broadened,—i.e., a language or dialect very worn off, and blotted, whose original stamp often is unknowable, because the idea is not always to be guessed at” This strange mistake is not confined to the Germans, but prevails to a large extent among Englishmen, who are of opinion that Scotch is a provincial dialect of the English,—like that of Lancashire or Yorkshire,—and not entitled to be called a language. The truth is, that English and Lowland Scotch were originally the same, but that the literary and social influences of London as the real metropolis of both countries, especially after the transfer of the royal family of Stuart from Edinburgh to London, at the commencement of the seventeenth century, favoured the infusion of a Latin element into current English, which the Scotch were slow to adopt.

In the year 1870, the author contributed two papers to Blackwood8 Magazine on “The Poetry and Humour of the Scottish Language.” Those papers are here reprinted with such copious additions as have extended the work to more than treble its original dimensions. The whole has undergone careful revision and emendation, and will, it is hoped, be found to contain not only characteristic specimens of the peculiar humour, but of the abounding poetical genius of the ancient and modem authors who have adorned the literature of Scotland from the days of Barbour, Douglas, and Montgomery to those of Allan Ramsay, Robert Bums, and Walter Scott, and down to our own times.

November 1887.

You can download this book here


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus