What’s the Difference Between a Language and a Dialect?

You might have noticed yesterday that when I mentioned the word bairn, I referred to its use in both Scots and Scottish English. And you might have asked yourself: what’s the difference?

I’m not an expert, and not going to go into all the details, but suffice it to say that they’re quite distinct. Continue reading

Ye Olde Thorn in My Side

Ye Olde English

How do you pronounce that phrase? Some people might argue about whether the e in Olde should be pronounced, but no-one would dispute how to pronounce the other two words. Would they…?

It seems reasonable to assume (as I did for a long time) that Ye is pronounced with a y sound (as in you) at the beginning of the word, but here’s the thing:

That’s not a y. Continue reading