Contributor(s)Abertay University. School of Social and Health Sciences
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AbstractThis paper analyses some of the ideological gaps in the use of language in the press in Scotland. It does so by considering the problem of the absence of Scots as a national print language and the role of English as a lingua franca. Newspapers communicate on a daily basis but they rarely use the language spoken in everyday life. The daily success of newsprint relies on forgetting about this gap and switching effortlessly between the spoken and the printed sign. Everyday auto-switching becomes a banal operation, a ‘second nature’ built on the ‘first nature’ of native speech. It is only in assimilating their native language through verbal communication that children first reach consciousness, notes Volosinov (1973: 81), and only through the simultaneous learning of their first written language does it acquire the status of second nature. In Scotland, this second nature print language is overwhelmingly Standard English. However, newspapers do not simply reproduce the formal elements of standard language without modifying them into more colloquial forms.Newsprint language can indeed be an instrument of exclusion and cultural inferiority. In daily practice some ways of speaking and writing are valued and others disparaged or completely excluded from public discourse carried on in newsprint.
Law, A. 2003. Language and the press in Scotland. In: J.M. Kirk and D.P.Ó. Baoill, eds. Towards our goals in broadcasting, the press, the performing arts and the economy: minority languages in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Scotland. Belfast: Cló Ollscoil na Banríona: pp.105-118.