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they beeth nyh to strange men and nations, that speketh strongliche, and also bycause that the Kings of Englonde woneth alway fer from that cuntry. Hit seemeth a greet wonder how Englische men and her own langage and tonge is so dyverse of soun in this oon ilond, and the langage of Normandie is comlynge of another lande and hath oon maner soun amonge alle men that speketh hit arigt in Engelonde."
Respecting the pronunciation of the Craven Dialect, I have to observe, that monosyllables frequently become dissyllables, as bread, bre-ad; lead, le-ad; stead, ste-ad; swear, swe-ar. O has generally the sound of oa, as no, no-a; so, so-a. But it is perfectly unnecessary to trouble the reader with a particular account of the sound of every letter, or combination of letters; as, by a reference to the annexed Glossary, he will observe what change takes place in the pronunciation of a word, particularly if the Craven word, now in use, be merely a corruption of the classical one.
The Lowland Scotch, notwithstanding the learned Dr. Jamieson strenuously contends that it is not a dialectical but a peculiar language, is nothing, in my humble opinion, and with deference to so great an authority, but a corruption of that which is now spoken in Craven and in the Northern counties of England. The faithful and spirited Translation of Virgil, by Gawin Douglas, first printed about the year 1513, is a sufficient proof that the Lowland Scotch and English languages were at that time
nearly the same. My opinion is further confirmed by the great Lord Bacon. In certain articles or considerations touching the Union of the Kingdoms of England and Scotland, he intimates, that an union in language in the two countries was a favourable consideration for a general union.
"For the language, it is true, the nations are unius labi, and have not the first cause of disunion, which was confusion of tongues, whereby one understood not another. But yet the dialect is differing, and it remaineth a kind of mark of distinction. But for that "tempori permittendum," it is to be left to time. For considering that both languages do concur in the principal office and duty of a language, which is to make a man's self understood: for the rest, it is rather to be accounted, as was said, a diversity of dialect than of language; and, as I said in my first writing, it is like to bring forth the enriching of one language, by compounding and taking in the proper and significant words of either tongue, rather than a continuance of two languages.”†
A perusal of the ancient English authors, such as Langland, Brunne, Chaucer, Gower, Spencer, Fairfax, Wiclif, Verstegan, Elyot, Latimer, Ridley, Hoper, Hall, Bacon, Beaumont, Shakspeare, and other poets and historians corroborate my opinion.
* T. Warton.
+ B. Montagu's Edition of Bacon, vol. 5, p. 24.
Many of the words used by these celebrated authors, are now unintelligible to the inhabitants of the Southern part of this kingdom, though they are well understood by those who inhabit the Northern counties; and many expressions, now extinct, or obsolete here, are still common in Scotland, though I believe, they have been originally imported from England. I can, from my own knowledge and experience, testify, that many words and expressions in Craven, which were in constant use thirty or forty years ago, are either lost or imperfectly understood by the rising generation. This well known fact corroborates the opinion, that the seat of power, and the splendour of a court, have a wonderful effect in altering, and in polishing, a language. what is deemed fashionable, all, whether literate or illiterate, generally attempt to imitate. Dr. Jamieson himself anticipates the reverse consequence, from the removal of the Court from Scotland. He may derive, what he calls, the Scottish language, from the Islandic, Danish, Swedish, Teutonic, &c. but the numerous etymons which he has collected and arranged with great zeal, judgment, and infinite labour, may, with equal propriety, be applied to the English language, and only prove, that the Scottish is a dialectic branch. On this occasion I may use the words of the learned Spelman, "nec audaciæ videatur, Anglum me, et Danici idiomatis omnino inexpertum, de vocum Danicarum origine disputare. Intelligendum enim est, linguam nostram ex iisdem
natam esse radicibus; et quadrupili mixtione Danica conjunctam. Primo, veterum è Germaniâ Saxonum. Secundo, Gothorum. Tertio, veterum ipsorum Danorum, Et quarto, Norwegiensum, qui tum cum Danis, postea cum Normannis introierunt Angliam. Res in confesso est, nec authorum eget laudatione.” Though the assertion of Spelman be correct in deriving the English language from those Northern nations, Dr. Jamieson is certainly not warranted thus to claim from them an immediate origin of the present Scottish Dialect, which Dialect, in 1385, according to Trevisa, did not actually exist. When the Saxons, after the expulsion of the Romans, invaded and took possession of England, they imposed upon the vanquished natives their language and their laws. Many of its aboriginal inhabitants, driven from the fruitful part of the country, precipitately fled into the rugged and mountainous district of Wales, where they preserved their lives and retained their language. In like manner, when the English took possession of Scotland, it may be supposed, that many of the hardy natives fled from the Southern districts"in has boreales partes quæ cæli inclementiâ rigent, confragosis locis horrent, et Oceani alluvionibus, paludibusque stagnant, se receperunt."* It is not improbable, that the present inhabitants of the Highlands are descendants of those very Britons who
fled from the Saxon invaders, and are now speaking the language of their progenitors.
The learned author of Caledonia is decidedly of opinion, and contends, that previously to the establishment of a Saxon Monarch on the throne of Scotland in the person of Edgar, son of Malcolm Canmore, no other language but Gaelic was spoken in North Britain, except in Lothian, which may be considered as then an English settlement. He further declares, that the oldest document which he has met with in the Scottish (English) language, is a contract with the Magistrates of Edinburgh in 1387,* nearly thirty years after the birth of Chaucer.
When William the Conqueror took possession of the throne of England, Prince Edgar, the lawful heir to the English Crown, retired into Scotland with his mother and two sisters, Margaret and Christian, and was honourably received by Malcolm III., King of Scotland.
"With the Ladie Margaret, the elder of the two sisters, the said King maryed. As the English Court, by reason of the aboundance of Normannes therein, became moste to speak French, so the Scottish Court, because of the Queen and many English that came with her, began to speak English, the which language, it should seem King Malcolm himself had before that learned."+
*See Encyclopædia Brit.