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The Enregisterment of the Kailyardist Pathos: a Debate on Linguistic Authenticity and Nationhood in the Literature of Modern Scotland (pp. 135-146)

René Tissens

Universidad de Salamanca


This note focuses on the case of Scots as an enregistered variety, in Asif Agha’s (2003) terms, and the processes whereby it is represented in literature, the cultural meanings indexicalised in the variety and the Kailyardist movement as an important precursor for the establishment of the variety in literature. Throughout the note various aspects of non-standard language in literature are reviewed and several examples of Scots in kailyardist, revivalist and postmodernist works are commented upon. Considering Scots as the voice of the Scottish nation and a vehicle for political and sociocultural manifestation, this note serves to understand why authentic renderings, in opposition to less elaborate representations, are essential to preserve the indexicalised meanings of the variety.  The note concludes with a brief observation of modern-day stereotypes of Scots easily findable in television and the notion of Scottishness as a continuum.

Keywords: scots; enregisterment; authenticity; kailyardism


René Tissens (Santander, 1993) is a graduate of English Studies from the University of Salamanca. He also graduated with a Master in Secondary Education Teaching from the same institution. He is currently part of its PhD programme “Advanced English Studies: Languages and Cultures in Contact”. His academic trajectory starts with his interest in diachronic linguistics and dialectology regarding non-standard varieties of British English. His contribution to this field to date is available in the documental repository Gredos, which focuses on the literature of 19th-century Scotland and the enregisterment of exclusive features of Scottish English. This work was inspired by his four-month stay in Edinburgh, his Erasmus destination.

e-mail address: renetissens@usal.es


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