The Aitken papers
A. J. Aitken, ed. Caroline Macafee, â€˜Collected Writings on the Scots Languageâ€™ (2015)
A. J. Aitken (1921-1998) was a leading authority on the Scots language and one of the chief editors of A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue. This collection of papers includes most of his important articles, often with his own revisions and sometimes with additional material originally cut out for reasons of length. Editorial notes bring the topics up to date, and there is a biographical introduction and list of his published works. Some papers have not been published before: â€˜Sources of the vocabulary of Older Scotsâ€™, â€˜Address and toast to the Immortal Memory of Robert Burnsâ€™, and the autobiographical â€˜The Playboy of the West Germanic Worldâ€™.
Aitken describes his education and the early years of his career in â€˜Playboy of the West Germanic Worldâ€™, and also mentions some of the context of his own work in his tribute to Angus McIntosh (â€˜Angus McIntosh and Scottish Studiesâ€™). â€˜Fly on the wallâ€™ (about Sir James Murray) and â€˜Quiet Scot who was a master of wordsâ€™ (about Sir William Craigie) are short biographical pieces; â€˜James Murray: master of Scotsâ€™ is a detailed analysis of Murrayâ€™s contribution to the study of the language.
For the greater part of his career, Aitken combined lexicography with teaching the history of Scots at the University of Edinburgh and his work more or less forms the foundations of the subject in lexis (â€˜Sources of the Vocabulary of Older Scotsâ€™), phonology (â€˜How to pronounce Older Scotsâ€™ and â€˜The Scottish Vowel-Length Ruleâ€™), orthography (â€˜Variation and variety in written Middle Scotsâ€™), stylistics (â€˜The language of Older Scots poetryâ€™ and â€˜Oral narrative style in Middle Scotsâ€™), and the origins of Scottish Standard English (â€˜The pioneers of anglicised speech in Scotlandâ€™ and â€˜Scots and English in Scotlandâ€™).
His â€˜Scottish accents and dialectsâ€™ gives an overview of the modern language. His papers on the status of the language are of their time (â€˜New Scots: the problemsâ€™), but concepts that he introduced continue to inform thinking about the state of the language: dialect-switching v. style-drifting, covert scotticisms (â€˜Scots and English in Scotlandâ€™) and Ideal Scots (â€˜The good old Scots tongue: does Scots have an identity?â€™). His concern was less for the status of the modern language as an abstraction and more for the speakers (â€˜Bad Scots: some superstitions about Scots speechâ€™, â€˜Address and toast to the immortal memory of Robert Burnsâ€™, â€˜Letters to the Scotsman on the subject of accentâ€™, â€˜Letters to the Scotsman on the subject of Scotsâ€™), especially children at school who might suffer linguistic prejudice (â€˜The Scots language and the teacher of English in Scotlandâ€™).
Aitkenâ€™s writings on the editorial policies and practices of DOST include â€˜Sense-analysis for a historical dictionaryâ€™, â€˜Textual problems and the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongueâ€™ and â€˜DOST: how we make it and whatâ€™s in itâ€™. For the Concise Scots Dictionary he contributed â€˜A history of Scotsâ€™, and he provided the pronunciations, as he describes in â€˜The pronunciation entries for the CSDâ€™. The coverage of Scots words in modern English dictionaries is the subject of â€˜The extinction of Scotland in popular dictionaries of Englishâ€™. â€˜Gaelic, Scots and Gullaneâ€™ is a little note on social class variation in word form (Scots v. Scotch, etc.).
- Biographical introduction an leet o A J Aitken s published warks Caroline Macafee
- Fly on the Wall 1994
- James Murray master of Scots 1996
- Quiet Scot who was a master of words 1967
- Angus McIntosh and Scottish studies 1981
- The Playboy of the West Germanic World 1995
- A History of Scots 1985
- Sources of the vocabulary of Older Scots 1954
- Variation and variety in written Middle Scots 1971
- How to pronounce Older Scots 1972 and posthumously wi Caroline Macafee The phonology of Older Scots 2003
- The language of Older Scots poetry 1983
- A sixteenth century Scottish devotional anthology 1957
- Oral narrative style in Middle Scots 1978
- Scottish accents and dialects 1984
- The Scottish Vowel length Rule 1981
- Letters to the Scotsman on the subject of accent 1956 1977
- Letters to the Scotsman on the subject of Scots 1972 1995
- The Scots Language and the Teacher of English in Scotland 1976
- Bad Scots some superstitions about Scots speech 1982
- Address and toast to the Immortal Memory of Robert Burns 1990
- New Scots the problems 1980
- The good old Scots tongue does Scots have an identity 1981
- Scots and English in Scotland 1984
- The pioneers of anglicised speech in Scotland a second look 1997
- DOST how we make it and what s in it 1982
- Sense analysis for a historical dictionary 1973
- Textual problems and the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue 1977
- The extinction of Scotland in popular dictionaries of English 1987
- The pronunciation entries for the CSD 1985
- Gaelic Scots and Gullane 1972
- Combined bibliography