Extremely Common Eloquence.
constructing Scottish identity through narrative.
MACAULAY, Ronald K.S.
Amsterdam/New York, NY, 2005, 299 pp.
SCROLL: Scottish Cultural Review of Language and Literature 3
Extremely Common Eloquence presents a detailed analysis of the narrative and rhetorical skills employed by working-class Scots in talking about important aspects of their lives. The wide range of devices employed by the speakers and the high quality of the examples provide convincing evidence to reject any possible negative evaluation of working-class speech on the basis of details of non-standard pronunciation and grammar. In addition to this display of linguistic accomplishment the examples examined show how these skills are employed to communicate important aspects of Scottish identity and culture.
Although the political status of Scotland has fluctuated over the past four hundred years, the sense of Scottish identity has remained strong. Part of that sense of identity comes from a form of speech that remains markedly distinct from that of the dominant neighbour to the south. There are cultural attitudes that indicate a spirit of independence that is consistent with this linguistic difference. The ways in which the speakers in this book express themselves reveal their beliefs in egalitarianism, independence, and the value of hard work. Extremely Common Eloquence demonstrates how the methods of linguistic analysis can be combined with an investigation into cultural values.
List of speakers
Chapter One: The Study of Language
Chapter Two: The Problems of Transcription
Chapter Three: A Small Soap Opera
Chapter Four: The Uses of Dialogue
Chapter Five: The Significance of Stories
Chapter Six: Third Person Narratives
Chapter Seven: A Stylistic Anomaly
Chapter Eight: Family Stories
Chapter Nine: The Auld Scotch Tongue
Chapter Ten: The Culture of Jock Tamson’s Bairns
Chapter Eleven: The Poetry of Talk
Chapter Twelve: Discover the People
Appendix A: Len M.’s Trip to Russia and Two Versions of a Story
Appendix B: Bill Dalgleish’s Story
Appendix C: Bella K.’s Father
Born and educated in Scotland, Ronald Macaulay taught for the British Council in Portugal and Argentina before going to California where he established the linguistics programme at the Claremont Colleges. He is now Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Pitzer College. His books include: Language, Social Class, and Education: a Glasgow study, 1977 (Edinburgh University Press), Generally Speaking: How Children Learn Language, 1980 (Newbury House), Locating Dialect in Discourse: The Language of Honest Men and Bonnie Lasses in Ayr, 1991 (Oxford University Press). The Social Art: Language and its Uses, 1994 (Oxford University Press), Standards and Variation in Urban Speech: Examples from Lowland Scots, 1997 (John Benjamins), Talk that counts: Age, gender, and social class differences in discourse, 2004 (Oxford University Press).