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Sonntag, 29. September 2013

Common Scots Terms in Highlander Romance

Reading this subgenre you will stumble occasionally over several terms like sassenach, lass, lad and Laird.

Sassenach stems from the Scottisch Gaelic "Sassunnach", the Irish Gaelic word is "Sasanach", derived from Late Latin "saxonēs", with the meaning "Saxons". It is usually used for an English person or a Lowland Scot. 
As far as I know it is mostly used by Sue-Ellen Wellfonder. I didn't find this term in Warrack's Dictionary, so I think it may not be politically correct.
In Germany we now have a surge of censorship changing the old classics through eliminating such politically incorrect terms. "Negro" is not allowed to be used anymore, because it was said in an devaluing manner although the word itself just means "black". It think the changes has to be made in the minds of the people not in the classics.

Lad und Lass are used more frequently. In some books you will read them quite often, mostly not used for servants of any kind, but for the heroine and sometimes the hero and some other men. Monica McCarty doesn't use them ... 

Lad has the following meanings:
1. kindly term of address to a man
2. a bachelor
3. a male sweetheart
4. a young manservant
5. a term of commendation or the reverse

Lass has the following meanings:
1. a girl
2. young woman
3. a female sweetheart
4. a maidservant
6. a woman
7. a term of address

And worse: Lassie, also read in the subgenre.
1. a young Lass, a girl
2. a term of endearment

(Alexander Warrack: The Scots Dialect Dictionary; Scots to English only)

I don't know about you, but I'm always remembered on this rough collie character "Lassie" from the TV series. Every time I read the heroine being addressed by this term I have this picture of a dog in my mind. Uagh. My neighbor has been calling every collie he ever had "Lassie".

Laddie has the following meanings (you guess it):
1. a boy
2. a term of affection for a boy or youth
3. a male sweetheart

Still I can't imagine that the rough Highlanders of the past were throwing such terms of endearment on each other so frequently in public. I think they would have killed each other if someone called them Iaddie.

A Laird ("Lord") is a high ranking person owning a large amount of land. He is not necessarily a clan leader, so I wonder why most writers use this term soleley instead of Chieftain, although the latter is meant. My, do they all have to be hulky men in chief positions? The authoress Monica McCarty is a positive exception with regard to both.
Depending on the time period or the origin of the speaking person she or he will have used the Gaelic term Tighearn I haven't read in any romances aside from my own. Seems that I'm a history buff when it comes to research.

Lady and Leddy seems to be have been used simultanously at past times. Though I never read "Leddy" in any Romance novel. It means lady, of course, and is the estate title given to a female landowner or wife of a landowner.

While prying around in this dictionary I came across the "lammermoor lion". Meant is a sheep. I'm still giggling. :-) Maybe I should use this instead of all the Lassies and Lads.