In this clip, D.D. Johnston explores the nature of writing in non-standard English, the way characters would actually speak. a native of Edinburgh, he speaks about writing in a Scottish venacular, and its place in his novel Disnaeland.
Disnaeland is set in the fictional Scottish town of Dundule, but D.D. tells us this story is universal. It could be set in working class communities throughout the world. Ultimately, Disnaeland is a heartful message about humanity’s capacity for cooperation.
However, it gains a unique power from its Scottish setting, and no better is this communicated than through the use of Scots dialect and accents. It’s very title, ‘disnae’ means ‘does not’. This world disnae work for the people, disnae bring them happiness or joy, and maybe disnae need to exist in this monstrous form.
D.D. tells us that unlike many regional dialects of the British Isles, Scots dialect has roots in a real written language, Scots. He could draw from standard spellings from this language to write Scottish vernacular. It’s a strong, beautiful language and D.D.’s thankful for the resources available to him.
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