TOMORROW is European Day of Languages. Sometimes I include a word in this collection that will be selected for future inclusion in the Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL) and this week’s, wabsteid, is just such a candidate. The world of computing-related language does not generally lend itself to being translated into Scots – the Scots for computer, after all, is computer.
Websites themselves first appeared in the early 1990s and we have a citation from the Belfast Newsletter of January 2001: “… although words such as ‘computer’ and ‘monitor’ have come directly into Scots from English, a ‘website’ would be a ‘wabsteid’ and you ‘sneck’ (‘click’) on ‘cleeks’ or ‘airtin’ (‘links’) to reach another page”.
DSL used the term as early as 2003. The launch of the Scuil Wab was reported in the Edinburgh Evening News in November of that year: “A SCOTS language website for schoolchildren is being launched in the city. Scuil Wab, described as ‘a wabsteid for bairns o aa ages’, is aimed at encouraging primary and secondary pupils to use the Scots language”.
However, a decade later the term is still under discussion in the following from The National of January 2016: “Another common complaint is that Scots doesn’t have words for important concepts like referendum, physics or government – but neither did English until they were borrowed from Latin, Greek, and French, respectively. When new words are created by Scots writers – words like wabsteid for website – the same critics howl in derision that they’re artificial words.”.
Scots Word of the Week is written by Pauline Cairns Speitel, Dictionaries of the Scots Language https://dsl.ac.uk.