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Title: Writing Orkney’s Future: Minority Language and Speculative Poetics
Author(s): Giles, Harry Josephine
Supervisor(s): Hames, Scott
Jamie, Kathleen
Keywords: Scotland
Orkney (Scotland) Languages
Science fiction
Minority language
Issue Date: Oct-2019
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This creative and critical doctoral dissertation engages contemporary Scots language writing and theory, developing an antinational approach to European minority languages. In a double methodology, creative practice informs and develops critical research, and critical research shapes and directs creative practice. Part One, Deep Wheel Orcadia, is an Orcadian science fiction verse novel. Written in the Orkney language, a form of Scots, the poetry imagines a future space station as a utopian reflection of zero-world Orkney. The central characters, Astrid and Darling, offer diverging perspectives on language and belonging against a backdrop of escalating ecological and economic crisis. The language used is a synthetic, vernacularly-rooted approach to Orkney, using orthographical techniques of coherence and fluidity to construct a literary register that is neither a universalising standard nor a particularising dialect: a science fiction Orkney. Part Two, Writing Orkney’s Future: Minority Language and Speculative Poetics, critically investigates theoretical and creative approaches to the Scots language in specific and European minority language in general. Chapter 1 reads Edwin Morgan’s and Rachel Plummer’s science fiction poetry as scoping the colonised-and-colonising double bind facing Scottish writing and language. Chapter 2 argues that Scots itself is a science fiction project, using postcolonial theory to critique linguistic and narrative temporality in James Leslie Mitchell and Wulf Kurtoglu. Arguing that national approaches to Scots have trapped the language in a colonial position outside of time, this chapter advocates for porous boundaries and utopian entanglement, deploying language against the coherence of the nation. In Chapter 3, a critical history of Orkney language literature contextualises an account of minority language practice from the vowel to the plot, writing towards antinational approaches. Chapter 4 deploys Yasemin Yildiz’s “postmonolingual paradigm” to critique existing Scots language advocacy, arguing in conclusion for “difficult utopia now”.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: Literature and Languages

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