Source 5 : ‘Scotticisms, vulgar anglicisms and grammatical improprieties corrected’ by Hugh Mitchell, 1799
Printed book (NLS shelfmark: K.147.e.2 (1-2))
Hugh Mitchell was an Episcopal priest at Glasford, near Strathaven, before becoming Master of the English and French Academy in Glasgow.
A persuasion that something might yet be done, to reconcile Parents and Teachers to that plan of education which reason has pointed out, has given birth to the following Compilation. In drawing it up, the
Compiler has availed himself of every thing he could find, suited to his purpose, in productions of the same kind; although, upon perusal, it will appear, that a very considerable, and, it is presumed, not the least useful proportion, both of examples and corrections, is entirely his own.
In the department of Scotticisms, he has judged it proper, for obvious reasons, altogether to omit those numberless uncouth Vulgarisms which are peculiar to the lower class of people in Scotland. He has confined himself to such colloquial words and phrases, as prevail among the middle class, and, into which, through inadvertence, even those who have had a liberal education, are sometimes apt to fall.
This Collection was designed chiefly as a Supplement to the English Grammars which are taught in Scotland; and, therefore, to peruse it with advantage, presupposes a competent knowledge, at least, of the principles of Grammar. Vulgar words and phrases must be known to be so before they
can be avoided; and the Compiler has long been of opinion, that a copious and well selected list of such words and phrases with their corrections, either prefixed or subjoined to English Grammars, would, in this country, be a great improvement.
To those Teachers who may chuse to introduce this Collection into their Schools, he takes the liberty of recommending the following manner of using it. In the first course, boys might confine themselves entirely to the Scotticisms and Vulgar Anglicisms; and in the last, they might pass over these, and confine themselves entirely to the Grammatical Improprieties. This might be done once or twice every week, without interfering materially with their other studies. It would be an agreeable and useful variety; and, under the conduct of skilful Teachers, boys might become tolerable proficients in the course of four and twenty or thirty lessons.
Those whose leisure permits and whose inclination leads them to cultivate this
branch of Literature, will, no doubt, discover several mistakes and inaccuracies, which, though obvious to them, may yet have escaped the Compiler’s observation. The friendly communications of such men, respecting either the plan or the execution of the following little work, will be thankfully received and carefully attended to.
- What is Mitchell’s intention in compiling this list of Scotticisms?
- How might you describe Mitchell’s attitude towards the Scots language in general? Refer to the source to support your answer.