For years they tried to throttle her native language and demand that she speak “Proper English”. In this talk, Mary Johnson enchantingly and definitely brings her indigenous language - The Doric - back to life.

Scottish poet, Mary Johnston, was born in 1934 and brought up in rural Aberdeenshire. Doric was the only language she heard until she went to school, where she was chastised for speaking it and had to learn to speak ‘proper’ English. Mary shares some of her famous poems and touches upon the historic shame around the use of indigenous languages as well as sharing the importance of preserving cultural expression and knowledge for generations to come. Unfortunately a camera malfunction has meant the recording isn’t up to our usual standard, but it still captures the fantastic talk Mary entitled “Language is a window into the soul”. Thanks for understanding and enjoy #CMPRESERVE

About the speaker

Language is a window to the soul

Mary Johnston was born in 1934 and brought up in rural Aberdeenshire. Doric was the only language she heard until she went to school, where she was chastised for speaking it and had to learn to speak “Proper” i.e. English. The Doric she speaks is that of her grandparents, born in the late 1800s. It is extremely musical, yet powerful and precise.

Those fortunate enough to have heard Mary read her work aloud, know how well she communicates the meaning of her poems to her listeners, even if some of the words are unfamiliar to them.

As well as share a few of her famous poems, Mary will be exploring the month’s topic of “preserve” through touching on the historic shame aground use of indigenous languages and share the importance of preserving cultural expression and knowledge for generations to come.

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