Lost in Translation

Fascinated with Scottish history, I have recently taken it upon myself to learn more about this interesting country. As I sit in my Aberdeen city centre hotel, it is apparent that I will never uncover the entire story of how Scotland came to be, since a good portion of its history has not been written, or has been lost over the generations. Like many other cultures, the Scottish have a very strong oral history, meaning that a good portion of dates and statistics are unreliable. Yet, the brilliant thing about this unique form of history is how it is passed from one generation to the next through various forms. In Scotland, song typically serves as the most widely used form of oral history, as is evident if you should find yourself enjoying Scottish folk music.

Although I have stated that a good portion of the history of Scotland has been lost as a result of oral history, this is not to say that it lacks a history. In fact, the Scots have done a wonderful job of archiving its history, as is evident if you visit the national archives in Edinburgh. It is quite understandable why a good portion of the history is unreliable, as the human memory is fallible. Although we tend to think that we have the ability to recount anything from our pasts, the simple game of ‘telephone’ that many of us played in grade school is perhaps the best example of how this works. Overtime, words, meanings, and the entire context begins to evolve into something entirely different than what it started as. This is one of the negative aspects of oral history.

I will have to make my way to one of the hotels in Ballater tomorrow to visit some new museums. I am looking forward to what I will uncover, and how history has been passed down through generations.

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January 16, 2012 | Author: | Posted in Destinations


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