John Barbour, Archdeacon of Aberdeen, has the distinction of initiating the great tradition of literature in the Lowland Scots tongue. This claim, admittedly, must be buttressed with reservations: for one thing, the fact that his epic poem is the first literary work of any importance to

survive

in Scots does not of course prove that it was the first ever written; and for another, the tongue in which he wrote was then the most northerly form of a continuously varying series of dialects within an area in which the political border between the kingdoms had no

linguistic

status whatever: Barbour, like all his compatriots until much later, referred to his language as

Inglis

, and if he and his contemporary Chaucer ever met (a realistic possibility, and an attractive speculation) they could haveā€¦

1951 words

Citation: McClure, J. Derrick. "John Barbour". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 February 2005 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=251, accessed 23 February 2024.]

251 John Barbour 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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