Monday, August 07, 2006

A new word?

While listening to the radio the other day, I heard the presenter mispronounce a word. He was aiming for "culture" but what he said was "kilture". I think kilture ought to be a real word and the following definition immediately suggested itself...
Kilture: Aspects of Scottish culture presented to tourists and nations other than Scotland which have minimal relevance to contemporary Scottish culture.
Do you see what I mean? A few examples will help illustrate. I'm thinking of the tartan and stag paintings found on tins of shortbread or the Brigadoon and Braveheart image found in movies. If you want to see kilture - go to the Royal Mile in Edinburgh where you can't swing a claymore without hitting a bit of kilture! Every other shop is cluttered with kilture. (And is the blue faced Braveheart guy still posing for pictures with the tourists outside the Castle? - He's another example of kilture.)

Wallace Monument
Wallace Monument,
originally uploaded by DavidDMuir
Another example can be found at the foot of the Wallace Monument. The monument itself is magnificent. Great architecture and spectacular setting - it commemorates an historic event that still has relevance to Scottish culture today. However, at the foot of hill there is that monstrosity of a statue - the Mel Gibson "inspired" depiction of William Wallace. Kilture? I think so!

Am I alone in thinking that this should be a real word? Does my definition of what it means make sense? If you agree with me, please find excuses to use the word kilture wherever possible. I'm already thinking about how I can use it in some of my classes next year and I plan to use it in future blog posts. :-)

One last time, say it with me: kilture.

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Chris said...

There's a Yahoo group which has beaten you to it - their description is as follows: "Description
Kilture (kilt wearing and related topics) for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. Includes, but is not limited to, Utilikilt, Amerikilt, and traditional Scottish kilts."
Utilikilts also seem to use the term in their online magazine. It's obviously too good a word not to have been snapped up!

David said...

I did a Google before I wrote the post and found this group too, but it looked to me like the name of their group rather than a word they used in day to day conversation. Also, my guess is their use is based on a corruption of couture rather than culture. I decided to go ahead with my post because I like my definition and intend to use it anyway. :-)

What do you think? As an ex-English teacher are you not happy with the concept of Humpty-Dumpty words? :-) Is it not worth defining and using it along the lines I suggest?

Is anybody else with me?

john said...

kilture, I'll say it loud and proud!
Useful concept excellent tag word. As someone who makes a lot of mistakes in pronunciation I enjoy this sort of word play.

Chris said...

Yeah - I think I was being really boring and techy when I wrote that last comment (not, however, tetchy!) And I think you should start using your word immediately, suffusing the blogosphere to such an extent that it's your meaning that googles first. There.
And I'm not looking forward to the outbreak of kilture at the end of the month down here ....:-(

John Connell said...

A definite upgrade for the 21st century, David, on 'kailyard' and 'kitsch'!

David said...

Thanks John J.

Chris - do I detect a hint of sarcasm? :-)

John C - Kitsch and kilture go to gether like horse and carriage, but kailyard was a new one for me. However Google came to the rescue and yes it fits! Kilture: Kitsch kailyard :-)

Jim Muir said...

I was searching the Web for background info on a David Muir who is a correspondent for ABC News when I clicked on this site. The picture of the Wallace Monument brought back fond memories. In spite of the fact that I have visited Scotland many, many times in the last 40 years, I have always driven by until this past March. I was visiting relatives nearby and my wife and I stayed a few nights in Stirling. I have been to Bannockburn (twice) but not the toon, the Monument, the Castle or the Brig. This visit, we did it all. I even walked up the steps of the monument 1 and a third times having realized, after the first leg, that I had to return to the ground floor and shed gear if I was going to make it to the top. Not bad for a 70 year old. I am a retired business man who also teaches - business courses at a local College here in Toronto. I dabble in genealogy and have researched my direct lineage back to the late 1700s. We came from the Dalgetty/Dunfermline area and I found a few related branches in and around Glasgow over the years - descendants of my Father's cousins. But I also have an extensive file on sundry Muirs; no research, just articles I have come across from various sources. It has been a pleasure to add you to my records.

Jim Muir

David said...

Hello Jim

Glad you found your way here and I hope you found it interesting.

As far as I know the Muirs I'm descended from have lived in and around Ayrshire for some time so I suspect we are only distantly related. :-(

Morag Macdonald said...

David I think you certainly should kiltivate your definition!

Jim said...


I really enjoyed your post. I was laughing at what you had to say and my own lack of knowledge. Kilture is a great word. I couldn't help to think what a great assignment this would be for kids. Have US kids write about what their concept Scotland and Scots. And have your students write about the US and life here.

Then have them read and react to each other. It would be a great learning experience.


David said...

"Kiltivate" Ouch! :-)

David said...

Jim - that sounds like a brilliant idea. My first thought was that the Scottish children would have the advantage because they see so many American TV shows and movies. But then I thought... no, that's exactly what the exercise is about. Does the portrayal of life in the US in these shows come close to the day-to-day reality of US children's lives? The USA is huge - it's daft to think watching Malcolm in the Middle means I know all about what it's like to be a child in America! :-)

What age of children do you work with? I'm sure we will be able to find a Scottish teacher with a similar age group that would be up for this!

john said...

David, Jim,
I'd love some of the children at my school to get involved in this.