8 November 2019 (TES)
More than 1.5 million people said they spoke Scots in the 2011 census, and now this language is enjoying a resurgence in the classroom. The learning benefits are immense, writes Kirsty Crommie.
There are thought to be more than 7,000 languages spoken across the world, with many more not yet known outside the small communities in which they are spoken. Around 330 are spoken in Europe and more than 2,000 in Asia. Over 850 languages are spoken within Papua New Guinea alone (Miaschi, 2017) and, within the thousands of languages spoken worldwide, there are countless dialects and regional variations, rich in vocabulary and sounds.
Language lets us share, discover and make connections. But it is also a representation of culture and identity, and it symbolises the incredibly diverse world in which we live – so, with 75 per cent of the world’s population not speaking English, it is imperative that we encourage the learning of languages throughout school.
And this must include the Scots language: by studying our minority languages, such as Scots, we are celebrating our diverse and fascinating linguistic heritage, as we should.
In primary schools across Scotland, at least one additional language is being taught. The Scottish government’s 1+2 model for languages has a target of ensuring that by 2021, every Scottish school will offer children one additional language from P1 and a second from P5; many schools are well on their way to meeting that goal.
It is a target that is not without its challenges: staff must receive relevant training if they are to effectively deliver the teaching of a language of which they may have little or no experience. But the benefits are such that these challenges must be overcome.
Curriculum for Excellence: Modern Languages Experiences and Outcomes clearly lays out the benefits. Not only are literacy skills enhanced, but pupils learning a new language will also:
- Gain a deeper understanding of their first language and appreciate the richness and interconnected nature of languages.
- Enhance their understanding of their own and other languages and gain insights into other cultures.
- Develop skills that they can use and enjoy in work and leisure throughout their lives.
The benefits apply just as much to children learning minority languages. In Scotland, there are three native languages: English, Scots and Gaelic. While English is the most common, more than 1.5 million people said they spoke Scots in the 2011 census, while over 57,000 said they spoke Gaelic.
A number of schools exist to provide teaching and learning through Gaelic, particularly in the areas where it is spoken most, but the teaching of Scots is generally left to schools and teachers with an interest in and enthusiasm for Scots, although some have opted to include Scots as part of their 1+2 approach.
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3 November 2019 (Grampian Online)
Entries are being sought for an annual Scots language writing competition.
The Keith branch of the Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland are looking for entries for the Charles Murray Writing Competition, which encourages the passing down of the Scots language from generation to generation.
The competition was launched to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the birth of Charles Murray, an Alford-born poet, and is now into its sixth year.
Work entered into the competition can be prose or poetry and can be written about anything – but has to be in Scots. The competition is open to anyone, of any age, but must be written by two or more people of different generations – for example mother and daughter or grandfather and grandson.
25 October 2019 (The Daily Record)
Do you ken what the most iconic Scots word is? If not, dinnae get yourself in a fankle, you soon will.
A panel organised by the Scottish Book Trust have whittled our favourite Scots words to 30. And now the public have the chance to vote for them.
Tying in with A Year of Conversation and the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the public were invited to submit iconic Scots words through the charity’s social media channels and website. More than 200 words were nominated, from various dialects such as Doric, Shetlandic, Dundonian and Glaswegian.
23 October 2019 (Scottish Book Trust)
Book Week Scotland is an annual celebration of books and reading that takes place every November. The programme for this year's Book Week Scotland has just been launched. The programme includes workshops, poetry and storytelling sessions in Gaelic and Scots for both adults and children.
Visit the website to find out about events and activities taking place near you.
14 October 2019 (The Herald)
THE SNP's conference has called for the creation of a new quango to boost the use of the Scots language.
Delegates voted to explore the idea of a Scots Language Board – or "Board fir the Scots Leid" – similar to Bòrd na Gàidhlig, which promotes Gaelic.
They called for Scots to be more widely taught, learned and promoted as part of Scottish public life, and noted the "years of linguistic prejudice" it has suffered.
29 September 2019 (The Scotsman)
Writers, broadcasters, singers, poets and schools have been honoured at the first ever Scots Language Oscars, in the latest addition to the nation’s traditional arts and culture calendar.
The event, which saw 11 awards presented at the Mitchell Theatre in Glasgow, was launched to coincide with the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages initiative.
The new Scots Language Awards celebrate the country’s original tongue, which dates back around 1,400 years and is thought to have been spoken by almost a third of the population.
The event, backed by arts agency Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Scots Language Centre, has been instigated by Hands Up for Trad, who are also behind the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year contest, which has been staged for the last 20 years, and the Scots Trad Music Awards, which were launched in 2003.
20 September 2019 (The Scotsman)
An interactive map showing place names in Scots has been launched as part of a drive to raise awareness about the language.
The digital map allows people to view the original Scots names for cities, towns and villages such as Glesca/Glescae for Glasgow, Embra/Edinburrae for Edinburgh and Thirsa for Thurso.
Part of the site will allow users to submit more local names to be included on the map. The Scots Language Centre (SLC) will research the suggestions before deciding whether to add them.
20 September 2019 (Education Scotland)
Education Scotland is proud to be sponsoring the Young Scots Speaker Award at the Scots Language Awards 2019. Winners will be unveiled at a ceremony in Glasgow on 27 September.
19 September 2019 (Maths Week Scotland)
As part of Maths Week Scotland, pupils of all ages can participate in the 'Maths wi nae borders' competition, which requires students to respond to one of the questions in either Gaelic or Scots.
The competition is inspired by 'Mathématiques sans frontières'. North Lanarkshire Council, the University of the West of Scotland and Heriot Watt University work together to encourage young language learners to apply their knowledge in a Maths setting.
This stimulating and light-hearted competition for secondary schools combines Maths and Modern Languages and aims to motivate pupils in both their Maths and Language Learning. The first question requires an explanation in a foreign language.
Teachers look out for the e-mail inviting you to take part in 'Mathématiques sans frontières' in January 2020.
Meanwhile get your classes involved this Maths Week in the 'Maths wi nae borders' competition. Entry deadline 18 October 2019.
Visit the website for more information.
16 September 2019 (BBC)
A Scots language poem has won the international Wigtown Poetry Prize for the first time.
Shiftin, by Mhairi Owens, saw off entries from the USA, China, Canada and Ecuador for the £1,500 award.
This year the prize was opened up to entries in Scots, English and Gaelic for the first time.
Ms Owens, from Anstruther, who tutors in creative writing at the University of St Andrews, said she was delighted to be told she had won the award.
"It's literally a slim wee poem, but uses some very beautiful and unique Scots words and phrases," she said.
"It's right that many of us who use Scots in our everyday communication should use it in our poetry."
6 September 2019 (The Scotsman)
It’s aggressive without effort, with a few simple phrases able to send someone on their way. The Scots language was the country’s original tongue, dating back 1,400 years ago, and at one time Scots was the national language of Scotland, spoken by Scottish kings, and was used to write the official records of the country. Now the Scots language becomes a point of pride with some people, using words that - outside of some regions of Scotland - have never been heard. The opening of the Scottish Twitter exhibition in Edinburgh this August was a showcase of how funny an insult in Scots can be. With the ability to deliver a well timed insult viewed as almost an art form, by using some of these simple phrases, you’ll never be left tongue tied with a red face.
28 August 2019 (TES)
As educators, we are used to teaching our pupils in English. Sometimes we may use French or Spanish, consolidating our learning of these languages into our daily routine. But how often do we teach in or teach through Scots?
Every January, as we celebrate the life of Robert Burns, children across Scotland busily and eagerly learn a Scots poem ready to recite to their peers – but for many learners that is it.
Could we, and should we, be doing more?
In the 2011 census, over 1.5 million people self-identified as being able to speak Scots. With a language that is spoken that widely, shouldn’t we extend our teaching of Scots beyond a once-a-year celebration?
The Scots language is part of our culture and heritage and by teaching Scots – beyond dipping our toe in to celebrate Burns night – we are recognising and placing value on the diverse language and vocabulary that many pupils bring with them to school.
23 August 2019 (The Courier)
For the first time, the Dunfermline arts festival, which runs from September 3 to 8, is launching a new strand of Gaelic and Scots events.
The main event is on the ball for Gaelic and non-Gaelic speakers alike.
With regular appearances on BBC Scotland and BBC Alba the Gaelic voice of shinty and football, Hugh Dan MacLennan, is presenting an event in partnership with Dunfermline Athletic FC.
The two-hour interactive workshop at East End Park is for anyone who watched football on Gaelic TV channel, BBC Alba and wondered what on earth was going on.
The session will be delivered in English, and will give the participants the opportunity to learn key phrases used in commentating as well as some they can use at their next match.
14 August 2019 (Daily Record)
Two Galloway writers are among nine scrievers nationwide to be awarded funding to support their work in Scots.
Stuart A Paterson from Kirkbean and Susi Briggs from Gatehouse have both received Scots Language Publication grants.
The scheme, funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Scottish Book Trust, was created by the Scots Language Resource Network to support Scots publishers and to encourage Scots writers.
13 August 2019 (The Conversation)
Rude, crude and extremely funny, “Scottish Twitter” has garnered much attention in recent years for its uniquely Celtic wit – and for the specific ways it uses language.
Journalist Eve Livingston’s recent article for The Face examines the many social and cultural features of Scottish Twitter. But the fact it has provided a medium for written Scots language to evolve in a way that wasn’t possible before the advent of social media is equally fascinating.
Scots is officially recognised as one of the minority languages of Scotland. It has existed and thrived for centuries in writing as well as speech. From poets Robert Burns, Hugh MacDiarmid and Sheena Blackhall to novelist Irvine Welsh, the language has a rich literary tradition, and even has its own dictionary. More recently, it has moved into the digital world, finding itself unexpectedly and enthusiastically embraced on social media.
Get ready for Hallowe'en!
23 October 2018 (Various)
It's that time of year again and to help celebrate Hallowe'en in the languages classroom we've compiled a range of spooky resources! Click on the relevant link below for more information:
Posted in: Primary
, Senior Phase
, Language Learning
, Language Teaching
4 October 2018 (The Pushkin Prizes)
Somewhere out there, in an S1 or S2 class in a school in Scotland, there are ten writers worthy of the title Pushkin Prize-winner. Are you one of them?
What can you write about? ANYTHING! We're looking for stories, poems, plays, articles, memoirs - anything you like on a subject of your choice. You can write in English, Scots or Gaelic.
Visit the website for more information and submit your entries by 20 December 2018.
29 September 2018 (Daily Record)
Teen classic Diary of a Wimpy Kid is to get a braw makeover - being translated into Scots for the first time.
Jeff Kinney’s best-selling book series has been given a Caledonian re-vamp by Itchy Coo, the Scots language imprint for children at Black & White Publishing,
The first book in the series is “Diary o’ a Wimpy Wean”, re-worked by Scots writer Thomas Clark.
In the translation, twelve-year-old hero, Greg Hefley, tells the reader all about his life in modern Scots patter.
28 September 2018 (Atlas Obscura)
Over the past few decades, as efforts to save endangered languages have become governmental policy in the Netherlands (Frisian), Slovakia (Rusyn) and New Zealand (Maori), among many others, Scotland is in an unusual situation. A language known as Scottish Gaelic has become the figurehead for minority languages in Scotland. This is sensible; it is a very old and very distinctive language (it has three distinct rsounds!), and in 2011 the national census determined that fewer than 60,000 people speak it, making it a worthy target for preservation.
But there is another minority language in Scotland, one that is commonly dismissed. It’s called Scots, and it’s sometimes referred to as a joke, a weirdly spelled and -accented local variety of English.
9 September 2018 (The Herald)
No-one wants to hear the sound of a splorroch but a huam is another matter, at least if you had lived in Scotland 100 years ago or more.
Long forgotten words to describe the countryside have been uncovered and included in a new dictionary of words compiled during academic’s research in the Cairngorms.
Dictionary author Amanda Thomson said: “These words reveal so much about our history, natural history, and our changing ways of life - they are indicative of the depth, richness and variety of the Scots language and its unique relationship to nature and the Scottish landscapes of Lowlands, Highlands and islands.”
Maths Week Scotland - Mathématiques sans frontières / Maths wi nae borders
7 September 2018 (North Lanarkshire Council)
As part of Maths Week Scotland, pupils of all ages can participate in the 'Maths wi nae borders' competition, which requires students to respond to one of the questions in either Gaelic or Scots.
The new competition is inspired by 'Mathématiques sans frontières'. North Lanarkshire Council, the University of the West of Scotland and Heriot Watt University work together to encourage young language learners to apply their knowledge in a Maths setting.
This stimulating and light-hearted competition for secondary schools combines Maths and Modern Languages and aims to motivate pupils in both their Maths and Language Learning. S4 classes attempt 10 questions and S5 classes 13 questions. Ideally a whole class should tackle groups of questions in order to complete the test within the 60 minutes allowed.
The first question require an explanation in a foreign language. It is hoped that this competition will encourage cross-curricular working and teamwork.
This year 42 teams from 27 schools took part in 'Mathématiques sans Frontières', the winning team in S4 was Girvan Academy and the S5 winners and overall winning school was Grange Academy.
Look out for the e-mail invitation inviting you to take part in January 2019.
Posted in: Primary
, Senior Phase
, Celebrating Languages
, Cross-Curricular Working
, Language Learning
, Promoting Languages
, News from language & education organisations
20 August 2018 (The Conversation)
Pithy Scots brogue and throwaway insults punctuate Outlander, the phenomenally successful TV series that explores the final great Jacobite uprising of 1745 – the rebellion against King George II led by Bonnie Prince Charlie. Like 18th-century period dress or columns of troops, the Scots language is colourfully employed to lend authenticity to the drama.
The Scots spoken in Outlander may not be the language spoken today in Scotland, but rather a stage-Scots – essentially English dressed in tartan and cockade – yet it is still to be cheered. In fact, the presence of Scots in Outlander is a sign of how far an historically repressed language has come in just a few decades.
Full article written in Scots is also available.
16 August 2018 (The Herald)
Fancy learning a spot of Doric? Furry boots? Aiberdeen Varsity.
It's better known for its schools of medicine, law or international relations. But now one of Scotland's ancient seats of learning has launched evening classes in a language many of its scholars have derided: north-east Scots.
Aberdeen University's Elphinstone Institute has devised 10-week workshops in Doric, to help both locals and newcomers to the region learn to speak - and more importantly - write in the mither leid.
7 July 2018 (Daily Record)
Scots phrases may make perfect sense to us, but they can leave some folk scratching their heads.
Babbel, the language learning app, looked at some everyday Scottish patter and how they can confuse different nationalities.
8 June 2018 (Scottish Book Trust)
Can you write a story in just 50 words? Each month we’ll provide a prompt to get you started, but where the story goes from there is entirely up to you.
The competition includes four categories, Adult Writers, All-age Gaelic Writers, Young Writers 5-11 and Young Writer 12-18. The entries will be judged by a panel and the four winning stories will be published on our website two weeks after the closing date.
Entries for our June competition are currently open. The prompt is to 'write a story set on a beach'. Submit your story by Tuesday 3 July 2018 at noon.
Visit the Scottish Book Trust website for more information.
13 April 2018 (The Times)
The future of the Scots language is being put under threat by the unstoppable march of American English, Alexander McCall Smith has claimed.
The best-selling author fears that the enthusiastic adoption of US phrases means traditional words such as sleekit scunnered and shoogly are in danger of being lost forever.
McCall Smith’s works have been translated into more than 40 languages but he is concerned that Scots, and other tongues and dialects, are being undermined by the establishment of US English as a global lingua franca.
Subscription required to access full article
28 March 2018 (BBC)
A new body to promote Doric and the North-East Scots language is being launched in Aberdeen.
The North-East Scots Language Board aims to promote the language with the goal of making it more visible in everyday life, including Doric signage.
The body will be made up of representatives from Aberdeen's two universities and north east councils.
As well as the Doric, the board aims to promote other local dialects from the north east of Scotland.
A Scots language course is also being launched at the University of Aberdeen.
20 March 2018 (The National)
A new push is to begin to strengthen the status of Scots as two language bodies form a new advocacy partnership.
The Scots Leid Board and the North-East Scots Language Board (NESLB) will launch their initiative at Aberdeen University on March 28, promising to be an “apolitical” voice for the promotion and protection of the medium.
It also aims to encourage its use in broadcasting and increase the provision of Scots-language education to the same level as Gaelic for youngsters aged three to 18.
6 March 2018 (Scotsman)
Doric is to be promoted and protected on a new scale in Scotland with a body now set up in Aberdeen to secure the same status for North-East Scots as English and Gaelic. The North-East Scots Language Board is being led by academics, key figures and institutions in the region to normalise the use of the language in civic life, media, business and education.
31 January 2018 (The Herald)
We are the nation which has more words for rain than the Eskimos have for snow.
From a yillen to a lashin, from a murr to a haar, Scots know how to describe every possible way to get drookit.
Now, at long last, the Met Office has decided to tell us just how wet we will be in wur ain leid.
Britain’s forecaster has formally announced that it will use what it rather controversially calls “regional slang” in its broadcasts.
It says even people using standard English across the UK have a huge variety of terms for the weather they are experiencing. Crucially, the experts at the Met Office think these words could be more accurate than scientific terms they prefer as they perform in front of their isobars.
8 December 2017 (The National)
TEXTS in a fankle because your phone disnae ken whit yer oan aboot?
Dinnae fash, the world’s first Scots-speaking predictive text keyboard is here — and The National helped developers build it.
Techies at Microsoft subsidiary SwiftKey used material from this newspaper to teach their programme how to recognise, autocorrect and autopredict in Scotland’s ither national language.
The system uses artificial intelligence (AI) to adapt to the user’s writing style and is capable of running between both Scots and English at once.
30 October 2017 (Scotsman)
To celebrate St Andrew’s Day, the British High Commission in Ottawa asked students to translate some Scots words. The hilarious video shows the students havering as they struggle with the lingo.
10 November 2017 (The Scotsman)
The first book in the Harry Potter series has been translated into Scots. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane marks the 20th anniversary of the first publication of the boy wizard’s adventures.
The first book in the series introduces Harry as he discovers that he is a wizard and leaves his family to go to Hogwarts and study magic.
Matthew Fitt, who translated the novel, said: “I wanted tae dae this for a lang time but kent I wanted tae get it richt. I’m that honoured tae be the Scots translator o this warld-famous Harry Potter buik and chuffed tae ma bitts that Scots speakers, baith young and no sae young, can noo read the novel again, this time in oor gallus braw Mither Tongue.”
3 November 2017 (The Scotsman)
To those from outside Dundee, the bakery order “twa pehs, a plehn bridie an’ an inyin in an’ a” (Two pies, a plain bridie and an onion one as well) might be mistaken for a foreign language. Now, international research shows that the human brain treats the distinctive Dundonian brogue - and regional dialects in Britain and abroad - in exactly the same way as a second language.
The study at Abertay University in Dundee, and by researchers in Germany, suggests that while people from the city who converse in dialect may not be regarded generally as bilingual, cognitively there is little difference.
30 October 2017 (Scottish Book Trust)
SKOOSH! is an exciting new online collection of poems, stories, monologues and plays by young writers - and they're all written in our very own, brilliant Scots language.
SKOOSH! is part of the Scots Hoose website. Funded by Creative Scotland and led by myself, Matthew Fitt, Scots Hoose has got all you need to learn about starting to write in Scots. There are tips, ideas, songs, information, films and muckle mair - and now lots of great new writing by school pupils ready for you to read on SKOOSH!
SKOOSH! is always looking for new Scots writing. It doesn't matter where you live. It doesn't matter which dialect of Scots you know. You can write in Scots just as well as anyone.
And if you're not sure how to get started or what to write about or even what the Scots language really is, visit Scots Hoose, Scotland's best resource for learning and creativity in the Scots language.
1 October 2017 (The Guardian)
It won’t be long now before BBC Scotland is assailed by the sentinels of right thinking over the content of Thursday’s morning radio news show. What on earth was the national broadcaster thinking of? To mark National Poetry Day the station asked its new poet-in-residence, Stuart A Paterson, to read a poem he had written for the occasion.
It is called Here’s the Weather, an appropriate topic at this time of the year, as the seasons prepare to turn one last time and Scotland looks at its best in copper and gold.
Paterson’s poem is written mainly in the Scots tongue and so we were treated to a joyous cascade of words and images half-remembered from a childhood untroubled by the conventions of the classroom. “Forfochen” and “scunnert” were in there, as well as “girn” and “haiver”. And I was delighted to see one of my favourites, “molocate”, which, roughly translated, can mean to interact with someone or something with a degree of physical belligerence. I was also hoping to see the word “chib” in there, one of my other favourites; perhaps the next time.
Here's the Weather by Stuart A Paterson (BBC Scotland, 28 September 2017)
20 September 2017 (Education Scotland)
2017 is the year of History, Heritage & Archaeology . To celebrate, Education Scotland are launching a Creative Writing competition at the Scottish Learning Festival on 20 September. Learners of any and all ages are invited to enter to win Scots Language books for their school. Learners should write a poem or short story of not more than 750 words in length. The story or poem must be written in Scots language – though can be in any dialect of Scots, as broad or unique as the writer would like.
Log onto Glow and join the Scots blether to be kept up to date on all information on the competition. Go to the Visit Scotland
website for more info on the 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.
Posted in: Primary
, Senior Phase
, Celebrating Languages
, Cross-Curricular Working
, Language Learning
, Promoting Languages
, News from language & education organisations
2 September 2017 (The Herald)
The teaching of the Scots language is having a positive impact on the attainment of pupils in English qualifications, according to a new report.
Research shows teachers believe the language can particularly help disengaged pupils and those who are not high academic achievers.
The findings comes in a report from curriculum body Education Scotland which explores the use of Scots in primary and secondary schools.
Scots Language in Curriculum for Excellence (30 August 2017, Education Scotland)
31 August 2017 (Scottish Book Trust)
To celebrate the opening of the Queensferry Crossing, Scottish Book Trust are inviting writers to enter their 50-word fiction competition for September where a bridge must be incorporated in the story.
Entries in Scots and Gaelic are welcomed. Stories should be submitted by 30 September 2017.
Find out more on the Scottish Book Trust's website.
30 August 2017 (Education Scotland)
Education Scotland has published a report on the impact on literacy of learning Scots. The report ‘Scots Language in Curriculum for Excellence: enhancing skills in literacy, developing successful learners and confident individuals’ is available on the National Improvement Hub.
28 August 2017 (Michael Kerins)
This exciting new project will run from 20 to 31 October 2017. The idea is to create new writing using vocabulary that differs by the addition of only one letter - one single letter and the meaning changes. Not only in English - but in a wide variety of languages.
To find out more about the project and how you can participate, visit the website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted in: French
, Celebrating Languages
, Language Learning
, Promoting Languages
, News from language & education organisations
18 July 2017 (The National)
Another classic literary tale has been given the Scots treatment as Le Petit Prince becomes The Wee Prince.
Language specialist Dr Susan Rennie of Glasgow University, author of ABC: a Scots Alphabet, has brought the classic to life in Scots for the first time.
Originally published in 1943, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s timeless tale is believed to have sold 150 million copies worldwide, read by around 400 million readers and officially translated more than 320 times.
The book, released last week, reveals the life of the enigmatic Wee Prince, including the secrets of his dowff an dowie life, his fondness for sundouns and his love for a wondrous bonnie. The poignancy of the original remains, with its message that the things that really matter in life – the muckle maitters – are takkin guid tent of your hame planet, and cultivating the deep ties of friendship and love.
18 July 2017 (Scottish Sun)
A language expert has come up with a Scots meaning for almost every emoji you can think of.
Dr Michael Dempster put together the incredible list spanning around 200 mobile emoticons.
28 June 2017 (The Scotsman)
As the literary world celebrates the 20th anniversay of Harry Potter first hitting the bookstands, a new version of the first book is to be published in Scots language. ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane’ will become the 80th translation of the global phenonenon, telling the introduction to the world of JK Rowling’s wizard hero.
20 March 2017 (The Southern Reporter)
Galashiels Academy played host to the annual Eildon West Primary Schools Celebration of Scots Language and Culture, held on Friday, March 3.
All primary schools, from Tweedbank to Heriot, were represented. Medals, presented by Alistair Christie, vice-president of the Galashiels Burns Club, were awarded for Scots writing and recitation of Scots poetry.
3 March 2017 (Holyrood)
Across Scotland, 30 per cent of the population identified themselves as Scots speakers in the 2011 census, and in Aberdeenshire the figure was almost half, 49 per cent, yet there is no public body equivalent to Bòrd na Gàidhlig responsible for the promotion of Scots at a national level.
Scots tends to feature as part of culture studies, through Burns poetry or folk music, but not so much promoted as a living daily language.
25 February 2017 (The Scotsman)
The level at which the languages of Scotland – with the exception of English – have been ignored and often despised in recent years is something that has always surprised and saddened me.
The reaction by some to MSP Christina McKelvie’s use of the word ‘thae’ in Holyrood during the recent Article 50 debate shows that prejudice and ignorance still surround the use of Scots in daily life.
Language is a cultural treasure and some might say the maximum expression of who we are and where we’re from.
1 January 2017 (Daily Record)
The eccentric boxing champ revealed he would love to study the Scots language and loves Rabbie Burns' poems.
1 December 2016 (The Scotsman)
To tell a child that the Scots language is corrupt is potentially damaging and hold back educational attainment, the Scots Scriever has said.
Hamish MacDonald, who has a residency at the National Library of Scotland to promote the Scots language, was speaking at the launch of the Wee Windaes website, which tracks the language across the centuries to its current day use.
MacDonald said: “Any practitioner in Scots say that bairns struggling in the classroom will shine when given the opportunity to express themselves in Scots. “To tell a child that their Scots language is slang or corrupt is potentially damaging, a falsehood and a bar to educational progress.”
MacDonald, appointed in 2015 by Creative Scotland, created the website with the library’s Learning Team to raise awareness of Scots.
18 November 2016 (Scottish Book Trust)
Book Week Scotland is taking place from 21-27 November 2016.
There will be a host of events taking place around the country, including those celebrating Scots and Gaelic languages. Check the events schedule on the Scottish Book Trust website to see what's available near you.
16 November 2016 (BBC News)
The definitive text on the ancient Norn language and its link with modern Scots has been reprinted using the original pages and covers.
Norn was largely spoken by people in the north of Scotland until the mid 18th Century.
Uncollated and unbound sheets of the text, first printed over 80 years ago, were discovered in a Kirkwall warehouse.
The Orkney Norn explains the link between the ancient language of Norn and modern Scots as BBC Scotland's David Delday explains.
12 October 2016 (Bòrd na Gàidhlig)
This year's Dundee Literary Festival takes place from 19 October to 25 November and includes Scots and Gaelic language events.
Children will especially enjoy the session on 22 October, 'Rock and Roald Dahl Party' with Matthew Fitt, featuring Scots translations of some of Dahl's classic books.
Visit the website for details.
6 October 2016 (The Herald)
A tour of Scotland's islands, a plan for an epic poem and a project to put the languages of Scotland into verse are all part of the plans of Scotland's national poet, or Makar, Jackie Kay.
Ms Kay, who was appointed as the third Makar in March, is to embark on Ferlie Leed, a poetic tour of the Highlands and Islands, with a series of events in the more far-flung spaces of Scotland, beginning in Dunoon and moving on to North Uist, Stornoway and Shetland.
Ferlie Leed, a Scots expression which Ms Kay said has translated to 'wondrous talk', said she wants to visit as much of the country as she can in her five year term as Makar.
National Poetry Day
(STV News, 6 October 2016) See Jackie Kay and one of last year's MTOT winners, Keren Mingole, talk about poetry in their lives (the programme is available on iPlayer until 13/09/16 - watch from 28:50).
6 October 2016 (BBC News)
An American poet wins this year's Scots language category at Wigtown Book Festival.
Renita Boyle wrote "Sloe Jen" using the analogy of picking autumnal sloe berries as an analogy for heartbreak and mourning a lost love.
Listen to the recital of the winning poem on the BBC website.
30 September 2016 (The National)
‘Urban’ Scots may no longer be spoken in 50 years’ time – but independence could save the language, according to a study.
According to the report, schoolchildren “aren’t familiar” with commonly used terms including bampot, glaikit and stooshie and changes to pronunciation will see the hard “r” sound after vowels disappear from “working-class” speech, with the letter “l” left off the end of words.
The claims are based on analysis of Scots used in Glasgow by an academic from York University and a dialect coach who has worked with a number of Hollywood actors.
In the findings, the pair also claim the picture could be “very different” – but only if “a second independence referendum were to go in favour of Scotland’s separation from the UK”.
29 September 2016 (The Herald)
An author has translated Roald Dahl's iconic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - into Scots.
Novelist Matthew Fitt translated the children's classic because there are too few books for young Scots to read in their own language.
Scots is a West Germanic dialect spoken in Scotland.
It was the language of the medieval Scottish court, spoken by Mary Queen of Scots and James VI.
Now there are 1.6 million speakers of Scots.
Although Roald Dahl's works have been translated into 58 different languages worldwide, this will be the first time the book has been available in Scots.
27 September 2016 (The Courier)
Eighteen months after schools were urged to increase the use of the Scots language as part of a wider drive to improve literacy, a BBC Radio documentary, compiled by Newport-based broadcaster and Scots language expert Billy Kay, is highlighting the efforts to promote the use of Scots in Dundee. Michael Alexander reports.
30 August 2016 (Glasgow Live)
Children aged five to 12 joined Dr Susan Rennie, author of The Guid Freendly Giant – the BFG in Scots - at The Mitchell Library to create their very own Scots dictionary.
24 August 2016 (The National)
The National’s own Scots language columnist and respected poet Rab Wilson has been appointed the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum’s scriever in residence.
The new writer in residence at the birthplace of Scotia’s bard in Alloway was previously Robert Burns Writing Fellow in Scots for Dumfries and Galloway and is a weel kent figure on the Burns scene.
An award-winning poet, Rab has produced many collections of poetry, chiefly written in the Scots language.
20 August 2016 (BBC Radio Scotland)
Listen to the BBC Radio Scotland series exploring the history of the Scottish language.
30 June 2016 (The National)
One of the tallest tales in children’s fiction has undergone a big change as it is told in Scots for the first time.
Language expert Dr Susan Rennie, of Glasgow University, has translated Roald Dahl’s much-loved novel The BFG as part of a year-long celebration of the author’s work.
Titled The GFG – Guid Freendly Giant – the book remains faithful to the original plot, with much of the action taking place in London as orphan Sophie teams up with the titular hero to save the public from human-eating giants.
21 April 2016 (Southern Reporter)
Borders language expert Brian Holton is launching his 16th book this evening in Melrose – unveiling a collection of Chinese poetry translated into Scots.
Staunin Ma Lane is a fairly unique specimen, in that the author translates classic Chinese poems into not only English, but also Scots as well.
In fact, Brian is listed in Wikipedia as “the only currently-publishing Chinese-Scots translator in the world”.
“One of my aims is to show Chinese poetry is not necessarily as serious as people might expect,” he says. “There are a good range of voices to be heard.”
It turns out that there are social similarities between Chinese poets of the eighth century and Scots of today, and their poems can bring to light an affinity with alcohol, loneliness and philosophical meandering.
9 April 2016 (The National)
It's been heralded as a feminist version of Game of Thrones and derided by critics as having a plot with more holes than a pair of well-worn socks. But now Outlander, the cult Highland costume drama, is being credited with fuelling a growing interest in both Gaelic and Scots languages.
Voice coach Carol Ann Crawford, who has helped Outlander stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan perfect their accents, claims that the American-British TV series, which has an international audience of millions, could be just the thing to get the languages known by a wider audience.
Crawford said that the drama, which will return to our screens for a highly-anticipated second season on Sunday, is helping keep old Scots words alive and as well as creating a new growing awareness among an international audience.
31 March 2016 (Daily Record)
Stonehouse Primary and Nursery pupils have created and published their own booked called A Daunner Roon Stonehoose.
The book was written in Scots to celebrate the history and continued use of the Scots dialect.
Published by Whitewater Publishing with the support of publisher, Mary Thomson, every child in the nursery and school have contributed to the poems and stories in the book.
Each piece in the book describes life in Stonehouse, from playing in the park to going to school to popping out to the Post Office!
14 March 2016 (ASLS)
The Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) is running a creative writing competition for stories in Scots for S1 and S2 pupils.
Pupils should write a short story of not more than 750 words in length and submit their entries by 31 May 2016.
A slide presentation is attached which can be used to support the teaching of creative writing in Scots. A further document is also attached containing examples of previous entries.
Further information about the competition and how to enter can be found on the ASLS website.
10 March 2016 (The Scotsman)
There is something unique about the Scottish tongue when it comes to insults. It’s aggressive without effort, with a few simple phrases able to send someone on their way.
The Scots language was the country’s original tongue, dating back 1,400 years ago.
During the Middle Ages the language developed and grew apart from its sister tongue in England, until a distinct Scots language had evolved.
We take a look at some very Scottish insults.
4 March 2016 (The Scotsman)
Edinburgh is a city of contrasts and differences, and that extends to the dialect of its residents. Just as the Old and New Towns radically differ in style, so do the accents and vocabularies of the city’s residents.
Accents and dialect are actually very different. An accent is how you sound when you talk - dialect is the words you use.
The most contemporary people quoted on the Edinburgh dialect is authors like Irving Welsh and Ian Rankin.
The Edinburgh dialect is the longest standing dialects, and one of the six versions of Scots. The region of the Edinburgh dialect also extends to Fife and the Lothians, stopping at Falkirk, where there is a noticeable change in words, from using “bairn” and “yin” on the east coast, to “wains” and “wan” on the west.
4 March 2016 (Daily Record)
A Scottish Government web page set up to celebrate the Scots language had to be edited after experts branded some of the words gobbledygook .
The site quoted baffling expressions like “wirhameowerdaeinsan” in a bid to encourage more people to embrace the historical dialect, still used by 1.5 million people today.
But a string of experts were left baffled when presented with phrases like, “Scots us aaaroon us in wirhameowerdaeinsan, it is a furthie, feckfupairt o Scottish culture the day”.
Michael Hance, the director of the Scots Language Centre, said some phrases were made up of correct words jumbled together while others were completely unidentifiable.
He said: “It’s clearly not been edited correctly as some words don’t mean anything at all. Something has clearly got lost in translation somewhere along the line.
“It would appear that who was commissioned to write it didn’t have the chance to check it before it went online.
“It’s unfortunate because it’s likely that people went on the site and thought, because they couldn’t make sense of some words, that they didn’t have a proper grasp of Scots.”
Scots language website is no richt
(Deadline News, 4 March 2016)
4 February 2016 (The National)
"Let our three-voiced country sing in a new world..."
Bauld hopefu words scrievit by the makar Iain Crichton Smith, in a poem that opened the Scottish Pairlament on July 1st 1999.
In the first verse he urged us aw tae sing in oor English, oor Gaelic and oor Scots and the last wis sung by the woman that cam tae symbolise the history and promise o that day.
When Sheena Wellington sae memorably hanselled the new Scotland wi Burns’ anthem o social justice A Man’s A Man, the language that partially endit roon aboot three hunner year o London rule wis Scots.
Fast forrit tae Holyrood 2016. Look for Scots in the Scottish Pairlament Buildin. If ye find ony, gie me a shout.
2 February 2016 (The Scotsman)
People all over the world have heard of Cockney rhyming slang, but did you know there is a Scottish version?
Slowly making its way into colloquial speech, a book has already been published and even academic research has been carried out into this way of speaking.
What makes it more unique is that Scottish rhyming slang is based on pronunciation, and not written language.
25 January 2016 (Daily Record)
The newly appointed ’Scots Scriever’ visited Kirktonholme Primary school to teach the language.
Hamish MacDonald gave a talk to pupils at the school last week as part of a Scots learning focus during the month of January.
Hamish is the first Scots Scriever - and is the appointed national writer of Scots Language.
Hamish recited his own poems and others that the children had been studying in class and discussed their meanings and sounds.
Children were given a chance to hear ‘The Gruffalo’s Wean,” a book originally written in English but now translated into Scots, as well as a Scots book from the 1500s about an owl.
16 January 2016 (The National)
Few people know more about the power and influence of minority languages than linguist Hector Poullet, an expert on the Creole tongue of the Caribbean.
The softly-spoken 75-year-old is a source on Creole in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe. You could say he wrote the book on the language, co-authoring one of the world’s first Creole dictionaries and helping to introduce it into the school curriculum.
This week, Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland launched a free online resource for children. Gifting Every Child includes Scots songs and Gaelic lullabies, providing an introduction to the traditional arts for the classroom or family home.
“All of the world’s languages are like a kaleidoscope – every single one of them is multiform and each one must be protected,” Poullet says.
13 January 2016 (Scottish Book Trust)
Can you write a story in just 50 words? Each month a prompt will be provided to get you started, but where the story goes from there is entirely up to you.
For January the prompt is 'write a story set in the future.'
Adults and young writers are eligible to enter. Submissions are welcomed in Scots and Gaelic.
Visit the Scottish Book Trust website for more information and to submit your short story.
12 January 2016 (Education Scotland)
How many Scots words do you know? What about your friends and family? When and where do you use these words?
Have you noticed that some people in different parts of Scotland use different Scots words from you?
Here is a chance to share your words with those collected by classes from other parts of the country on the Scots Learners' site (Glow login required).
Find out more on Education Scotland's learning blog.
7 January 2016 (The Independent)
The independence-supporting National newspaper in Scotland has published an edition written partly in the Scots language.
Its front-page headline in Thursday’s edition was about the current internal strife of the Labour party.
“Stairhead rammy: Labour faw apairt efter Blairites get their jotters”, it said, roughly translated as “Neighbours at war: Labour fall apart after Blairites are sacked”.
“We’ve went aw Scots,” the paper announced.
The National’s strapline is normally “the newspaper that supports an independent Scotland”, but this was changed to a “gallus” - a bold or self-confident - Scotland.
Other headlines included: “Angry Salmond: Sae whaur’s awoor richt-wingers when we need thaim.”
Scots is a catch-all term for several different local dialects and is regarded as one of Scotland’s three native languages, including English and Scottish Gaelic.
10 December 2015 (Education Scotland)
Education Scotland's latest languages bulletin is now available. This edition includes information on:
- Updated guidance on assessing progress and achievement in Modern Languages
- GLOWmeet sessions:
- replay of session on 1+2 policy progress held on 18 November
- next session - guidance on progression from first to second level, 27 January 2016
- Language Show Live Scotland
- Scots language updates
4 December 2015 (Education Scotland)
Education Scotland is challenging young people across Scotland to translate Alexander Fleming’s biography into Scots.
Translations are invited from learners of all ages and can be submitted in any variety of Scots. Translations should be submitted to Diane Anderson
by 10 December 2015 to mark the seventieth anniversary of Fleming’s Nobel Prize for Medicine for his discovery of penicillin. The best translation will be added to the Celebrating Scotland’s Scientists resource.
You can find the English biography of Alexander Fleming to translate in the Celebrating Scotland’s Scientists resource. It includes biographies of Scotland’s most famous and influential scientists’ with translations available in both Scots and English.
3 December 2015 (SCILT)
Are you looking for ways to bring the festive season to your languages classroom?
SCILT have compiled resources from around the world for use with your pupils, from songs and games to interactive advent calendars. Find out how Christmas is celebrated in France, Germany, Spain and around the world!
2 December 2015 (Education Scotland)
Broughton High School pupils gave Minister for Learning, Sciences and Scotland's Languages, Dr Alasdair Allan, a warm welcome today (Wednesday 2 December) as he visited the school in Edinburgh to celebrate their work in promoting the use of Scots language.
Dr Allan visited the school following St Andrew's Day, 30 November, to see the work the school has been doing on an in-depth Scots language project, developed by Education Scotland, called ‘Keen tae Ken yir Kin’.
As part of this project, Broughton High School have partnered with Banff Academy, Aberdeenshire, to explore their own regional variety of Scots as well as that of their partner school. The project began with each school exchanging a ‘handsel’*, with pupils writing in Scots about themselves and the area in which they live.
30 November 2015 (Education Scotland)
The Scots language co-ordinators at Education Scotland have put together a list of seven suggestions for meaningful learning about Scotland for St Andrews Day.
Find links to Scots language websites, songs, poems and other resources, as well Gaelic language materials.
30 November 2015 (The Herald)
BBC Alba should extend its remit to make programmes in the Scots language, a former leader of the SNP has urged.
Gordon Wilson said having a Gaelic language channel but no broadcasting in Scots was a "cultural flaw".
In a submission to the BBC Trust, which is consulting on the future of the corporation, he said: "Gaelic is an important part of Scottish culture.
"Yet Scotland has another tradition in the Scots language still spoken in different forms throughout Scotland and used widely amongst the ordinary folk of Scotland.
"It dwarves that of Gaelic.
"Scots has been instrumental in enriching Scottish culture in poetry, prose and plays but does not enjoy the support it should from a national broadcaster."
Wee Ginger Dug: Does it suit the Tories (The National, 3 December 2015)
28 October 2015 (Commonspace)
THE Scottish new media website Bella Caledonia has announced that it will publish a new strand of work celebrating Gaelic and Scots language, and culture.
The content will be published in both English and Gaelic, and will explore the world of Scottish poetry, music and visual art.
Bella Caledonia editor Mike Small stated: "It's an outstanding group of people who are joining our editorial team - we are going to bring new richness and depth to Bella's cultural content and stand-up for Scottish culture.
"We have established a pool of contributors from up and down the country to create content and welcome input and submissions from others. It's time to take a far more pro-active and confident approach to defending and more importantly celebrating our cultural diversity."
22 October 2015 (BBC Scotland)
One of the top selling children's books in the world has just been published in four Scots regional versions.
The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson, has been made available in Doric, Dundonian, Orcadian and Shetlandic dialects.
See the video report from BBC Scotland's Mike Grundon.
10 October 2015 (The Falkirk Herald)
A new online resource featuring support materials and educational resources to help improve learning and teaching of Scots language was unveiled at this year’s Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow.
The new Scots Language hub sits within the languages section of the Education Scotland website and will feature educational resources including a short animated history of the Scots language as well as a range of materials to support learning and teaching of the mother tongue in primary education and the senior phase.
Education Scotland's Scots Language hub.
30 September 2015 (The National)
IT is a worldwide bestseller told in almost 60 languages.
Now Julia Donaldson’s family favourite The Gruffalo will be read in four more tongues as publishers release versions in four Scottish dialects.
Based on a Chinese folk tale, Donaldson’s tale of the mouse that thinks its way out of danger in the deep, dark wood was originally published in 1999 and has since sold 13 million copies in languages including Portuguese, Icelandic, Romanian, Afrikaans and Maori.
Illustrated by Axel Scheffler, it has also been adapted for the stage and screen as well as numerous spin-offs, including a sequel,The Gruffalo’s Child.
Now the author’s work will be republished once again in Doric, Dundonian, Orkney Scots and Shetland Scots.
23 September 2015 (BBC News)
Scotland has more than 400 words and expressions for snow, according to a project to compile a Scots thesaurus.
Academics have officially logged 421 terms - including "snaw" (snow), "sneesl" (to begin to rain or snow) and "skelf" (a large snowflake).
The study by the University of Glasgow is part of a project to compile the first Historical Thesaurus of Scots, which is being published online.
The research team have also appealed for people to send in their own words.
You can hear a discussion about the study and some of the words being spoken on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' broadcast. (Listen between 48:25 and 49:45 and 01:26:40-01:30:30. Available on iPlayer until 20 October 2015).
10 September 2015 (Scottish Government)
A national Scots Language Policy has been launched today by Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland's Languages.
This national Scots policy sets out the Scottish Government's position on the Scots language, its aims and objectives for Scots and the practical steps we will take to achieve these. It has been developed in co-operation with a number of key interests and will be reviewed periodically.
7 September 2015 (PRI)
“I am delighted tae be offered the new an vitally important role as Scots Scriever wae the National Library o Scotland. I luik forwart tae workin wae communities throughoot Scotland in gie’in voice tae this vibrant language which, whether spoken or written, deserves tae be celebrated everywhere,” said MacDonald, in Scots of course.
“Scriever” is Scots for “writer.” MacDonald was appointed “Scriever” by the National Library of Scotland and he will spend the next two years as the ambassador of the Scots language.
“It’s really a creative writing post — stimulating existing writing in Scots, or to help new writing in Scots or spoken Scots; to help with storytelling, to look at some of the provenance of the language some of the contemporary uses of the language,” MacDonald says.
Read the article and listen to Hamish speaking about his background and new role.
Keeping Scots language strong
(BBC World Service extract, 7 September 2015) Listen to Hamish Macdonald, the first Scots Scriever, reading his poem Nae Fizz Izzy in Scots.
26 August 2015 (Financial Times)
This week the first “Scots scriever”, or writer, takes office as part of a drive by the Scottish National party to give the Scots language greater status in schools and cultural industries.
Appeal for Schools to take part in The Scots Language Ambassador scheme
21 August 2015 (Education Scotland)
Education Scotland’s Scots Language Coordinators Katrina Lucas and Simon Hall are looking for more schools who may be interested in taking part in a new scheme to promote the use of Scots Language in schools. The Scots Language Ambassador scheme, which launched in Edinburgh during Book Week on 24th
November 2014, has so far attracted 40 confident Scots speakers from different walks of life from all over Scotland, who have volunteered their time to work in partnership with schools to promote the use of Scots and foster a love of the language. If any schools would like to find out more or to request a partnership with an Ambassador, please contact Simon Hall
and Katrina Lucas
at Education Scotland.
12 August 2015 (The Bookseller)
Hamish MacDonald has been appointed as the first Scots Scriever.
The role, a two-year residency at the National Library of Scotland supported with funding from Creative Scotland, will involve producing original creative work in Scots, its variants and dialects, across any art-form, as well as raising awareness, appreciation and use of Scots across the country and amongst all parts of the population.
9 August 2015 (Scotland Now)
Which language do you think is the most beautiful sounding in the world?
Are the flowing, romantic sounds of French among your favourites or maybe some passionate Italian tones?
The video clip above, made by language learning website Easy Languages, claims German is the most beautiful sounding in the world.
Okay, we admit the rough and readiness of the Scottish language might not be the easiest on everyone’s ears – but we love it anyway.
6 July 2015 (The Herald)
Before the meteoric rise in printing technology, most European nations were a hodgepodge of dialects and linguistic variations. More of a flowing fabric of interwoven words across the continent, than our current situation of bounded nation-states.
With the popularity of print publications came the need to standardise written languages - translating every book into the hundreds of French dialects would have been an unwieldy and costly project, much more complicated than developing dictionaries for people to learn the standard.
Thusly, the new and increasingly ubiquitous print media at the time effected spoken variations, with institutions like L'Academie Francaise established with the sole role of linguistic arbiter; policing the nation's speakers to communicate 'properly'.
22 June 2015 (The Herald)
From Herald Scotland letters pages
I would like to take a broader view of the languages currently and previously spoken in Scotland than expressed by Alexander Waugh (Letters, June 19).
For this discussion we should bypass the Scots whose language inheritance is from the Indian sub-continent, China, Eastern Europe or even south of the Border.
8 June 2015 (The Herald)
The 2015 James McCash Scots Poetry Competition, announced today, offers total prize money of £3,500, making it among the UK's major poetry prizes.
The total has more than doubled since last year, when it was £1,500.
The free-to-enter competition, which has been run jointly by The Herald and Glasgow University since 2003, aims to celebrate and encourage the use of the Scots language in all its rich diversity.
Tinto Hill Withoot Oxygen
(The Herald, 9 June 2015)
3 June 2015 (All Media Scotland)
Creative Scotland is today publishing its first Scots Language Policy, underlining the organisation’s commitment to supporting the language through its own work and the work that it funds across the arts, screen and creative industries.
A key element of the policy is the creation of the role of Scots Scriever, a first for Scotland, and a joint initiative between Creative Scotland and the National Library of Scotland.
This role, open to applications from today, will be a two-year residency, based at the National Library of Scotland supported with funding from Creative Scotland.
The purpose of the role of Scots Scriever will be to produce original creative work in Scots, its variants and dialects, across any art-form, as well as raising awareness, appreciation and use of Scots across the country and amongst all parts of the population.
Full role details and how to apply are on the National Library of Scotland website.
Scots Language Policy published (Creative Scotland, 3 June 2015)
Creative Scotland launches Scots Scriever language role (BBC News, 3 June 2015)
Scots Scriever to promote Scots language in arts (The Scotsman, 3 June 2015)
Scots speaker sought to scrieve for Scotland (The Herald, 3 June 2015)
Search for first Scots language master (The National, 4 June 2015)
Scots scriever role created to promote and produce work in Scots language (Common Space, 4 June 2015)
Bella Caledonia: A wee scrieve oan Scots leid policy (Common Space, 4 June 2015)
Gary Elliot: Why it's time to shake off the 'Scottish cringe' when it comes to our language (Common Space, 4 June 2015)
The hunt for a bonnie fechter (The Herald, 4 June 2015)
Does speaking Scots make you more likely to support independence? (The Herald, 7 June 2015)
28 May 2015 (BBC News)
A Midsummer Night's Dream, one of William Shakespeare's best-loved plays, is to be performed in the Scots language.
The comedy has been an enduring favourite since it was penned more than 400 years ago.
Crossmichael Drama Club is one of seven Scottish amateur dramatic companies taking part in the Royal Shakespeare Company project to re-imagine Shakespeare's plays.
See BBC Scotland's Willie Johnston reporting from Castle Douglas.
28 May 2015 (STV News)
Gran and wee were among the most popular words used by children in Scotland this year, according to analysis of entries to a short story competition.
The word wee appeared in 191 entries to the 2015 BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show's 500 Words competition, research by Oxford University Press (OUP) has found.
The second most popular word was loch - which appeared 80 times - while janny was used 11 times.
The top ten also included gran, sheriff, jetpack, haggis and pandas as well as couch and phoned.
The competition challenged children to compose an original work of fiction using no more than 500 words.
Experts from OUP analysed the 120,421 entries from across the UK to gain insights into the ways in which British children are using language.
They found that across the UK hashtag and the # symbol used to represent it was the most popular term this year.
Analysis of entries from north of the border found that many children are embedding Scots into their stories.
Scottish children's favourite words revealed (BBC News, 28 May 2015) - listen to Dr Susan Rennie, a lexicographer and expert in Scots language at the University of Glasgow, talking to BBC Radio Scotland's Hayley Millar.
‘Wee’ and ‘gran’ among most popular Scots words (The Scotsman, 28 May 2015)
20 May 2015 (BBC News)
Scotland's new SNP MPs have sworn allegiance to the Queen during the traditional oath taking ceremony at the House of Commons.
There are 50 new nationalist members at Westminster, joining six SNP MPs who were re-elected from the 2010 intake.
The MPs took their oaths in the Scottish style, which involves holding the right hand in the air.
Each was required to read the passage in English, but a number also performed it in Gaelic and Scots.
11 May 2015 (Scots Language Centre)
A 2015 Education Scotland report (3-18 Literacy and English Review) discussed how using Scots language and texts in Scots in the classroom increase general literacy levels. For those interested in achieving this, see the 10 point plan to help increase usage of Scots language and ways to find Scots language texts for the classroom.
5 May 2015 (Scottish Language Dictionaries)
Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd (SLD) is the major charitable body for the lexicography of the Scots language. SLD currently receives financial support from the Scottish Government. In order to drive forward our exciting plans SLD now wishes to appoint a Principal Executive Officer. The new PEO will report to SLD's Board of Trustees, and will also liaise with the Scottish Government's Learning Directorate.
The post, based in Edinburgh, will be available with effect from 1st August 2015 with a salary in the region of £38,000 p.a. It is envisaged as a full-time commitment, but a partial appointment at 0.8 FTE may be negotiable for a suitably-qualified candidate.
Application deadline 30 May 2015.
Visit the Scottish Language Dictionaries website for further particulars and how to apply.
1 May 2015 (TESS)
The relationship between the Scots language and the Scottish educational establishment has not always been easy. Historic literary examples from up and down the country show this. In a famous scene from William McIlvanney’s novel Docherty, the young Conn endures corporal punishment for insisting “Ah fell an bumped ma heid in the sheugh, sur”, while the 20th-century Orkney poet Christina Costie depicts a domineering teacher roaring at her class, “Don’t say ‘Nu’, say ‘Now’./And don’t say ‘Ku’, say ‘Cow’.”
Scots has often been misunderstood as slang, or as corrupt or inferior English. It isn’t widely known that Scots is a Germanic language in its own right, or that it is a sister language to English, with which it shares a common ancestor in Anglo-Saxon. It isn’t always appreciated that Scots has some 60,000 unique words and expressions, that it is the language of an illustrious and centuries-old literature, or that it was once a language of state used by kings, politicians and commoners alike.
Scots today is recognised by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and, as such, is afforded some special protection by the UK and Scottish governments. The 2011 census included a question on respondents’ ability to speak Scots, and campaigners for the language were delighted when 1.5 million people said they used and understood it.
24 April 2015 (The Herald)
Schools have been urged to increase the use of the Scots language as part of a wider drive to improve literacy.
Using Scots in lessons could improve pupils' engagement with learning as well as increasing their understanding of Scottish culture, according to curriculum quango Education Scotland.
Over the past five years, the language has become recognised in the classroom under the Curriculum for Excellence, which calls on schools to support children in maintaining their own first language.
However, there are still negative attitudes towards Scots, with some arguing it is a dialect rather than a language and others believing it to be a slang form of English. An official survey found that nearly two-thirds of the Scottish public do not believe that Scots is a real language.
(TESS, 23 April 2015) a letter from Matthew Fitt, Scots writer and teacher – Scots isn’t a language? I’ve something to say about that…. Your views
(TESS, 18 April 2015) - a letter from Steve Ainsworth, freelance writer and researcher - Inconvenient truths about Scots.
25 February 2015 (Into Film)
Throughout March we're promoting the diversity of language by hosting Scots language events across Scotland, taking in screenings of The Gruffalo and translating them into local dialects.
Visit the Into Film website for dates/venues and booking information.
25 February 2015 (Education Scotland)
Each year throughout January pupils from Kirktonholme Primary and Nursery in East Kilbride take part in a multi disciplinary programme of learning around Scots language and culture. They have fully embedded the teaching of Scots in a whole-school approach. For more details, view their short film.
13 February 2015 (BBC)
A scheme has been launched to encourage the use of the Scots language in schools.
Specially recruited ambassadors are working to raise the status of the language and to help teachers incorporate it across the curriculum.
BBC Scotland's education correspondent Jamie McIvor reports from a school where they have found Scots a useful part of the timetable.
12 February 2015 (Ellon Times)
Young Ellon storytellers helped local housebuilder Barratt celebrate Burns Night by taking part in a Scots language-themed writing competition.
Ellon Primary School P7 pupils were tasked with writing about celebrating at home, and in memory of Scotland’s national poet. The 29 children told their stories about weddings, birthdays, Christmas and New Year using Scots verse.
The team at Barratt Homes was so impressed they decided to donate £100 of book tokens to the school.
9 February 2015 (The Scotsman)
The Scots language should be heard on radio and television as part of mainstream programming and not confined to comedy shows, an award-winning broadcaster has said.
BBC Scotland’s Frieda Morrison, who also presents a monthly podcast on Scots Language Radio, will host an event next week and call for Scots to be given the same airtime as Gaelic.
“Scots is in a far more perilous situation than Gaelic. Yet in recent memory we had children ridiculed for using it at school and it only being acceptable once a year learning a poem for Burns Day,” she said
“Using Scots is all about confidence and identity. So many people are proud they speak it and it has not held them back.
“But we need a multi-pronged attack. Education Scotland has made it part of the curriculum but we need it heard much more often.”
6 February 2015 (STV News)
She's one of the world's most famous actresses with massive roles in films such as Sin City, Fantastic Four and Into the Blue.
So fans from across the pond were delighted when American star Jessica Alba was pictured on her Instagram account reading The Gruffalo in Scots to her children.
The book, originally written by Julia Donaldson, has become a contemporary favourite with youngsters.
But the Scottish version, produced by James Robertson and published by Black & White, is for more of a niche audience.
Or at least that's what James thought until he saw the picture of Jessica on Thursday afternoon.
3 February 2015 (SQA)
SQA has published package 1 of Unit assessment support for the new Scots Language Award. Package 1 includes Unit assessment support packs for the Understanding and Communicating and History and Development Units at SCQF levels 4 and 5. The Unit assessment support packs are now available from our secure website, and teachers and lecturers can arrange access to them through their SQA Co-ordinator.
Package 2 will be available by the end of February 2015 and will include Unit assessment support packs for the Understanding and Communicating and History and Development Units at SCQF levels 3 and 6.
See the SQA website for more information.
23 January 2015 (TESS)
Sunday is Burns Night, which means that huge numbers of people in Scotland and beyond will celebrate the poet’s life by reciting the verse that earned him worldwide appeal.
But this once-a-year showcase of the Scots language has traditionally sat uneasily with the scant opportunities to study it in Scottish schools during the rest of the year.
22 January 2015 (Education Scotland)
Education Scotland’s Scots Language Coordinators Katrina Lucas and Simon Hall are looking for more schools who may be interested in taking part in a new scheme to promote the use of Scots Language in schools.
17 December 2014 (East Ayrshire Council)
Grange Academy pupils celebrated the Scots language this week by helping to launch a new Scots Dictionary app, developed by the Scottish Language Dictionaries.
Exploring the mither tongue was Principal Teacher Jill Hillhouse, who demonstrated how Scots language is used in the classroom. Jill encouraged pupils to treasure the Scots language by asking everyone attending to jot down their favourite Scots word; Jill’s favourite was ‘scunnered’ and another favourite from the pupils was ‘stooshie’.
It was then over to senior pupil, Becky Paterson to explain how the new app works, inviting guests to search for the meaning of their favourite Scots word. The app provides a meaning for the word, the origin of the word and also an audio clip to help with the pronunciation. When used in conjunction with the Essential Scots Dictionary, the app is an important tool for pupils studying Scots as a modern language.
15 December 2014 (Daily Record)
An appeal has been launched for Scots language speakers in Glasgow to promote its use in city schools.
Education Scotland started an ambassador scheme last month and wants confident Scots speakers from all walks of life to volunteer at schools to raise the status of the language.
Volunteers will be expected to help create a love for Scots over three years and get further involved in the school community.
Ambassadors that have signed up include the cast of the Singing Kettle, Scottish Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2014 Robyn Stapleton, prizewinning author James Robertson and poet and Dundee Laureate W.N. Herbert.
10 December 2014 (Cumnock Chronicle)
An author from New Cumnock is taking part in a worldwide attempt to translate a classic children’s story into as many languages as possible — by using the Mithir Tung o’ Rabbie Burns.
Dr Jimmy Begg had taken on the challenge, which will mark the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll in 1865, and involves a group of internationally renowned academics.
Since the first German and French versions of the tale were published in 1869, it has been translated into 48 different languages, including Maori, Swahili, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, Hungarian, Korean, Bengali, Esperanto, Thai, Hebrew, Hindi, and Urdu.
As part of the anniversary project, more will be added including 11 Scots languages, and three Gaelic, as well as some more obscure versions such as Tongan and Zulu.
9 December 2014 (Education Scotland blog)
I sometime use the phrase “national treasure” when I’m out and about talking to people about the Scots language.
There are a few reasons why I like this phrase. Firstly, Scots is indeed a “national” language.
It is spoken in all its rich varieties from Stranraer to Shetland, and pretty much everywhere in between. Folk in the Borders use it, and it’s used in our Scottish cities and across the Central Belt. It thrives in Angus, Aberdeenshire, Moray, Caithness and Orkney.
Simon Hall: Rejoice in Scots language
(The Edinburgh Evening News, 8 December 2014)
26 November 2014 (The Herald)
A scheme to promote and encourage the use of Scots language within schools has been launched.
The ambassador scheme, unveiled at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh, will see Scots speakers from all walks of life become champions of the language.
The individuals will be paired with schools and work with them for three years to foster a love of the Scots language in pupils.
26 November 2014 (Daily Record/Scotland Now)
Scotland's first-ever comic book superhero is set to make its debut in the country’s native tongue.
Matthew Fitt has translated the award-nominated ‘Saltire Invasion’, which will be launched this Sunday on St Andrew’s Day.
And Saltire writer and creator John Ferguson admits he is excited at the prospect of the big blue ginger protagonist being portrayed in his own language.
20 November 2014 (STV News)
"The year is 50 B.C. The haill O Gaul is occupied by the Romans... The haill O Gaul? Nae wey!"
Those are the opening lines of the very first Asterix adventure, after its translation into Scots.
Writer and poet Matthew Fitt, who has had over ten years of working as a Scots language consultant, has undergone the challenge of translating another two well known comics.
8 October 2014 (National Library of Scotland)
A website to help primary schoolchildren learn Scots is launched today by the National Library of Scotland.
The 'Oor Wullie guide tae Scots language' site uses the famous cartoon character to get six-to 11-year-olds thinking about and using Scots words.
Several schools across Scotland worked with the Library to develop and test the learning activities, which include quizzes, a 'comic maker' and a word search.