Mercator report: The Scots language in education in Scotland (2nd Ed)

Report by Liz Niven on the Scots language in education in Scotland for Mercator, the European research centre on multilingualism and language learning.

The lack of parental pressure to increase Scots provision, compared for example with Gaelic, is noticeable. Niven’s explanation (p 15) of parental attitudes point to the persistent (though mistaken) notions of ‘interference’ and ‘deficit’,

“…many families wish to encourage adequate English proficiency in their offspring, presuming that their broad Scots is not compatible with this aim. This opinion still exists because young parents continue to believe that their own school experience, wherein they were taught not to value Scots, is correct. Many parents view Scots as a hindrance to their children’s future educational and vocational aims even though the families continue to speak it fluently”.

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There is frequent debate, amongst language interest groups,
about standardisation of the language. There are variations
in the spelling of a great part of the Scots vocabulary from
region to region. Currently, the SLD present the most common
spelling as the headword in an entry, followed by other less
common variations. Many Scots users, particularly creative
writers, prefer to retain all the variations in Scots orthography.
There is, however, another body of Scots speakers and writers
who would like to see some form of standardisation. Within
this group there is debate about which form of Scots should
become the standard.

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