We’ve come a long way since Burns, both societally and linguistically, and using literature with a more modern and updated take on the Scots language can better help with both language acquisition and help students feel comfortable using the Scots they speak at home in the classroom.
Children are no longer beaten for speaking Scots, but the cultural hangover associated with this kind of history still remains. Scots speakers, teachers and students alike will often codeswitch to avoid seeming unintelligent due to prevailing cultural attitudes which put SSE (Scottish Standard English) as the pinnacle of verbal and written expression….
We owe it to the next generation to set them up with the tools to communicate, and for many people, the validation of existing knowledge and skills using the Scots language will enable them to expand both their working knowledge of the language itself, and its relationship to English as a beautiful and useful sister language.
Remember friends: Scots is for life, not just for January.
The last census in Scotland recorded that over 1.5m people spoke Scots and c.1.9 m had skills in the Scots language, but what about the future? The Future of Scots is a collaborative research project led by the University of Glasgow in collaboration with Education Scotland and Oor Vyce, funded by the Royal Society of Edinburgh, that seeks to answer that question. Through a public attitude survey and subsequent stakeholder workshops the project has laid the groundwork for community-driven language policy-making and new areas of academic research. This one-day symposium brought together stakeholders from the main areas identified by the Scottish Government language policy for Scots: education, creative industries and the media, as well as academics working with minority and under-resourced languages, and the policy makers themselves.
Session 1. Scots language policy and planning – where we are today. With contributions from Michael Russell and Michael Hance, chaired by Joanna Kopaczyk
Session 2. Language policy and planning – lessons from outwith Scots. With contributions from Rob Dunbar (University of Edinburgh), Ragnhild Ljosland (University of Highlands and Islands), Wilson McLeod (University of Edinburgh), Henrique Monteagudo (University of Santiago de Compostela), Miriam Villazon Valbuena (University of California), and Colin Williams (Cardiff University), chaired by Bernadette O’Rourke, with the assistance of Louis Coeyman (University of Glasgow).
Session 3/ and 4. Theme tables Small-group discussion of themes emerging from the project survey and workshops: Education, Getting Rid of Stigma, Official Body, Official Status, Raising awareness, Standardisation, Sustaining Speakers. Led by moderators: Caitrin Armstrong (Scottish Book Trust), Thomas Bruce-Caddick (Young Scot), Iain Craig (Historic Environment Scotland), Michael Dempster (Scots Language Centre), Bruce Eunson (Education Scotland), David Gilliland (Ulster-Scots Community Network), Laura Green (Scots Language Centre), Alice Heywood (National Library of Scotland), Dawn Leslie (University of Aberdeen), Robert McColl Millar (University of Aberdeen), Clare McFadden (Scottish Government), Stuart Pescodd (Scottish Government), Sadie Ryan (University of Glasgow), Sylvia Warnecke (Open University).
Session 5.Panel discussion: building the future of Scots. The final panel discussion bringing together the main points from the theme tables, identifying points of action, potential collaborations, remaining challenges, and future directions. With contributions from theme moderators and Bernadette O’Rourke, chaired by Joanna Kopaczyk.