https://www.duolingo.com/langlearnerZeke

Scots leid (Scots language)

Hello. I'm wondering if anyone here on Duolingo speaks the Scots language fluently, or enough to make a course. I don't speak it myself, but I'm wondering how much interest there is out there for a Scots course.

You may be wondering, "why not Gaelic, if there was a Scottish course, it should be gaelic". Well, it turns out that even though Scottish Gaelic is much more well known than Scots is (at least to non-Scottish people), Scots is much more widely spoken, and has many more native speakers. (Although, many Scots use neither full English nor full Scots, but something in between because the two are so similar).

So yeah, just wondering if there are any people out there who speak Scots, or people who don't (like me) but want to see a course made.

2 years ago

27 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Angus965094

I would agree that there should be a Duolingo course regarding Scots. It is as much a language as modern English is, since they both evolved from Middle English. To prove a point, here's a link to the Scots thesaurus and it seems it's not the Inuits that have 50 words for snow but us Scots.

http://scotsthesaurus.org/thescat/883/

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/RadioScotch
RadioScotch
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Hello. I speak scots english fluently. First language was scottish gaelic. Lived in Scotland for a bit and then started to speak Scottish english. Now I speak english. But I am still fluent in scots english and I contributed to duolingo a little bit ago. So hopefully it gets accepted.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrederickPatton

I would be VERY grateful to any Scots speaker in the Duolingo community to offer a course in this language. Its poetic qualities, cultural importance, and the beauty of its phonetics all call out for a course. Sound recordings would be essential. Thanks in advance!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/podsolnechnik13

This would be really helpful as there are very few courses anywhere to learn Scots.

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Andrew-Macdonald

You could probably learn the language in less than four months. You don't really have to learn any grammar and the words are as similar to English as you can get. Some words are words we even associate with Scottish English slang, for example the word for boy in Scots is "lad". I've had an interest in the language for a while now since I am 1/4th Scottish descent and Scottish is the dominant European culture in my family over German, French, and Irish. Anyways, if you really want to YOU can be the first contributor towards the course, I believe Memrise has a course on it.

2 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zylbath
Zylbath
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A wud luve tae see a coorse for the Scots leid here on Duolingo. Gin yi need ae haund wi it A'd be real blythe tae help! This is ae gey braw idea! :D

11 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Scottyscarhan

Hey. Gin ye coud wad ye contribute tae the course? A am gaun'ae an tae become an actual course it requires twa people tae contribute.

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JohnReid8
JohnReid8
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Ah'd be glad tae work wi fowk at'd win throo the weather tae mak this coorse.

N here's the first o it, gif ye'r really wantin tae mak this coorse, than we need tae tawk oan hoo we'r gaunae big this afore duolingo can even consider green-lichtin ae Scots coorse.

"Awbodie maks ae mad dash tae the exit."

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Kathy351892
Kathy351892
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I would be really interested in a Scots course, it's such an interesting and misunderstood language. I feel that there is no sense in insisting that Scots isn't a language while maintaining that Norwegian/Danish/Swedish and Croatian/Serbian/Bosnian are separate languages as the degree of mutual intelligibility is very similar.

For anyone who is interested in Scots, I would suggest having a look at Itchy Coo: http://www.itchy-coo.com/index.html

They publish children's books in Scots and have done a lot to raise the profile of the language in schools in Scotland. Matthew Fitt, the founder of Itchy Coo, has recently translated the first Harry Potter book into Scots and you can read a glossary of various Scots terms that he used on the website. A personal favourite is his translation of Quidditch as "Bizzumbaw" from the Scots word for broom "bizzum". You can buy the book on Amazon for around £6 and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Scots as it's a fascinating translation.

You can also find more information about the language here: https://www.scotslanguage.com/ or read the Scots wikipedia here: https://sco.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Howard
Howard
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There's also Scots Radio: http://www.scotsradio.com/

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Durellion
Durellion
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Scots and Gaelic definitely both deserve their place on DuoLingo. All smaller languages should at some point have a course, I think. If DuoLingo's goal is to make language learning accessible, they have to continue to add courses and above all refuse to believe ANY language is too small.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/radikian
radikian
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Yes, please! I love how I can read the scots wikipedia! It's so cool!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mysterywriter221

I'd be happy to lend a hand if this ever gets underway. Where do I volunteer?

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/FrederickPatton

I wish I knew where to volunteer, but you could start by contributing to this forum. Could you share your experiences here that would prove that Scots is a living language? State what your status as a speaker of Scots is. Did you grow up speaking it? Can you tell the difference between Scottish English (which we are all familiar with ) and Scots (Scots leid)? Is there a part of Scotland where there are more speakers of it? How similar is the modern version of Scots to the version in some of the poems of Burns? Do the speakers of Scots generally consider that they are speakers of a language which is separate from English? Are you aware of different dialects of Scots? What do the speakers of Scots call their language when speaking among themselves? Are there any speakers of Scots who are not speakers of English, or are all of them bilingual? Are there still young speakers, or is there a predominance of older speakers? Are people proud to speak this language? Does anyone ever write in the modern Scots language? When? In short, anything you could think of about Scots will be helpful, since I think this forum is monitored. Your comments will certainly all be of interest to me and other linguistically-minded readers. Thanks so much! Sincerely, Professor FP

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JamieSmith797348

Gin it gans brawly wi yersel ah'd a shottie reponin tae a wheen o yer speirins…

Could you share your experiences here that would prove that Scots is a living language?

The latest, most reliable data available on numbers speaking Scots are from the 2011 census. The total number of people who stated they could either, speak, read, write, or understand Scots was 1.9 million (38% of the population). Out of this figure the number of people who said they could speak Scots was 1,541,693 (30% of the population). My source for that information is the Scots Language Centre’s “Brief Analysis of the 2011 Census Results”, published in 2013, and which is available at http://bit.ly/2u9DEzd.

Can you tell the difference between Scottish English (which we are all familiar with) and Scots (Scots leid)?

Yes, absolutely. As most folk are no doubt aware, Scottish Standard English is very close indeed to Standard English. Scots, on the other hand, has its own grammar and vocabulary (see http://www.scotsdictionaries.org.uk/Scots/Grammar/index.html for detail on the grammar). To give a brief history, modern English and modern Scots have the same ancestor, namely Old English. Scots comes from a dialect of Old English called Northumbrian, while Standard English comes from a dialect called Mercian. Figure 1 at http://www.dsl.ac.uk/about-scots/history-of-scots illustrates the evolution and divergence of the languages we now know as Scots and Standard English. Scots has also been influenced by other languages including Norse, French, and Gaelic (source: http://www.scotsdictionaries.org.uk/Scots/History/CulturalContacts.html). In day-to-day speech, most people are probably somewhere on the Scottish Standard English – Broad Scots continuum.

From a personal perspective, as a fluent Scottish Standard English speaker — with some knowledge of spoken Scots and limited knowledge of written Scots — I find that I can understand maybe about half of the Scots that I’ve read since I started taking an interest recently, be it prose (e.g. in Lallans magazine) or poetry (e.g. Burns or MacDiarmid). The more literary words that are used, the more I need to read with a dictionary to hand. Certain common words and expressions I’ve also found not to be obvious, e.g. gin (if), jalouse ([verb] suspect), ilka (each, every), forby (besides, in addition to, as well as). When writing, I also struggle with the correct form of verb to use, and normally have to look it up, despite having heard the words used every day growing up in the Scottish Borders.

So there is a degree of mutual intelligibility, but for me even replying to a simple email in Scots takes some effort. You can’t simply replace Standard English words with Scots words and be confident that it’ll make sense. The listing of idioms at http://scots-online.org/grammar/idioms.asp gives some illustration of this.

You can judge for yourself the difference between Standard English (and, of course, Standard Scottish English) and modern Scots by comparing, for example, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Scots (http://bit.ly/DHR_Scots) and English (http://bit.ly/DHR_English). Also, there is a good summary comparing Scottish Standard English to Standard English at http://scots-online.org/grammar/sse.asp.

Where is Scots spoken?

You can view an interactive map of the 2011 census results at http://bit.ly/Scots_Map. Be sure to select Scots from the dropdown at the top-left.

Do the speakers of Scots generally consider that they are speakers of a language which is separate from English?

A Scottish Government survey conducted in 2010 found that 64% did not think of Scots as a language. (Source: paragraph 3.26 at http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2010/01/06105123/4). The survey report does note, however, that “many of those who disagree [that it’s not a language] (30%) do so strongly (16% in total) highlighting the absence of a real consensus on this issue.”

From my personal perspective, I too would have taken the view that it was not a language until I recently became acquainted with its history, as well as the history of other languages which similarly share a common ancestor (e.g. Danish and Norwegian; Irish and Scottish Gaelic; Czech and Slovak). I was also completely unaware that it was once a language of state (e.g. http://bit.ly/Scots_Parl_1471, http://bit.ly/Scot_Parl_1509). I am in no way a linguist, and I didn’t realise that other languages could be as similar as Scots and English are. I do consider it very odd that, outside of reciting Burns poetry, we were taught virtually nothing at school about the “mither tongue”. I understand things are not quite as bad nowadays.

Are you aware of different dialects of Scots?

Yes. There are four main dialects: Insular, Northern, Central, and Southern. There are sub-dialects within these. Source: http://www.scotslanguage.com/Scots_Dialects_uid117/The_Main_Dialects_of_Scots

Are there any speakers of Scots who are not speakers of English, or are all of them bilingual?

All are bilingual. In terms of spoken Scots, it’s probably fair to say that most people exist somewhere on the Scottish Standard English – Braid Scots continuum.

Are there still young speakers, or is there a predominance of older speakers?

Somewhat more common among older speakers. For data, please see Figure 3 (page 6) of “Scots in the Census: validity and reliability”: http://bit.ly/Scots_Census_Analysis.

Does anyone ever write in the modern Scots language?

Yes. Lallans magazine (http://lallans.co.uk/index.php/lallans) is written wholly in Scots, and has been published since 1973. It features a mixture of prose and poetry. There have been adaptations of popular works, e.g. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (http://amzn.to/2vf02v1), Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (http://bit.ly/2veOE2y), and The Gruffalo (http://amzn.to/2veDnPB). Matthew Fitt wrote an original science fiction novel, “But N Ben A-Go-Go”, in Scots (http://amzn.to/2f04gAG). The National newspaper publishes articles and letters in Scots, e.g. http://www.thenational.scot/author/profile/78880.Rab_Wilson, as does the Bella Caledonia website: http://bellacaledonia.org.uk/category/scots. Of course, poetry continues to be written in Scots, e.g. http://www.tapsalteerie.co.uk. http://bit.ly/Modern_Scots_Poets, Lallans magazine. There’s also a Scots Wikipedia: https://sco.wikipedia.org.

Update: I recently set up a blog to publish original Scots prose. It covers culture, politics, the arts and more. Hae a keek at https://www.makforrit.scot!

1 year ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Scottyscarhan

hello. Scottish gaelic wis ma native language. A can speak scots english fluently. A am willin tae contribute tae a scots english course gin ane becomes available. But yeah usually I just speak modern English

10 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Zander116
Zander116
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I would love to see a Scots course. Don't know that many people know its separate from scottish gaelic though.

9 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/StephIrvin1

I would love to see a Scots course!

8 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Gjvillegas25

I think that would be a fantastic idea! A wud luve tae learn Lallans :)

5 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/ketchw
ketchw
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Also want to see this on Duolingo!

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/NoNameNoFace

I want this. I want to know what Scotsmen are saying when they use Scots. Should be easy to learn. Only small obstacle is it has no written standard.

4 months ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Antares218
Antares218
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I would be interested in contributing to this course if anyone is still up for it :)

2 months ago
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