A wee scrieve oan Scots leid policy

scotlandwall-1By David Officer, artist and writer based in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire.

The launch of Creative Scotland’s Scots language policy today is long overdue and sorely needed. I’m sure there’ll be many who view such a policy with suspicion and disdain; no doubt we’ll hear such choice phrases such as “Scots is a dialect, not a language”, “Why are we promoting teuchter rubbish?”, “only neds speak like that” or the classic “no one speaks like that anymore”. But this is precisely why a Scots language policy is needed by Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government, Local Authorities and indeed all our publicly funded organisations across the country.

I am not a natural Scots speaker. Sure, there’s a few words that come freely to me and I’ll likely greet you with “Fit like?” as often as “How’s it going?”, but I grew up “speaking properly” (though with a frustrating speech impediment) and that meant speaking English. This wasn’t something that was necessarily forced on me by any single person or institution, but rather an impact of cultural influence at home, in school and through our media. My parents have fairly neutral accents – my Mum went to secretarial college and has worked on receptions or in offices all her life, but my Dad (a joiner) still has a few doric words up his sleeve. Both come from rural backgrounds here in the Mearns. Stonehaven and Catterline, where I grew up, are both middle class settlements with a smattering of working class people. As a result, anyone who speaks Scots in school is marked as different and children quickly learn to hide their background. In Catterline, many of my close friends were English which made the difference even more pronounced. This continued at Secondary school of course, though there was more acceptance of wee bits of Scots — often emerging in key phrases but not as a whole language. Teachers would chastise students for their glottal stops though and we were told to speak properly.

Then we have our media. With the loss of genuine regionalised TV, we lost our most high profile advocate for Scots. Grampian TV was both loved and ridiculed for its parochial nature, but it ensured the North-East was represented on screen. Now there are very few doric voices on mainstream TV, except for an occasional glimpse of Robbie Shepherd. Radio Scotland has occasional representation, and even BBC Alba chips in with the odd program with a Scots or Doric speaker, but on the whole this is a hidden language. Not like Gaelic, Scotland’s other native tongue which has had high profile backing in recent years, if not vast sums of money (compared to overall media or education spending). Scots has historically had very little support despite being recognised as one of our three native languages. I’m definitely not saying we should stop supporting Gaelic in favour of Scots, this isn’t an either/or thing. We should be advocating and supporting both at far greater levels than we do currently.

The very fact that Scotland has 3 languages to draw upon is cause for celebration, not consternation. Multi-lingualism leads to higher standards in education, language skills and employability. Language is living, breathing, evolving and a marker of our culture and society. To turn our back on our native languages is to throw away where we’ve come from and what made us who we are today. And this isn’t some kind of nationalistic thing about native Scots. Scots (the language) has drawn influence and been shaped by those who have moved here and those places where we’ve been. Doric has much in common with the languages of lowland Western Europe, but this is hardly discussed, taught or known about even here in Aberdeenshire. We are denying our history, our culture and an opportunity to see common connections with our European neighbours.

No one really wants to live in a homogenous society, full of indentikit towns with everyone speaking perfect Queen’s English — just ask the Queen how dull that must be. It’s our differences that bring our society to life. A Scots language policy should encourage this expression, but not define it; it should advocate but not enforce and it should educate without claiming ownership. Scots, like most languages, is a language of the people. It evolves with us as we grow and as we use it in our daily lives. What has happened over the years is that this use has been artificially restricted, actively discouraged and unconsciously removed. We need to stop being afraid or unsure about writing or speaking in Scots, claim it as ours and be proud to use it.

When I worked at a prominent North-East rural arts venue, I felt it was weird that the venue never used Scots in any of its communications. We had a very brief discussion in the office about this and it was agreed that there was no reason not to use it, but that it shouldn’t be forced and nor should it restrict our accessibility to the venue’s overall audience (we didn’t want to alienate non-Scots speakers obviously). So, I would use it now and again on our social media pages and I put it on the bottom of our mailing list emails, pointing people to our website and social media platforms. I felt it reflected the location and history of the area we worked in and while few people noticed or commented, it seemed a small, inconsequential effort to increase acceptance of Scots in official communications. Sadly, since I and many of my colleagues moved on from that organisation, they have stopped this practice. It feels like a lost opportunity. Creative Scotland’s new policy commits them to working with funded organisations to advocate use of Scots. I hope this isn’t met with resistance but viewed as an opportunity for organisations to naturally engage with their audiences in new ways, giving them a way of expressing their work that will connect with groups and their locations in a way they haven’t done while talking solely in English. It shouldnae be a sair fecht, but a natural progression of their existing communications.

So, how will this help Scots speakers, or non-Scots speakers who are interested in the language? I hope that a policy of advocacy will lead to greater awareness about Scots among modern residents. It certainly feels like it’s been a fading language over the years and that less people are speaking it in everyday life. There are wee shoots of hope. The recent BBC Radio 2 short story contest showed that children are still using lots of Scots words, if not writing or speaking wholly in the language (oh, and it is a distinct language by almost every definition and recognised as a regional or minority language by the UK Government and the EU). That shows there’s still an interest in our linguistic heritage. Through our national arts agency we have an organisation who could enable great change in the national perception of Scots. It is through our culture, our works of art, our writing and our language that we ultimately influence and reflect our society. If Creative Scotland can encourage our artists and cultural organisations to advocate Scots as a form of expression and communication then we might just save this wonderfully poetic and expressive language from being a historical curiosity, and reclaim a bit of ourselves in the process.

Ah’ll end is scrieve wi a wee spiel aboot ma current experience wi spikkin the doric. Ower the years ah’ve worked a number o jobs in retail an customer service an ah aywis felt that ah could spik to abidy. Ah used this as an opportunity tae spik mair doric an ower the years ah’ve grown mair comfortable spikkin fit should be ma natural tongue. Ah use it regularly in work and socially, but rarely fan spikkin wi ma wife (it’s jist nivvir bin a hing wi us, she speaks properly). Ah’m trying to spik it tae ma baby son, because ah hink he shid grow up hearing is leid. Whether he chooses tae spik it is up tae him, but ah winnae tell the loon he needs tae spik English or Scots, he jist needs tae be himsel nae matter fit ony ither fowk spier at i loon. Ah jist want him tae hae the choice. If naebody spiks it, fit choice dae wi hae?


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Comments (58)

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  1. Northman says:

    Has Shetland joined Norway, as you have missed it off your map of Scotland.

  2. Doug says:

    Fit like? Well, that fair tak me back to haein the tale o the biscuit tin in ma lug.

    In all honesty, I always got a fair clap if I didn’t ‘speak properly’ and it saddens me that I don’t have the choice to actually speak the Doric. I very much enjoy reading it though. If I tried speaking it, I’m fairly sure that I would sound like some condescending prat saying ‘och aye the noo’ in a misguided attempt to make a Scot feel at home.

    1. WILL CASEY PURVIS says:

      will casey purvis

  3. Jac Gallacher says:

    I have a real affection for Scots, and mix Scots words with English on a daily basis. It’s braw. Enjoyed this article

    1. gn2 says:

      Jac said: “I have a real affection for Scots, and mix Scots words with English on a daily basis. It’s braw. Enjoyed this article”

      Not entirely sure Scots can lay claim to the word “braw”?
      Watching subtitled Swedish/Danish TV series The Bridge I recently observed that braw, kirk and bairn seem to be derived from Scandinavian lingo.
      Wouldn’t be surprised if more Scots came from our neighbours across the watter.

      1. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:

        I’d be interested to be corrected, but “braw” is surely from an everyday Gaelic word meaning “fine”, “excellent”, “lovely” etc (from old Irish: “bregda”).

        Cf modern Irish: “Lá breá gréine” = “fine sunny day”; “obair bhreá” = “excellent work”; “béile breá” = “excellent meal”, etc.

        Scottish: “latha brèagha” = “fine day”; “caileag bhrèagha” = “lovely-looking girl”, etc.

        Have a listen to the Connacht and Munster pronunciations here:

        1. Alan says:

          Braw is a Scots form of brave that came about when in older Scots word final ‘f’ and ‘v’, were often absorbed by the preceding vowel or disappeared when in the middle of a word. Other examples are deil (devil), dou (dove), gie (give), hae (have) and shirra (sherrif).

          1. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh says:

            Thanks Alan.

            I was in fact familiar with the Scots Dictionary entry on this, which of course fully confirms your clarification –

            I confess I was being a bit mischievous. The corresponding word in Irish Gaelic is just so uncannily similar in sound and import.

            Coincidence I guess. I duly bow on the matter!

  4. Tam Dean Burn says:

    It’s barry thit Scots seems tae be comin tae the fore the noo. Ah’ve goat quite fixated wi it lately, since daein Eddie Morgan’s Scots translations o Mayakovsky wi the Glesga Improvisers Orchestra, bein in the epic auld Scots play Ane Satire O the Thrie Estaites it Linlithgow, readin the Scots versions o Julia Donaldson buiks like The Gruffalo tae bairns as pairt o Culture 2014 an in the Children’s Wid, learnin sum o Macdiarmid’s and Soutar’s poetry fir luvely wee joabs an maist recently learnin Hamish Henderson’s The Freedom Come-All-Ye tae sing it Anne McLaughlin’s Election Rally. Ah’ve bin hinkin a loat aboot hoo learnin oaf be hert is a key tae it aw and lookin tae rin wi this. Ah spraffed oan aboot it fir ma Culture-Whoat Nixt? provocation here https://soundcloud.com/forculture-1/tam-dean-burn an jist need tae git a predictive text set up in Scots tae make aw this screivin easier!

    1. David Officer says:

      Cheers Tam, is there any recordings of the stuff you did with GIO? I’d love to hear that. I find it really hard to write in Scots, hence why it only appeared in the final paragraph (and I should probably apologies for any poor doric that is in there). Maybe predictive text is the answer! The problem is training your brain to write that way. My thoughts are so connected to English and my fingers just type that out as I think it. For writing in Scots there’s an extra step where I have to really consider how I would write that, how it would be spelt and then reread the whole piece to pick up all the other bits I’ve missed.

      I guess the benefit of this policy is that kids might gain the confidence to write in Scots from an early age and to have it come as naturally as writing in English. When I was at school it was only ever encouraged around Burns Night.

      1. Tam Dean Burn says:

        Here’s a link tae ma vimeo o a big GIO gig

        and there’s sma’er settins thair anaw be Feirly Leid oor wee band oot o GIO. Gettin thum intake it young is defo the answer! A saw Education Scotland ur promotin Scots tae…

  5. Barbara Gribbon says:

    There’s a wee irony. Kill a language in the playground, then teach it in class.

    1. That was Billy Kay’s line about being brought up in Ayrshire, you’d get the belt for speaking in Scots for 363 days of the year, then on Burns Day you’d get a prize for it.

  6. Darien says:

    ‘Establishment Scotland’ is the main institutional barrier tae speakin Scots. The mair public school and English folk appointed tae heed up a’ the state agencies, skuls, uni’s, etc etc, the less Scots language is likely. Holyrood needs tae lead this – so Mrs Presiding Officer (surely ‘Speaker’ is mair respectful?), get Scots lingo on a’ the parliament’s papers and website etc, and intae the civil service an a’. The EBC is a ‘purely’ English organisation so we can forget them, fir noo. Oor Scots language is as important as oor land! We are hivin land reform – so lets huv languge reform! Lets huv a national policy on language that respects this vital part o’ oor heritage. As in Flanders, and Quebec, and Greenland, by the way! We’re no English, and language is a key defining feature o’ oor nation – so lets huv mair Scots and nae constraints – remove the constraints – all of them – and let oor Scots tongue go free!


    Seems a step in the right direction.

    Tip: anyone on this entire page who uses ‘oo’ isn’t writing Scots. One is using southern English form to write Scots words. Understandable as we all know English. But our is the same as dour for us. It’s not a new rule. Using ‘oo’ is however. Evict these across the board and Scots would be accelerated like never before. Pronunciation and form would fall into place by default.

    Most people now know for example that o’ is incorrect.

    We will eventually get there.

    1. Darien says:

      as in ‘huis’, and uitgang, we ken that. But nae need tae be snobbish aboot it – a’body can make mistooks!

      1. WILL CASEY PURVIS says:



    2. Darien says:

      I suppose ‘oor wullie’ isnae guid Scots in your een eether?

    3. Mark Ó Domhnaill says:

      If you are interested in standardising Scots spelling, give this page a look:


      I’ve started a project to standardise and promote a Scots spelling system and hopefully have it officially recognised.


    I’m with you in trying to keep the Doric and Scots alive, to the extent that I even wrote a novel, based in the North East, with large sections in undiluted Doric. Therein lies the problem. Once I’d written this book, where on earth could something with such a small potential audience be marketed, even if it was to be given away free? I foolishly imagined that there would be small, ebook web sites where material in Doric could be exchanged, but have not yet come across one. Have I missed something, or is this a gap that we have to find a way of filling?

    1. David Officer says:

      You should get in touch with Duncan Lockerbie at Tapsalteerie: tapsalteerie.co.uk

  9. old battle says:

    Well frieends, what a hellavah state
    Scots Labour done disintegrate!
    Labour’s doon tae only wan
    So the working class must have its plan
    Tae find a voice that is its ain
    Yin that disnie carry new-labour’s shame
    That fights austerity and the cuts
    That disnie double-speak: nae buts!
    That disnie blether o compromise
    O class betrayal and Blairight lies
    Yet we must act; the time is now.
    But who? And what? And why? And how?

    Demockracy has worked its tricks
    Gin yin party 56
    A popular chorus has been sent
    Tae sing for ‘us’ in yon Parliament
    But heh…’ yu’z… the 56
    What content is in yer script?
    Passionate words bout a ‘new nation state’?
    While folk up here have an empty plate
    Your struggle to park yer arse
    On green benches… a bloody farce
    When yer clap gets a firm “ No thanks!”
    Hey! Don’t forgot our hunger food banks?
    56 o 56, forget the fkn politricks
    The Wastemonster feeds on fresh fools
    Who forget which class writes the rules.

    So meantime, back at our bit
    We are minded where our poor sit
    What is the real street-level condition
    In this land o contradiction?
    Is life full? Or is life empty?
    In this land of poverty and plenty.
    We’ve been demandin for lang-ages
    Decent jobs and living wages
    For hoosies that we can afford
    Free fae landlords and the hoard
    O greed at war wi social need!

    Heal the pain o folks frustration
    In this land a sufferation!
    Hey awe yu doon there
    Listen tae a lang-sang o despair
    Ignore the Westminster stramash
    Defend sovereignty AND the working-class!

    old battle

  10. Dab Haun says:

    I was at the launch of the policy yesterday at the NLS and it was a very hopeful and uplifting event. Of course I have subsequently seen fairly typically disparaging comments in the msm feedback columns about ‘wastes of money’ ‘slang’ ‘not a real language’, perpetrated – one would assume – by the self hating brigade. Scots has a long and rich literary tradition, I sincerely hope it has a future. Remember, a language is a dialect with an army and a navy as the American socio-linguist Max Weinrech so pertinently pointed out (in defense of Yiddish, as it happens, another language attacked throughout its history)

  11. Bob in the Whuns says:

    This is a geed speil man. Love it. Wi wur big neebor an a that union o seeventeen oh seeven lang ago it wis ay ganny be a cultural tilt tae crush oor ways and war ain way o talkin, coz the way the French are wi their clais and gear they wear, the prood English ar wi their menners and the way they talk. Sae we were gonna be telt oor menners were barbaric and we werny civilised an a that and daft Scots elites aped their neebors when they went doon sooth and then battert it intae oor heids that oor language wis inferior and had tae be soarted ie stoppet.

    An a this is distinct contradistinction tae the ritual o Rabbie Burns suppers what the Scots leid wis a richt for a day an nicht. Yet, dis Rabbie no show us that oor language is fine and fair and anj art when ye get it richt> We really dae besmirch his talent and memory by ignoring oor ain language Scots maist o the time. Guid old Kailyerd history and the White Heather club semi-colonialisation of oor supposedly inferior culture has led us tae this place we are in noo. Time tae resurrect it. Just let Tam Dean Burn loose cos naebudy is better at reciting stuff than that great chiel. Hae ye heard his Freedom Come a Ye? By the whippersnapper whuns o the ragged cliffs o oor tappest mountains that man can belt oot that sang like nithing oan earth! I nearly bleerd ma een wi greetin tae hear him singin it sae weel recntly. Even if we tak wi a mix o guid Scots and English then whits the difference, since we hae had oor ain tongue diluted fir mony a century and e’en at his verra best Rabbie’s verses are aften a guid mix of Scots wi English onyway. It’s time tae unite the language o the hert and the language o the heid…….. and mark this yin truth, oor ain Leid is yin helleva egalitarian kit of words tae its verra core. Its burst balloons o pretentiousness wi a wurd: yer joost haverrin man. A great piece David and geed (Galloway irish hybrid) comments!

    1. WILL CASEY PURVIS says:


      1. WILL CASEY PURVIS says:


        1. WILL CASEY PURVIS says:

          fishermen and smugglers

          going back to take up the trade

  12. Lochside says:

    Ah wis brocht up speakin’ sooth west lallans wi’ twae doric spikin’ mither and faither.
    At schul ah was beltit fur speakin Scots as wis a’ the ither weans. we yeased a lot o’ Scots’ words in the playgrun but nut in the classroom.
    Ah’ll no deave ye wi’ a’ the auld words that are nearly deid, bit yin thing whit grieves me is the soond o Scot’s is changing ever mair….nae ‘loch’, but ‘lock’, nae ‘whales’ but ‘wales’.
    The media and airts is hoachin wi English and their like, Scots wi bools in their moos, wi nae time fur the Scots tung. Unless we tak tent o’ oor native tung and wye o daein things then we lose a’thing that maks us Scots. We a’ ken this tae be facts and as Rabbie jaloused they ur ‘chiels that winna ding’.

  13. Mary Murray says:

    Trouble is, there is no standard way of writing Scots. I can’t be bothered with writing ‘oan’ for ‘on’ and ‘nut’ for ‘not’ and so on.

    1. WILL CASEY PURVIS says:


    2. WILL CASEY PURVIS says:


      OH OH

    3. Mark Ó Domhnaill says:

      I have started a project to create and promote a standardised spelling for Scots. The spelling system itself has been created and whats next to do is to gain official recognition

      More can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/SSSskreiv

  14. Stone-circle says:

    Id just like to add that for many years now Scottish MCS (“rappers” for want of better word) writers and performers of poetic, rhyming lyrics performed over music, have been releasing non-stop material in constant harsh scots, scots-english, doric, lallands and slang, (whether scheme or otherwise). Its my view, opinion and experience which brings me to state that I believe this to be the purest Scottish based media which has, for a long time now, fully and truelly embraced, uncompromisingly, our language, grammar and speak, It is the main scottish based art (recorded art) which fully and unashamedly puts scots language to its full use. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_hip-hop

    1. David Officer says:

      A damned good point, well made. Cheers min.

    2. Doug says:

      I’d also like to point to the variety of the Lallans/Doric etc.. where does the Dundee Street Poet sit ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4siORoafkQ4

  15. Michael says:

    I’ve always been impressed by the fact that only in Scots can you make a sentence out of only the vowels and generous applications of the glottal stop- A’ E’ I’ O’ U’. I ate it all up. At no barry? I hink so.

  16. Darien says:

    Land reform. Language reform. Language and land are the two fundamental building blocks of the Scottish nation, indeed of any nation. We have a Minister heading up land reform and we should therefore have a Minister leading language reform. The latter should include Scots, Gaelic, Doric, etc. Nae mair cringe! Oor language is whit defines us as a people.

    1. WILL CASEY PURVIS says:

      YOU ARE MY MAN!!

    2. Paddy S Hogg says:

      Excellent call. We NEED a Minister for Language. Time to lobby the appropriate people in Edinburgh.

  17. Jones says:

    Ken fit yer spekin aboot min. I used tae bide nae afa far awa fae whur ye bide richt noo. Ken, while a young loon. Still Teuch at heart. And still chaffin awa wi the Doric mind.

    I think the problem with regional/ monority languages like Doric or Scots is that they become political tools and can be divisive when they ought to be inclusive and ought to be celebrated for their own sake. Whether that’s ‘speak properly, the Queen’s English’ or ‘It’s oor tongue’ bizarely constrained by the accidental parameters of nation.

    One of the interesting things about growing up in the North East during the 80’s was the influx of Northern English/ West lowlanders into the area. This was prior to the professionalisation of the Oil industry, when much of early technical migrant expertise came from old heavy industries in North East (England/ Humberside) and to a lesser degree West central Scotland. Places like Sunderland/ Newcastle, Redcar and Hull old British steel workers and shipyards. And the striking thing was the similarity in language they brought with them. I had a mate who came from Hartlepool and his grandparents came up and could understand local Doric speakers much better than most, not perfectly, but many overlapping words, yet Scots speakers from the West off Scotland struggled. This is because linguistic transfer, especially in coastal regions was by sea not across land, and linguistic development mirrored trade (fishing) So a fisher from Hartelpool used words similar to a Fisher from Peterhead or the Broch because they had greater trading interaction and as they followed the herring up and down the east coast. As mentioned in the article this was mirrored across the North sea with the Low countries and Denmark/ Norway where much of middle and Old English (the root of Doric) came from. As far south as Lowestoft they have Doric signs and a Aberdonian Doric speaking society, mainly due to the mass migration in the last century of the Fishwives who would follow the fishing fleet around the country and who settled in the South.

    I’m all for the support and preservation, encouragement of Doric and Scots and other regional languages, as I am Gaelic, but I fear it being used artificially for political ends, to define a ‘them’ and ‘us’. English is English and Scots is Scots and culture stops at the tweed, when really it is messy and overlapping all over the place. If your concerned about the culture and language you have to follow the language and culture and not try and put it in an exclusive box to suit a political/ nationalist agenda. Also from a NE perspective, the centralisation of Scotland in terms of culture can be equally as frustrating as having the Queens English enforced.

    1. Jones says:

      In fact I would go as far to say that the West central domination of Scotland culturally and linguistically speaking (in the media and in government/ education/ culture policy ) is more of a threat to the uniqueness of North East, than the overall UK is. Scots is often assumed by those in Glasgow environs to be synonmous with Doric, when it isn’t. Similarly, when talking of Scottish culture, west central dominates. Alistair Gray/ Kelman/ Al Kennedy etc are more Glaswegian writers than ‘Scottish writers’ in the same way that Grassic Gibbon, a loon fae Mackie academy is mere North East (and lived most of his adult life in Welling Garden city). Overt nationalism is just as much a threat to the plurality of culture as ‘imperialism’ from further afield.

      Being a tuchter fae the shire, I feel much more association with the likes of Laurie Lee’s rural novel Cider with Rosie, which has similarities to Sunset Song, than I do the Industrial dystopia of Unthank and Lanark. But yet I’m constantly told by others that it is ‘my’ culture.

  18. Barry Graham says:

    Something I recently wrote that pertains: The Crime of Being Scottish http://www.thebigclickmag.com/the-crime-of-being-scottish/

  19. Jones says:

    ‘They pretend it’s a dialect of English (when it’s no closer to English than German is)….’

    Sorry but it really isn’t. This is just anti English nationalist Tosh. As far as I understand it there was a split in Middle English around about 8th century, leading to the differences between Scots and Southern English, brought over by the Angles (whose language was different to Saxon, although very similar.) However, the split was a British one, as it included Yorkshire, Northumberland in the North with lowland Scots (especially with the Viking influence). Cumbria and the West had there own language. Unless your going to tell me the Yorkshire/ Northumbric dialect is less closer to ‘queens english’ than Scots? e.g) Aye, Bairn, wuthering, clarty, dubs, bonny, baht, wee un/ wean, divent (very Doric but also Geordie), Speyk, Keks, breeks, loon (used in some coastal English towns), Oose/ hoose, Aht/oot, ahin, Cadge, Ken, frae, fru….there are many similar North English words to Scots.

    Besides language is fluid and constantly changing. Not static.

    1. Jones says:

      Forgot Chuffed, chunter/ chunder, clemmed, Cluthered, doff, don, Eyup (aye aye), flit/ flitting (moving), Fash/ fret (used all down the east coast), gawpin, gassing, yaking, bothy, lugs, midden (used in Yorkshire also)…and my favourite is futtrut (ferret).

    2. jaymac says:

      Both languages have the same origin. They both are offshoots of Frisian. The Frisians setted in what is now the North of England and the East of Scotland. The geographic distances led to the separate development of the languages. Hence the closeness of some of the words. The Northern English version was further modified by the Danes, Angles and Normans, the Scots did not have so much input input imposed, so it remained closer to the original.
      So the next time some one says speak English, just remember you are being asked to speak in dialect. And no one dialect is better than another.

      1. Jones says:

        It is strange sometimes, I work with a lot of Scandinavians, Danes and Norwegians and when your in the pub with them after a few ales when you listen to them speaking Danish/ Norwegian it’s bizarre because it sounds like Doric in intonation and tone and pronunciation but is still mostly unintelligible.

        1. WILL CASEY PURVIS says:


  20. Elaine S says:

    My mum god rest her soul still spoke Doric though not as thick as my brother who still lives in Aberdeenshire. Living most of her life in Fife did not lose those lovely words though she toned it down so the Fifers could understand her. I miss her so much speaking in her mither tongue. Time we all returned to the 3 languages of Scotland…my generation was made feel ashamed of Scots language so pushed us to speak proper English….I want to reclaim it.

    1. WILL CASEY PURVIS says:


  21. Ramstam says:

    We winna get the Scots leid taen seriously if folk Dinna see it scrievit doun. Bi the wey Doric is a by-leid o Scots. Maist folk nouadays spell Scots the wey they hear it. Tae mak ony kinna progress we maun leuk tae the past an mind that Scots haes hunners o years o leeterature ahint it – we needna invent ony new spellins!!

  22. Stoneyquine says:

    “Being a tuchter fae the shire, I feel much more association with the likes of Laurie Lee’s rural novel Cider with Rosie, which has similarities to Sunset Song, than I do the Industrial dystopia of Unthank and Lanark. But yet I’m constantly told by others that it is ‘my’ culture”.

    So lovely to read this, and I couldn’t agree more with, having spent my first 18 years in and around “Stoney” (Stonehaven!). I spoke “properly” in the house, but Doric with my pals – I remember my Dad giving us a lift to a school disco (at Mackie) and he said it was as if I switched into another language when my pals got into the car. He was more intrigued than annoyed. I think language started to change a bit when the oil took off – initially there were quite a lot of Americans arriving, then a mix of other people. I visited Stoney a few years ago and was surprised how neutral teenagers accents were.

  23. Ramstam says:

    Aither James Robertson or Matt Fitt wad mak a guid Scots leid Scriever. Baith ower the years hiv
    Contributit tae the raisin o standarts in Scots scrievin an hae a guid unnerstaunin o baith warkin cless an the mair leeterary Scots.
    Read “The Smoky Smirr o Rain” editit bi them. A braw read.

  24. Michael Stuart Green says:

    Someone I once taught, whose home was Iverurie, maintained that if he spoke his native Doric slowly enough he could be understood perfectly in Holland.

    1. WILL CASEY PURVIS says:

      as ive said fuc*um

  25. Michael Stuart Green says:

    Spelling correction: Someone I once taught, whose home was Inverurie, maintained that if he spoke his native Doric slowly enough he could be understood perfectly in Holland.

  26. Neil says:

    Doric = Scottish language to be completely ignored, last surfaced in society in 1979. Goodbye to my tongue. Shocking how something as basic as a dialect can be so ignored by the ignorant. Culture? You can’t even speak your own language.

    1. Ramstam says:

      Neil, Maist Scots speikers dinna speik Scots aw day but switch back an forrit tae inglish Whan they need tae. This needna mean ye hae tae gie up on yer Scots awthegither.
      Ane an a hauf million folk wur self-identified as speikers o the leid in the census. We arna alane!

  27. Alexander Lang says:

    see POTB ; Pushing Out The Boat issue 13 if ye want tae see the flouerin o Lallans – wunnerfu wirk – talent by the ton – lang may its lum reek!

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