Scotland-map-web2Bella, tak a bow. Roon o applause, peepul. Aabody that wants the Scots language tae stey a pairt o Scottish life and no dee the daith some wid wish it, gie it up for Bella Caledonia.

A year efter Bella spiered for scrievin in Scots, there are noo forty pieces in the leid that werenae thocht o and widnae hae had a hame a towmond syne.

And yit here they are.

Scrievit in aw dialects, registers and forms by folk fae aw the airts, pairts and vennels o life. At the hin-end o this wud heeliegoleerie year, backward cast an ee and read it aw again. Enjoy. Reflect. See whit we as a language community can dae when we pit wir heid and hert tae it.

And wi the New Year forenent us, we wid noo like tae mak the same caw for mair scrievin in the Mither Tongue in 2017.

Subject? Up tae you. Whit’s on yer mind? Whit’s kittlin yer conscience? Whit’s rippin yer knittin? You tell us. Share it wi us. And dae it in Scots.

And whit kin o Scots?

The Scots neuk on Bella is for aabody. Naebody’s language is barred fae oor braid Scots kirk; this, oor watergaw ceilidh. In the aye-singin speerit o Hamish, it’s a freedom come-aa-ye sae come ben as ye are.

2016 saw great, gallus Scots scrievin in aw 31 flavours o the language aboot Yes, Brexit, futba, the Private Rentit Hoose Sector, BBC, education, the Pairlament, the leid itsel, Violet Jacob and William McIlvanney. Prose, poems, films – lyrical, carnaptious; fu o mense, smeddum and polemic virr. And aw thir by folk sharin their ain personal stories and experiences, even a Jamaican Fifer and a Frenchman.

The maist rewardin pairt o it for me, as I’m shair the ither Bella editors wid say and aw, has been publishin new Scots makars, folk scrievin in Scots for the first time. As Karen Campbell signed aff her honest hertfelt first written piece in Scots back in Januar, ‘A’m still runnin they new shoes in.’

Certes, juist aboot ilka Scots piece publisht on Bella brocht oot the trowies that hate the Scots language. If the cringers and hoodies and the Scots language skelpers lowp ontae their keyboards tae batter oot ‘Scots is NOT a language’ aboot a Scots piece ye’ve juist had publisht on Bella, ye ken ye’re daein somethin richt. Tae borry fae Mhairi Black’s stotter fae Hansard, ‘Hell slap it intae them’.

And we want tae extend the caw for new Scots scrievin in 2017 on Bella Caledonia tae the online Scots language activist community and aw.

A diverse menyie o committit Scots supporters, their views o the leid are aye positive and undauntit but whiles skail owre intae flytin fae concern aboot the spellin o publisht scrievers’ Scots.

Sic fashin and attendant snashin aboot spellin fae ahint the bunkers o social media has scunnered and pit aff at least a dizzen folk fae tryin their haun at publishin in Scots on Bella this year.

It is shairly in aabody’s interest tae foster the confidence tae scrieve in the Scots leid, no huckle it as soon’s it’s roadit. Aiblins it’s mair constructive tae encourage new scrievin in Scots, or for activists themsels tae scrieve pieces for Bella in whit micht in time be taen up as a standard.

The Bella editors aa agree that the estaiblishment o a standard Scots has a role tae play in the general acceptance o the Scots language in oor society. And there’s nae doot eneuch dictionars and exemplars exist for a standard Scots tae be recognised and promotit.

But until ane is universally acceptit, we defend the richt o aw scrievers tae spell their Scots in ony wey they want, and wid mak the point it’s no the wyte o Scotland’s makars and scrievers that the Scots leid is the bonnie broukit bairn or the Rashiecoats o Scottish society that is the day. In fact, if it wisnae for makars like MacDiarmid or Morgan or Lochhead and ithers, whaur wid we be?

Makars, activists, aw o us that uphaud Scots as a national language o Scotland should wark thegither tae pressure the pouers that be tae dae mair for Scots. We hae a Scottish Pairlament and a Scottish Nationalist government that barely tholes the Scots leid forby in the maist tokenistic o weys. They hae the nummers fae the 2011 Census at their disposal – 1.6 million oot o 5 million speak Scots – sae why are the Scots speakers aye at the dowp-end o the queue for provision, siller and respect?

Bella Caledonia is whaur extremes meet. Folk dinna haud back on here and shouldna. It is ane o the forums for debate and intellectual rammies whaur the mettle o the Scots language can be pouked and testit. In 2017 and ayont, Bella will weelcome and share in guid faith aw views aboot the leid and the bleezin political and social issues o the day.

Settin yer thochts and comments doon in five hunner tae a thoosan words in flegless Scots prose minds oor maisters that we’re aye here, that the Scots voice o the Scottish nation will no be wheeshtit. And that, gin Scotland is tae be Scotland again, her Scots speakers and scrievers belang at the hert and no the ootlan o her present and her future.

Send yer scrievin tae:

Bella Caledonia weelcomes Scots scrievers Tammas Clark and Ashley Douglas tae the Scots editorial team.