Scots Language – Scots and Twitter Usage

Researchers at McMaster University have produced an interactive map recording word usage on Twitter. The map shows how often various words were used, from Northern England up to the Central Belt. You can sort for dozens of different words, and it gives a clear picture of where these are used, along with a rating for how well-defined the split is between Scotland and England.

While the map is intended to show differences between Scotland and England, you can also see marked differences internally in Scotland, with words from different varieties of Scots. For example, the difference …

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Scots Language – Resources

There are a whole host of websites and publications which you can use for inspiration and guidance on Scots. It would be impossible to compile a complete list of each and every article or text which could be useful, but we’ve assembled a few of the highlights here to get you started. These are all worthy of your time and attention, and if you have the opportunity to read them through we’d highly recommend it. For those who are interested in a particular area however, we’ve grouped them loosely into the Units.

This list is meant purely as a starting point for students who may not know much about the Scots Language, and should not be taken as a list of prescribed texts or sources for the Award. Please be aware that this isn’t an exhaustive list, and that the sources may be valuable for more than one area of study.

Understanding and Communicating Unit:

The Dictionary of the Scots Language ( is a good starting point for any words or phrases you may not recognise. Its comprehensive definitions also provide a good deal of information about etymologies.

The Scottish Language Dictionaries ( run a comprehensive dictionary of Scots, and are also happy to answer queries on certain words and phrases. They can also visit schools by arrangement.

Scuilwab ( is an interactive website which lets learners build on their knowledge of Scots. It is a good starting point for learning Scots.

Itchy Coo ( have a range of publications in Scots for readers of different abilities.

The Corpus of Modern Scots Writing ( and the Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech ( are a huge database of texts in different Scots styles.

The Historical Thesaurus of Scots ( a comprehensive list of Scots words through the ages, with an interactive interface. Words are grouped by categories, allowing readers to explore evolutions and variations of different words. At present, the categories for sports & games, and weather have been completed, with food & drink in the works.

History and Development Unit:

Billy Kay: The Mither Tongue provides an analysis of the formation and development of the Scots Language.

Derrick McClure, Why Scots Matters looks into the factors which impacted the development of Scots.

The Edinburgh Companion to Scots, (Eds. John Corbett, J. Derrick McClure, Jane Stuart-Smith) is a collection of essays which explore the development of Scots.

Languages of Scotland, (Eds. A J Aitken and Tom McArthur) explores the place of the Scots Language in relation to Gaelic and Scottish Standard English.

David Murison, The Guid Scots Tongue is a study of the language which contains good exemplification.

A Scots-Polish Lexicon / Leksykon szkocko-polski (Compiled by Kasia Michalska) allows for direct comparisons between Scots and Polish.

The following guides to grammar are invaluable for information on Scots linguistic features:

Christine Robinson, Modren Scots Grammar

John Corbett & Christian Kay, Understanding Grammar in Scotland Today

Susan Rennie & Matthew Fitt, Grammar Broonie

John Corbett, Language and Scottish Literature

David Purves, A Scots Grammar

Both Units:

The Scots Language Centre ( is filled with useful resources for teachers and learners alike.

The Essential Scots Dictionary (Eds. Iseabail MacLeod & Pauline Cairns) has information on the development of Scots, as well as detailed definitions of Scots words.

Education Scotland’s Scots Language Blether ( is a thriving community for education professionals and Scots Language experts to share ideas and materials.

The BBC has a large archive of video and audio clips in Scots and about Scots (

If there are any other sources you rely on …

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