2.1 Finding and sharing vocabulary

In this section you will look at ways in which Scots vocabulary is currently captured and shared online.

The Dictionary of the Scots Language [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] is a free-to-use digital resource which “represents twenty-two volumes of printed text and contains more than eighty thousand full-word entries. Each entry traces the chronological and semantic development of a Scots word, and gives details of orthographic variants, grammatical inflections, derivative words and phrases, and etymological history. The words and terms defined in the DSL are illustrated by quotations drawn from over six thousand sources, covering a wide range of subject areas within Scottish culture and history. Many of the modern Scots words are also illustrated by evidence from oral sources, and include information on phonological and dialectal variation.”

The Scots Dictionary for Schools App is “a free and easy-to-use Scots-English and English-Scots dictionary for use in the classroom or at home. You can use it to browse or search for words in Scots or English and many words feature audio clips so you can listen to their pronunciation.”

There are various social media sites and groups which share and promote Scots vocabulary. Among these are;

On Facebook:

  • Scots Language Forum – “a discussion group for speakers of Scots and those interested in Scots language and culture”
  • Orkney Reevlers – “a forum for all interested in the Orcadian dialect” (of Scots).

On Twitter:

  • @scotslanguage – “Scots Language Centre promoting and supporting the Scots language”
  • @DoricDictionary – “Promoting the Doric dialect and the humour of the North East of Scotland”
  • @OrkneyWirds – “Orkney Bot o Wirds: wirds fae the Orkney language fower times a day”.

Scotland’s National Centre for Languages (SCILT) has produced a word list which we've made available.

The Scots Language Centre has lists of 100 key words in varieties of Scots.

The Historical Thesaurus of Scots “is a new online resource which aims to categorise the vocabulary of Scots, from the earliest records to the present, according to semantic field. The project is currently in a pilot phase, focusing on selected categories that are rich in Scots vocabulary, such as sports & games, food, and weather.” The thesaurus can be searched in various ways and is useful for a comprehensive list of all the vocabulary in any of the given categories.

Activity 5

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  • Part 2

    If you are a user of Facebook and/or Twitter, explore the sites listed in this section to see what discussions are going on among Scots speakers about the way in which they use their language.

2. Introductory handsel

2.2 Older Scots vocabulary