Scots language survey launched

A PROJECT is being launched today to map how Scots is spoken throughout the nation.

The “Speak for Yersel” project, run by the University of Glasgow, aims to build up a picture of how Scots is used in different places.

Jennifer Smith, professor of sociolinguistics at the university, said: “Lots of people say ‘Oh I don’t speak Scots’.

“But just because you don’t sound like Robert Burns, doesn’t mean you’re not speaking Scots.

“We sometimes have an idea that Scots was something that was spoken centuries ago and now it has largely disappeared.

“But step out on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow or Union Street in Aberdeen and you’ll hear people sounding distinctly Scottish.

“We know intuitively that people across Scotland sound very different, so here we want to capture those differences, providing a record of how Scots is spoken in the 21st century.”

The project will look at words, sounds, and sentences from throughout Scotland.

Participants will take part in an anonymous online survey, which will help to map how words and phrases such as “wean”, “nicht”, and “gonnae no dae that” are used.

The researchers highlighted how the use of language changes between generations – while a grandparent might say “nicht” when their grandchild says “night”, the grandchild might say “it’s pure annoying” while their grandparent will still say “it’s very annoying”.

Mary Robinson, a research assistant on the project, added: “Scots is not just a subject you learn in school: it’s a living language that’s spoken by millions of people in Scotland, whether or not they realise it.

“There is no wrong way to speak Scots.

“These surveys aren’t a test to determine if you’re a ‘real’ Scots speaker or not, or if your speech is ‘Scots enough’ or not.

“Instead, it recognises that there are as many valid ways to speak Scots are there are Scots speakers.”

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Plus, don’t miss an interview with fiddle makers Colin and Findlay Tulloch in October’s luxury issue of Scottish Field magazine.