The Scots language is an important part of Scotland's culture and heritage, appearing in songs, poetry and literature, as well as daily use in our communities.
The 2011 census included a question on the Scots language for the first time. 1.5 million people reported that they could speak Scots and 1.9 million reported that they could speak, read, write or understand Scots.
As the sole custodian of Scots we have a duty to protect this indigenous language and celebrate its contribution to Scotland's identity and future. Although its use has been declining for some time, the rate of decline has slowed in recent years and we aim to halt it entirely.
Scots language policy and next steps
In 2010 we established a Scots language working group whose report (Scots language: Ministerial Working Group report) recommended we develop a national Scots language policy.
We published Scots Language Working Group report: Scottish Government response in 2011 and launched our Scots language policy in 2015. This will be reviewed periodically, and is available in two versions:
We are now working with stakeholders to deliver on the aims outlined in the Scots policy.
Education Scotland has a Scot Language co-ordinator who is working with education authorities and schools to support the teaching of Scots as part of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). More information is available in the CfE briefing.
In 2009 we ensured the financial security of two important Scots organisations by taking over responsibility for their direct funding from the Scottish Arts Council. These are:
From 2016 to 2017 we provided around £400,000 in funding to these bodies and other Scots projects.
The following organisations, funded by organisations including Creative Scotland, also play an important role in promoting Scots:
- Association for Scottish Literary Studies
- Robert Burns Birthplace Museum
- Scots Language Society
- Scottish Poetry Library
- Scottish Storytelling Forum
- Shetland ForWirds
Council of Europe Charter
The European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages was adopted in 1992 to help protect Europe's regional or minority languages, and encourage their use. The UK Government ratified the Charter in 2001 in respect of Welsh in Wales, Scots and Gaelic in Scotland, and Ulster-Scots and Irish in Northern Ireland.
The Scots leid is a important pairt o Scotland's cultural heirship, kythin in sang, poyems an leetratur, an in ilka day uiss in oor communities forby.
The 2011 census comprehendit a question anent the Scots leid for the first time. 1.5 million fowk reportit that thay cuid speak Scots an 1.9 million reportit that thay cuid speak, read, write or unnerstaun Scots.
As the ae guardian o Scots it faws til us tae gie this hamelt leid beild, an mak namely its pairt in Scotland's identity noo an in time tae come. Tho the uiss o't haes been dwynin this while back, thon dwyne haes slawed o late an oor ettle is tae haut this awthegither.
Policy anent the Scots leid an neist steps
In 2010 we estaiblisht a group o fowk tae wirk on the Scots leid that's report recommendit we fesh-on a national policy for the Scots leid.
We set furth a reply in 2011 an gied oor policy anent Scots its first ootset in 2015. Whiles we will cast-ower this again, an a body can tak a swatch o't baith in Inglis an in Scots.
We are wirkin noo wi aw pairt-takars for tae deliver on the ettles that's intil the Scots policy.
Scots in Education
Education Scotland haes a Co-airtar for the Scots Leid that's wirkin wi education authorities an scuils for tae uphaud the teachin o Scots as pairt o the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).
For mair information anent this tak a swatch o CfE briefing.
Bodies that uphauds Scots
In 2009 we made shair that twa important bodies uphaudin Scots wad hae siller eneuch whan we took on tae fund thaim direct like fae the Airts Cooncil o Scotland. Thir bodies is:
Fae 2016 tae 2017 we gied aboot £400,000 funding tae thir bodies an ither Scots projects.
The follaein associes, fundit bi gait o bodies sic as Scotland Makkin, plays important pairts in forderin Scots forby:
- Associe for Lare in the Leetratur o Scotland
- Museum o Robert Burns Caufgrund
- Scots Leid Associe
- Poyetry Leebrar for Scotland
- Storytelling Centre for Scotland
- Shetland ForWirds
Cooncil o Europe Chairter
The European Chairter for Regional or Sma Leids wis taen-on in 1992 for tae gie beild til Europe's regional or sma leids, an gie a lift tae thaim. The UK Government ratified the Chairter in 2001 on behauf o Welsh in Wales, Scots an Gaelic in Scotland, an Ulster Scots an Earish in Norland Irland.