This week, I was delighted to have been able to attend the very first Scots Language Awards at the Mitchell Theatre in Glasgow.  Presented by Alistair Heather and Frieda Morrison and launched by Hands Up for Trad, this event is a huge step in the growth of our language. With memorable speeches from the likes of Billy Kay, Michael Dempster and Bruce Eunson, this outstanding event was a wonderful way of bringing people together to celebrate our language.

IMG_4479In my school days and prior, many of us had teachers who did not allow us to speak or write anything in Scots. We were always told that we spoke “bad English” & were forbidden from writing in our language. Because of that, many of us native speakers find it difficult to write in Scots as we had been taught that it was “not a written language”.  However, despite being spoken by a third of our population, it’s only been in the last 15-20 years that things have started to change for the better. There is now funding available for educational materials for schools in the various Scots dialects. We’re now seeing more poetry, books, newspaper articles and films in Scots. Thanks to these people promoting the use of our language, it should now continue to grow. All this was unimaginable just 20 years ago.

Scots is classed as “vulnerable” by UNESCO and with this year being the UN’s International Year of Indigenous Languages, this was an awesome inaugural event to coincide with that.

As well as celebrating the achievements by the winners and nominees, we were treated to a wonderful array of entertainment with music from Iona Fyfe, poetry read by author Susi Briggs & actress Julie Duncanson and various songs performed by folk singer/songwriter Steve Byrne. You can watch one of Steve’s performances here.

The event was backed by arts agency Creative Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Scots Language Centre and will return next year.

These were the categories & winners:

Scots Writer of the Year sponsored by Scots Language Centre – Morna Young
Scots Media Person of the Year  – Billy Kay
Scots Bairns’ Book of the Year sponsored by Scottish Government – Diary o a Wimpy Wean by Thomas Clark
Scots Speaker of the Year – Frieda Morrison
Young Scots Speaker of the Year sponsored by Education Scotland – Iona Fyfe
Scots Teacher of the Year sponsored by Scottish Qualifications Authority – Kirsty Crommie (Deanburn Primary, Falkirk)
Scots School of the Year sponsored by Itchy Coo / Black & White Publishing -Hawick High School, Scottish Borders
Scots Project of the Year – Doric Film Festival
Scots Business o the Year – Itchy Coo/Black & White Publishing
Scots Performer o the Year sponsored by Tracs – Gary Roberston

Janet Paisley Lifetime Achievement Award – Sheena Blackhall

If you’re interested in learning Scots, I have written an online course with Language Boost which includes audio and Anki flashcard decks. More details are here.

October Language Goals:

Languages of Scotland

  • I will be in Japan for most of October because I am presenting about the Languages of Scotland at the Polyglot Conference. My workshop will be split half & half on Scots and Scottish Gaelic. I’ll talk about the history of both languages, the current status and I’ll be teaching various expressions.
  • Submitting a short blog post in Scots to the Scots Language Centre.
  • After Japan, I’ll be continuing to maintain or improve my best 7 languages with skype lessons on Italki.com (Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Catalan, French, German and Afrikaans)
  • Also after Japan, I’ll be spending more time organising the Edinburgh Language Event . Register on the site to be notified when tickets go on sale. If you’d like to speak at the event, please fill out our speakers’ form here.