Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.
Investigation 2 minute read

Spikkin Scots: New survey reveals how Scotland really feels about the Scots language

In July 2020, asked readers to share their views on the Scots language and whether they might support a campaign to increase recognition of it in Scotland today.
Philippa Gerrard
Doric street art in Aberdeen created by the Graffiti Granarchists

Scotland has never been asked how it feels about the Scots language.

The 2011 census featured a generic question asking respondents if they spoke Scots, and while 1.5million pencils ticked “yes”, the questions stopped there.

Yet in the decade that has followed, more questions than ever before have been raised about our indigenous tongue.

Fears that the language might die out are very real.  The profound and potentially terminal situation Scots Gaelic has found itself in serves as a stark warning.

Yet while Gaelic may be dead within a decade, Scots is still struggling to be seen as a legitimate language at all.

But while experts and activists take up the majority of newspaper inches, few have asked how the Scottish public feel about it all.

In July 2020, DCT Media (owner of the Press & Journal, The Courier and other media outlets across Scotland) asked readers to share their views on the Scots language and whether they might support a campaign to increase recognition of it in Scotland today.

Here are the results:

We were also inundated with comments from people wanting to share their views on the issue, with hundreds and hundreds of messages covering all sides of the Scots language debate. Here are just a selection of our favourites.

In favour of supporting the Scots language

Many participants in the survey felt passionate that the Scots language should not be allowed to fade from daily use in favour of “proper English”, with lots of support for giving Scots more recognition. There were many memories of being told off in school for using Scots, and the realisation that this has impacted the way they speak even today. Despite that, there are countless happy memories associated with Scots. For many, it remains the language of everything which is dear to them; their family, their friends and their community.

Against supporting the Scots language

In our survey criticism of Scots mainly centred around the belief that the language does not need additional support, and that to spend money on it would be a waste of public funds. Some believe that to support the language is to make a strong political statement, while others don’t believe it is a language worth recognising at all.

Is the Scots language just a way of life?

Hidden amongst all the strong opinions was a different sort of comment; a nostalgic memory or humorous moment in which Scots took centre stage. One individual compares the language to a comfortable pair of old slippers, which might just be the most sentimental yet accurate way of describing it I’ve ever read.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from The Courier Courier Investigations team

More from The Courier