A Kinross mother and daughter are keeping the Scots language alive through their publication of Scots books.
Irene and Ishbel McFarlane have both released separate books this year as part of efforts to keep the language in the public domain.
Irene’s translation of The Night Before Christmas into Scots – titled The Nicht Afore Christmas – was published mere weeks ago and she says sales are already booming.
Ishbel – who now lives in Glasgow – wrote her book, O is for Hoolet in the form of a one-woman play about her experiences of growing up speaking both English and Scots.
Irene said she and her family have worked to promote the use of Scots for years.
“We have been Scots language campaigners for a very long time.
“My husband, Gordon was a member of the Scots Language Society in the 70s and I became secretary in the 80s.
“We would even take Ishbel along to meetings when she was a baby.”
Irene’s decision to translate The Night Before Christmas was formed through a combination on her passion for Scots and her love of Christmas.
She applied for the Scots Language Publication Grant – a scheme that works to support Scots, Gaelic and British Sign Language as minority languages in Scotland – so she could make her publication dream a reality.
She was awarded the maximum amount – around £5,000 – which allowed her to pay for an illustrator.
Irene worked alongside Glasgow-based illustrator Rosemary Cunningham to add colour to her words.
Rosemary said: “I live in a Glasgow tenement flat, just a three-minute walk from the Tenement House museum which inspires my illustrations for the book.
“I’ve worked with communities, created products, run workshops, built art, but this is my first book and it is so exciting.”
“I am thrilled to be working with such wonderful people and to be playing a wee part in promoting Scots language by drawing the city I love.”
Having grown up in a Scots-speaking household, Ishbel developed her own passion for the language.
From the age of six, she would also recite poems in Scots.
The idea for O is for Hoolet came about after some confusion as a child, having read O is for owl in a children’s book. However, her knowledge of Scots meant she knew the word Hootlet also meant owl, causing some puzzlement.
Her work also draws upon and challenges attitudes to the Scots language. She aims to tackle prejudices towards the languages, such as the idea of Scots words being slang.
But Irene now believes that through works such as this has led to greater awareness of the language and, in turn, generated more interest.
She said: “People are really interested in Scots now.
“Even the number of people on Twitter who use it – even if they don’t write their whole Tweet in Scots, they’ll use some words.”
She added: “There is so much more going on for Scots now than there was in the 1980s when I got involved in the Scots Language Society.
“There are a lot of young people also getting involved.”
The Nicht Afore Christmas and O is for Hoolet can be purchased online.