3 June 2002

MSP supports Scots language project

photo of Dr Skretkowicz, Principal and Irene McGugan

The chair of the Cross-Pairtie Group in the Scottish Pairliament on the Scots Leid* will back a major project based at the University of Dundee, to make the key Scots language dictionaries available on the internet.

Irene McGugan, MSP, will visit the team led by senior English lecturer Victor Skretkowicz and lexicographer Susan Rennie which is working to incorporate all 12 volumes of the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and all 10 of the Scottish National Dictionary. The new Dictionary of Scots will be accessible on the internet within the next 3 years.

Mrs McGugan said: "Scots is used by more than 1 million people on a daily basis and is the largest "minority" language in the UK. I'm greatly encouraged to see this initiative taking place at the University and it is indicative of a general changing mood in Scotland towards our culture, which is vitally important - if we don't work to keep the indigenous languages and culture alive, no one else will do it for us.

"Given that we are now in an age of information technology, making the Scots language accessible on the Internet is a fantastic way to open it up to as many people as possible."

Victor and Susan's team are currently working their way through approximately one hundred thousand word entries, translating the pages into electronic format suitable for the web.

During her visit on Monday June 3, Irene will hear more about the project from Susan and Victor as well as meeting with University Principal Sir Alan Langlands, outgoing Dean of the Faulty Arts & Social Sciences Huw Jones and new faculty Dean, Professor Chris Whatley.

Dr Skretkowicz said, " We are delighted to welcome Irene McGugan to the University and are pleased she is lending her support to this important project which will make accessing the language a great deal easier for everyone and will ultimately contribute to promoting the Scots language."

Note to Editors:

Contact Dr Victor Skretkowicz or Susan Rennie on 01382 34445

The Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and the Scottish National Dictionary span the earliest records of Scots words from around 1200 to recent times and the project to combine them and make them publicly accessible on the web is expected to be the most important development to hit the Scots language since the two parent dictionaries were begun in the 1920s. Access to a million illustrative quotations should lead to a better understanding of the history and many variations of Scots.

By February 2004 all Internet users, including school pupils, should have unlimited access to the dictionary. The three year task is funded by a grant of 320,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Board. Copyright material for the Dictionary of the Scots Language is being supplied by The Scottish National Dictionary Association Ltd., and by the Joint Council for the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue. The Joint Council includes the Universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews, Stirling, and the Carnegie Trust.

*Cross-Pairtie Group i the Scottish Pairliament on the Scots Leid The Cross Party Group in the Scottish Parliament on the Scots Language

Ettle:

Tae forder the cause o the Scots leid, lat Memmers ken aboot the cultur an heritage o the leid and shaw the need for action tae uphaud Scots.

Purpose:

To promote the cause of Scots, inform members of the culture and heritage of the language and highlight the need for action to support Scots.