Linguistics and English Language

Scots Wird Hunt at Edinburgh Libraries

University linguists team up with Scottish Language Dictionaries and local Scots speakers to illuminate the language's rich history

Three ‘Wird Hunts’ at libraries around Edinburgh will explore how Scots is recorded and look for new evidence of vocabulary.

Documenting the Scots language

According to the last national census, around 1.5 million people in Scotland can speak Scots. The Dictionar o the Scots Leid, published and maintained by Scottish Language Dictionaries, is the definitive record of their vocabulary.

In these ‘Wird Hunt!’ events, participants will learn about the history of Scots and of the Dictionar itself. At the dictionary’s heart lies a vast and ever-expanding collection of quotations, which show how Scots words are used in print. ‘Wird Hunt!’  provides a unique opportunity to work side-by-side with experts from Scottish Language Dictionaries and the University of Edinburgh to identify new evidence of Scots vocabulary from a collection of present-day Scots books and poems.

The Wird Hunts will also shine a light on the rich history of writing in Scots, and how the language has changed over time.

There will be three events, each in a different venue; participants are welcome to attend multiple events. No advance booking required. 

Tuesday 20 November, 1pm - 7pm: Wester Hailes Library

Wednesday 21 November, 1pm - 7pm: Leith Library

Saturday 24 November, 11am - 4 pm: Craigmillar Library

These events are part of the AHRC's Being Human festival - the UK's flagship festival of research in the humanities.

A magnifying glass hovers over a Scots Dictionary entry for "Wird" (Word)

Scots research in the School of PPLS

There is a rich history of research into Scots at the University of Edinburgh, including the development of the Linguistic Atlas of Older Scots (LAOS), mapping linguistic and geographical information about Scots usage from 1380 - 1500. 

This corpus is the basis for the million pound research project From Inglis to Scots, which was funded by the AHRC, and hosted by the Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics. The project investigated the sound system of Older Scots and its mappings onto written spellings. As part of the project, the team developed a short animated video detailing the origins of Scots. The video is available in both Scots and English versions.

The origins of the Scots language | Where does it come from?


Scottish Language Dictionaries

Scottish Language Dictionaries is the national Scottish resource for the Scots language. The team research Scots and how it is used, from the written texts of the 16th century to the spoken conversations across Scotland today.

They are responsible for the Dictionar o the Scots Leid, whose 22 volumes are available online free of charge, as well as the single volume Concise Scots Dictionary.

Futher information

Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics

Being Human festival 

Dictionar o the Scots Leid (Dictionary of the Scots Language)

Scottish Language Dictionaries