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Monday, 3 June, 2002, 11:06 GMT 12:06 UK
Online plan for Scots dictionary
Boy at computer
The dictionary should be available online in 2004
A new dictionary is being compiled which will put tens of thousands of Scots words dating back as far as 800 years on the internet.

Academics behind the project hope it will be available online by February 2004.

And the project has won praise from the chairwoman of the Scottish Parliament's cross-party group on the Scots language.

The Scottish National Party's deputy education spokeswoman, Irene McGugan, visited the team of researchers at the University of Dundee on Monday.


If we don't work to keep the indigenous languages alive, no-one else will do it for us

Irene McGugan
The MSP for North East Scotland said: "Vernacular Scottish is used by more than one million people daily and is the largest 'minority' language in the UK.

"This indicates a changing mood towards our culture, which is vitally important. If we don't work to keep the indigenous languages alive, no one else will do it for us.

"Making the Scots language accessible on the internet is a fantastic way to open it up to as many people as possible."

The Dundee researchers are working through 100,000 Scots words, some of which date as far back as AD 1200.

The team is then translating them into an electronic format that will allow them to be made available on the internet.

Three-year project

The Dictionary of Scots website will also include illustrative quotations which the researchers hope will lead to a better understanding of the history and use of the language.

The Dundee team is led by senior English lecturer Dr Victor Skretkowicz.

The three-year project has been funded by a 320,000 grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Board.

Academics from Edinburgh and Glasgow University are also working on a separate project to put the Scots language on the internet.

They are trying to gather together as many examples as possible of how people north of the border write and speak in their own tongue.

Future generations

The results will be placed in an electronic archive - the Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech (SCOTS) - which will be made available to the public and academics alike over the internet.

This will allow scholars and students to investigate the languages of Scotland in new ways, while also providing a source of information for future generations.

The project will initially examine two different varieties of the language, Scots and Scottish English.

But it is hoped that the project will eventually expand to include Gaelic and non-indigenous languages such as Punjabi, Urdu and Chinese.

See also:

14 May 02 | Scotland
16 Mar 02 | Scotland
29 Nov 01 | Scotland
13 Oct 01 | Scotland
Internet links:


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