Home» Publications» SLD Newsletter» Newsletter May 2010» SLD news

SLD News

Scottish Language Dictionaries is continuing to expand and develop. We are enjoying our new premises at 25 Buccleuch Place in Edinburgh. We have recruited a new Assistant Editor, Ann Ferguson, who will be working on upgrading the online Dictionary of the Scots Language as well as helping to maintain SLD's websites.

Projects Update

New Edition of the Concise Scots Dictionary

The first edition of the Concise Scots Dictionary (CSD1) was published in 1985 and it proved to be very popular with scholars and the general public. It is now 25 years old and needs updating. Furthermore, the information contained in the final volumes of A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue was not available when CSD1 was produced. Staff are now working on letters 'O' and 'S' of the new edition.

The online Dictionary of the Scots Language

The Scottish National Dictionary and A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, together with a supplement of new material added in 2005, are available free online as the Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL) at www.dsl.ac.uk. We are beginning an ambitious new project to overhaul the DSL. For example, we are improving the search facility so that novices and experienced users alike will be able to find words more quickly. We are also working on the cross-reference facility and improving links within DSL.

The first part of the DSL project has been to develop a pilot version of a new user interface covering A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST) only, which has over 50,000 entries with nearly 199,000 variant spellings. We will be looking for feedback on this pilot version from regular DSL users. If you are interested in taking part in this exercise please email , so that the pilot version can be made available to you.

National Word Collection

We are continuing to build and maintain a record of the Scots language. This provides the main resource for our dictionary projects. Material is collected for the Word Collection using the Reading Scheme. Oral Collection has been undervalued by lexicographers in the past as they relied on written sources, but we do make use of reliable oral material. Increasingly, we use concordanced electronic texts and corpora such as the Scottish Corpus of Text and Speech produced by Glasgow University.

Outreach and Education

Our Outreach and Education Officer, Elaine Webster, has talked to teachers about Scottish Language Dictionaries at Continuing Professional Development sessions on Scots. She has visited a range of schools in Edinburgh, West Lothian and Falkirk. She was particularly pleased to be able to talk with head teachers about her work with classes and the work of SLD. She was also part of a research subgroup of the Parliamentary Cross-Party Group Education Subgroup which has worked on a questionnaire for teachers about their work with Scots. This exchange of ideas with a range of educationalists was very enjoyable and productive. The writer Liz Niven, in conjunction with the Scots Language Centre and Scottish Language Dictionaries, has produced a PowerPoint for secondary school teachers to use as part of their Continuing Professional Development work on Scots. The PowerPoint can be accessed on SLD's Scuilwab, as well as on the Scots Language Centre website.

To support teachers' work in Scots as part of the Scottish Government's new Curriculum for Excellence, Learning and Teaching Scotland has produced a Scots language module which is available here.


The project to update and redesign the Scuilwab is well under way, in collaboration with a web designer. Students from Edinburgh's Napier University multimedia course are also working with SLD to streamline games and activities on the Scuilwab as part of a course project.

Staff from Scottish Language Dictionaries also give talks and offer advice to a range of groups.


SLD postcard 'fantoosh'

SLD postcard 'clothes'

Attractive postcards produced by SLD and featuring Scots words have drawn a lot of interest. As well as being taken into schools and staffrooms and distributed to pupils to share with their parents, they are placed in museums, art galleries, libraries and arts festivals, including the Aye Write festival in Glasgow, the StAnza festival in St Andrews and the Edinburgh Harp Festival.