Home» Publications» SLD Newsletter» Newsletter Autumn 2010» SLD news

SLD News

Scottish Language Dictionaries are delighted to announce that Dr. Margaret Mackay has agreed to be our new President as Richard Wilson is standing down. Dr. Mackay, who has recently retired from the School of Celtic and Scottish Studies, has been an SLD Board member for many years, giving us the benefit of her great expertise and enthusiasm for the Scots language. We also welcome new Board members Jean Anderson and Professor Jeremy Smith, and the return of Professor William Gillies after a period abroad. They all bring a vast range of experience and expertise to SLD.

Ongoing lexicographical work

Concise Scots Dictionary

Work on the Concise Scots Dictionary continues. We are currently working on the letter S. This does not mean that we are nearly finished, because we actually started on the second half of the alphabet. The reason for this is that, when the first edition of The Concise Scots Dictionary went to press, the final volumes of A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue had not yet been edited. We considered the inclusion of data from these files to be high priority. The new Concise Scots Dictionary will have a considerable number of additional words which are now obsolete and, perhaps of more interest to the general user, it will contain more information on familiar words. For example, we can now add that in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, a tablet had the alternative meaning of an ornament or piece of jewellery, a pendant, brooch etc. Another example of the kind of material we are adding concerns radge ('mad, violently excited, furious, wild'), an adjective that many Scots might consider a comparative newcomer to the vocabulary. However, in the light of A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, we see it has been around in Scots since the sixteenth century.

Dictionary of the Scots Language

We are continuing to work on the overhaul the online Dictionary of the Scots Language. A pilot version of the new search function has been well received, and we are grateful for all the feedback.

Word Collection

We continue to add to the National Word Collection, through our Reading and Oral collection schemes. You can read about these projects on our website, and if you are interested in taking part, please contact Pauline Cairns Speitel at p.cairns_speitel@scotsdictionaries.org.uk.

Supporting SLD

You might like to sponsor a word, or gift a word sponsorship to a friend this Christmas. You can download a form here. We are always delighted when a business or a school shows interest in sponsoring a Scots word; please pass on details of the scheme.

SLD have a range of publications, including our popular compact dictionaries and thesaurus which make ideal gifts. If you order books or other goods through Amazon, please remember to access Amazon through our website as we receive a small contribution for every sale.

Education and Outreach

SLD staff regularly visit schools, writers' groups and community groups to discuss Scots in literature and as a community language. Elaine Webster, our Education and Outreach Officer, also supports Continuing Professional Development work in Scots.

Members of staff have attended the Scottish Learning Festival run by Learning Teaching Scotland; the Pittenweem Festival; the Linlithgow Book Festival and the Glenrothes Sangshaw. We have enjoyed discussing and disseminating information about our work. Our Director Dr. Chris Robinson also gave a talk to BBC staff on Scots, in conjunction with the Scots Language Centre.

The Scuilwab

We are delighted to announce that our updated Scuilwab at www.scuilwab.org.uk is now online to support everyone interested in Scots. We have contributions from schools and are keen to add more material, including audio, from all over Scotland. Please get in touch with Elaine Webster if you have educational contacts and want to contribute. We are delighted to have poetry contributions from Frances Robson, Angela Blacklock-Brown and Christine de Luca, and appreciate their generosity and support for the Scots language. We welcome contributions from everyone who is interested in Scots in the articles section.

Conferences and meetings

Exchanges of expertise are an important part of the work of SLD. Dr Robinson gave a paper at the 7th Language and Politics Symposium at Queen’s University in Belfast recently in which she described the efforts of the Scots Working Group set up by the Scottish parliament to advise on a strategy for promoting the Scots language. A volume of edited papers from this symposium will be available shortly.

Elaine Webster also attended The Association for Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) Schools Conference at Strathclyde University in October. This conference is always popular because of the quality and range of speakers. Writers delighted the audience with readings from their work, and there were lectures on different aspect of Scots. Prizes were also presented to the winners of the Robert Burns World Federation and ASLS National Writing Competition for school pupils; Dumbarton Academy swept the board, and all involved were delighted with their success.

Our Outreach and Education Officer has also been working as part of a research subgroup of the CPG Education subgroup which is producing a report on responses to a survey entitled Attitudes to Scots Language in the Curriculum for Excellence. There has been a good response and teachers have given detailed information on a range of areas including the type of resources and training they would find useful.

Dr. Robinson attended the Euralex International Congress in Leeuwarden with Lorna Pike, the Project Co-ordinator of Faclair na Gàidhlig (Dictionary of Scottish Gaelic), who presented a paper entitled Scottish lexicography: Major resources in Minority languages. The Congress, which was visited by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, had over 350 delegates including lexicographers, publishers, researchers and software developers.

The History of Dictionaries

We have started to collect some interesting artefacts relating to the history of dictionaries. Any artefacts, anecdotes and memorabilia you can give us about making dictionaries would be appreciated. We could display information about these objects and memorabilia in a range of contexts to share the history of dictionaries with others. If you have worked in this field we would be delighted to hear from you.