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Launch of the Scots Dictionary for Schools app

Dr Margaret Mackay, President, SLD

On December 16 2014 SLD Director Chris Robinson, Outreach and Education Officer Elaine Webster and President Margaret Mackay visited Grange Academy in Kilmarnock for the launch of the app version of the Essential Scots Dictionary. There could have been no better place than Kilmarnock and Ayrshire for such an event and it was a memorable occasion from the very start.

We were warmly greeted at the door by Head Girl Ellen Roy and Head Boy Andrew Chapman and after morning coffee and delicious baking were conducted to a bright library where Head Teacher Robert Johnston and Principal Teacher of Scottish Studies Jean Hillhouse, students and invited officials – all enthusiastic in their use and support of Scots – had organised a splendid programme. Former pupil, poet and blogger Lorna Wallace and current pupil Cameron Hill entertained us in a lively fashion, Lorna with a Scots rap in the tradition of the medieval flyting and Cameron with a dramatic rendering of Tam O Shanter which would have thrilled Burns himself. Supportive speeches from members of the official party contributed to the positive atmosphere.

SLD's lexicographical work was outlined and its outcomes were illustrated by the app itself, which was put into use immediately by pupils in a demonstration which signalled the launch. Clearly, creativity in Scotland's languages is heartily encouraged at Grange Academy and it was wonderful to sense the enthusiasm there that morning and to learn later from the Scots Language Coordinators in Education Scotland that following the launch there was positive feedback about the app from many other schools. One of the Scots Language Coordinators, Diane Anderson, who attended the launch told us "In the same way as pupils enjoy leafing through a dictionary to encounter new words, I have seen them using the app with great pleasure. The ability to limit the search to regional varieties of Scots is also something which has been appreciated by teachers."

App launch event
Presentation from Grange Academy to Dr Margaret Mackay
At the end of the launch the SLD representatives were presented with two generous gifts to keep as mementoes of the occasion. A beautiful Mauchline Box, crafted in wood and decorated with a Saltire by staff in the school's Technical Department, was gifted by the school. From the Provost of East Ayrshire Council Jim Todd came a copy of the beautiful facsimile published by Luath Press of the Kilmarnock Edition of the poetry of Robert Burns. Both are treasured reminders of a fine event with Scots and the future of Scots at its heart. Our thanks go out to everyone at, or associated with, Grange Academy for making it so.

The app is free to download from app stores and can be used on iPhones and android devices.