Doric an Nor-East Scots 

The Nor-East o Scotlan's winnerfu heirskip o wird, ballad, sang, an story is aa unnerpinned bi oor tongue, kent bi mony names: Doric, Aiberdeen, Buchan, Nairn, Fisher Doric, Ferm Doric, Toonser, Spik o the Mearns, Deeside, Banff.

The Institute is dedicatit tae biggin up the tongue an encouragin fowk tae eese it in aa neuks o Nor-East life. Nae bringin back aul wirds fer things we dinna eese nae mair, bit raither eesin oor ain tongue an the wey o thinkin that gings wi't in ither airts. Fit wey are there gey fyow North-east vyces tae be heard in oor media? Fit wey dae we nae eese it in business meetins? We aa ken fowk fa spik at wark, bit fa 'talk' as seen as we're in a formal settin. Fer mony, oor tongue his been thocht o as suitable jis fer hame, hearth, an playgrun, bit afore that it wis s gey influential tongue, in coorts, leeterature, an international affairs. Oor ain Bishop William Elphinstone, fonder o Aiberdeen Varsity, communicatit in Scots, Latin, an French durin his time in Paris, as Billy Kay tells us.

Mair nor 1.5 million fowk report themsels as Scots spikkers, accordin tae the 2011 Census. In oor airt, aroon 49% are spikkers an, in mony airts, Doric/Scots spikkers mak up the maist fowk. The North-East is truly a hertlan o the tongue.

In 2017, we held a day-lang workshop, 'Yer ain Tongue', bringin spikkers an learners, young fowk an auler eens, campaigners, educators, policy makers, an practitioners thegither tae explore new an effective weys forrit in promotin oor tongue. The 'roadmap' that cam oot o that day includit education, media campaignin, events, an a language board tae focus activity. (See Director Thomas McKean's opening remarks here.)

The North-East Scots Language Board wis set up in 2018 as a jynt project wi representatives fae Aiberdeen Varsity, Robert Gordon Varsity, Aiberdeen City and Shire Cooncils, Moray Cooncil, Angus Cooncil, an oor ain community, wi an Executive consistin o Peter Reid, Tom McKean, Frienda Morrison, and Andrew Ritchie. In 2019, the Doric Board wis formally constituted, wi officers Frieda Morrison, Gordon Hay, and Fred Gordon, tae tak the mission forrit.

The Elphinstone Institute's ongyan wark on oor tongue is biggit aroon research, education (fae pre-schuil tae the varsity), community engagement, media campaignin an production, publication, and events. For mair on oor ongyan programme anent Doric an Nor-East Scots, see oor North-East Culture Initiative pages.


Doric and North-East Scots

The North-East of Scotland’s wonderful traditions of word, ballad, song, and story are all linked by our language, known by many different names: Doric, Aiberdeen, Buchan, Nairn, Fisher Doric, Ferm Doric, Toonser, Spik o the Mearns, Deeside, Banff.

 

The Institute is dedicated to promoting the language and encouraging its use in all walks of North-East life. Not bringing back old words that we don’t use anymore, but rather using the language – and the mindset that goes with it – in new areas. Why are there so few North-East voices in the media? Why don’t we use it in business meetings? We all know people who ‘spik’ at work, but who ‘talk’ as soon as we’re in a formal setting. For many, Doric and North-East Scots have long been seen as suitable only for home and hearth, but before that it was an influential tongue across Europe, in courts, literature, and international affairs. Our own Bishop William Elphinstone, founder of the University of Aberdeen, communicated in Scots, Latin, and French during his time in Paris, as Billy Kay tells us.

 

More than 1.5 million people report themselves to be Scots speakers in the 2011 Census. In our airt, about 49% are speakers and, in many parts of the North-East, Doric/Scots speakers are in the majority. The North-East is truly the heartland of the tongue.

 

In 2017, we held a day-long workshop, ‘Yer Ain Tongue’, to bring speakers and learners, young and old, campaigners, educators, policy makers, and practitioners together to explore new ways to promote the tongue. The ‘roadmap’ that came out of the day included education, media campaigning, events, and a language board to focus activity. (See Director Thomas McKean's opening remarks here.)

 

The North-East Scots Language Board was set up in 2018 as a cooperative venture with representatives from the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen City and Shire Councils, Moray Council, Angus Council, and our community, with an executive made up of Peter Reid, Tom McKean, Frieda Morrison, and Andrew Ritchie. In 2019, the Doric Board was formally constituted, with officers Frieda Morrison, Gordon Hay, and Fred Gordon, taking the mission forward.

 

The Elphinstone Institute’s ongoing work on Doric/North-East Scots is built around research, education (from pre-school to university), community partnerships and engagement, media campaigning and production, publications, and events. For more on our developing programme, see our North-East Culture Initiative pages.

North-East Scots Film

The Doric tongue, so common in the North-East, is part of the Scots Language. But where did this language come from, and what makes the Doric special?

North-East Scots Film (part 2)

Sheena Blackhall, the famed Doric poet, and Professors Smith and Millar to explore how the Doric came to be the way it is.

North-East Scots Film (part 3)

Poet Jo Gilbert, teacher Jamie Fairbairn and former pupil Robert Legge, explore the future of North-East Scots.