New board to promote North-East language launches in Aberdeen

A new body to promote Doric and North-East Scots language was launched in Aberdeen this week.

The North-East Scots Language Board, which is the first body of its type, aims to promote the language and culture of the North-East in civic life, education and the media.

It is comprised of representatives from the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, and Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Moray and Angus Councils, as well as a wide range of community partners and ambassadors.

Thomas McKean, Director of the Elphinstone Institute at the University of Aberdeen, has been a key figure in establishing the Board.

He said: “North-East Scots is mostly thought of as being a language for home and family and other informal settings, but its use is far more widespread than that.

“Large numbers use it in their everyday lives, but one of our aims is to promote and celebrate its use in areas where it isn’t often visible, such as in our civic life, in the media, and education.

“It’s important that young people see themselves – and the language they speak – reflected back at them in public life.  Just as children need to see diverse gender and race role models, they need to know that someone who speaks their native language can be a success in any walk of life.

“Studies have shown that children taught in their native language attain better academically in other fields.  Learning in Scots increases attainment in maths and english, so we’re developing a pathway for Scots in schools in consultation with our teacher and council associates.”

Dr McKean described the Board as a “network” providing support for those with an interest in promoting North-East language and culture, and forms part of a larger project aimed at doing so. 

“Ultimately we are aiming to make North-East Scots more visible, and normalise in our civic life something that has always been there in people’s everyday lives,” he said.  “We want to open doors for the language that it hasn’t been able to walk through before.”

In Doric, Dr McKean added: “The Board, wi representatives fae the Varsity o Aiberdeen, Robert Gordon University, Angus, Moray, Aiberdeen City and Shire, alang wi fowk fae either public bodies an the media, will heeze up aa the dialects o North-East Scots, fae Doric tae Mearns, fae Aiberdeen tae Angus. Through wirk wi scuils we’ll mak the tongue mair accessible tae bairns, an through media, tourism an signage we’ll mak Scots mair visible tae aabdy that bides here. We are launchin a new Scots leid course at Aiberdeen. Soon, students fae aa owre the warld that attend varsity here will be able tae study an learn the Scots leid.”