Save Scots dictionaries

18th July 2008 at 01:00
Scottish language Dictionaries - the guardians of the Scots language - will cease to exist by the end of the year unless a new source of core funding can be found to replace the Scottish Arts Council, the organisation has warned
Scottish language Dictionaries - the guardians of the Scots language - will cease to exist by the end of the year unless a new source of core funding can be found to replace the Scottish Arts Council, the organisation has warned.

Director Christine Robinson has called on the Scottish Government to create a "Board of Scots", similar to Bord na Gaidhlig, which promotes Gaelic and receives its funding direct from central government.

"This is about recognising a dictionary is fundamental to language-planning and funding it accordingly," said Dr Robinson.

"We are in no way in competition with Gaelic and I am pleased with what is being done for Gaelic, but when you consider the number of Scots speakers whom we serve, and the number of Gaelic speakers, one does begin to wonder why we are not at least placed on an equal footing."

Scottish Language Dictionaries, which also compiled the bestselling Concise Scots Dictionary, does outreach work in schools and runs the website Scuil Wab.

Since 2002, the SAC has given Scottish Language Dictionaries around pound;100,000 per year, 75 per cent of its core funding. That funding will end from April 2009.

"The Scottish Government is signed up to the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, so they have got an obligation to look after the language. As part of looking after a language, it is generally accepted that a dictionary is fundamental," said Dr Robinson.

The Scottish Government said it would use the audit of Scots language provision, due out in October, to work out how to move forward. Dr Robinson fears that decisions stemming from the report could come too late.

The 22-volume Dictionary of the Scots Language can be found at: www.dsl.ac.uk.

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