It’s bad news for Scots who want their language back. Most Scottish people don’t recognise Scots as a language at all, according to research for, wait for it, the Scottish National Party. That must have really ruined their day. A skaich*, no less. Two out of three Scottish respondents (64 per cent) say that Scots is merely “a way of speaking” and about the same proportion admitted it “doesn’t sound nice – it’s slang.”
That’s no reason to dismiss Scots as a force north of the border, where 85 per cent claim to speak the language, mainly with family or when socialising. That’s sufficient for the culture minister, Fiona Hyslop, to declare Scots a living language. Derrick McClure, a linguist at Aberdeen University, says Scots should be taught in schools to prevent it dying out. That seems unlikely if 85 per cent of the population really do speak it regularly. Even most English people have three words of Scots in their vocabulary. Auld Lang Syne. Long long ago.
(* a disappointment)