Only Scotland’s diaspora can save the dying native language

Traveling through Scotland is obviously not a linguistic experience limited to the Scottish accent alone. Last year, Christine De Luca was appointed as Edinburgh’s poet laureate. She often writes in a Shetlandic dialect, and you can hear her work here.

And not only is there Scots—think of “Auld Lang Syne”—but there is, of course, Scots Gaelic, too, which dots the underside of nearly every rail station sign in the country. Going to Queen Street Station? Then you’re going to Glaschu Sràid na Banrighinn. Stopping off in Falkirk on your journey between Edinburgh and Glasgow? Then you’ll be stopping at An Eaglais Bhreac.

“In my early 20s I went through a period of writing only in Scots,” Ron Butlin, a former poet laureate of Edinburgh—that is, a “makar”—told Quartz. “It seemed to have been part of my growing up. Having written in English all through school … quite to my surprise one day I started writing in my childhood tongue.

“Over the next few years this mother tongue opened up my creativity, my emotional self,” he adds. “Until that day my poems had been getting more and more intellectual … the Scots opened up and reclaimed my emotional history.”

Read more: Quartz

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