Scots Learners’ Grammar

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References and further reading


The following books and online resources were used in the preparation of this document.

  • The The Aiberden Univairsitie’s Scots Leid Quorum’s Innin Ti the Scots Leid (1995) is a useful 44 page booklet and where I started with the grammar of Scots. Strong on spelling and of course grammar with some useful vocabulary lists.
  • Alexander Bergs (2001) Modern Scots draws together a wide range of 20th century research on the modern tongue to provide the best detailed descriptive grammar of current usage.
  • Andy Eagle (2002) Wir Ain Leid An extensive re-working and up-dating of Grant and Dixon and currently the most comprehensive work on Scots grammar currently available. Particularly strong on dialects. [http://www.scots-online.org/grammar/]
  • William Grant and James Main Dixon (1921) Manual of Modern Scots. A superb attempt to describe a standard ‘literary’ Scots based on contemporary East Central speech and (mainly) 19th Century literature. The wide range of sources include ‘Kailyard’ writers (eg Barrie, Crockett, Maclaren), Bell (see below), Burns, Scott and Stevenson as well as local papers and ‘reminiscences’. Available as a reprint from Amazon.co.uk or online [http://archive.org/details/manualofmodernsc00granuoft]
  • Caroline Macafee (unpublished manuscript 1980, revised c.1992, edited 2011) Characteristics of non-standard grammar in Scotland is a detailed account of modern linguistic research, similar in scope to Bergs. Currently unavailable online.
  • David Purves (2002) A Scots Grammar (Revised Edition) published by the Saltire Society, Edinburgh is as close as we have to an ‘official’ grammar for standard Scots. Lots of examples.
  • Susan Rennie and others (1999) Grammar Broonie published by Polygon, Edinburgh is aimed at children (and their teachers) and is a basic introduction, with exercises.
  • Philip Robinson (1997) Ulster-Scots: A Grammar of the Traditional Written and Spoken Language, published by The Ullans Press, Belfast. Outstanding scholarship; a re-writing Grant and Dixon for the Ulster dialect.
  • L Colin Wilson (2002) Luath Scots Language Learner published by Luath Press, Edinburgh, the first Scots language course for the complete novice, has excellent sections on grammar.
  • Wilson, James (1915) Lowland Scotch Meticulous investigation of the speech of the Perthshire village of Dunning (where I used to live!): pronunciation, grammar, wordlists, sayings, idioms, expressions. Legend has it this was the book that inspired Hugh MacDiarmid to start screivin awa in Scots, and I’m not surprised. Available as a reprint from Amazon.co.uk or online [http://archive.org/details/lowlandscotchass00wilsuoft]
  • The Concise English-Scots Dictionary (1993) and its companion Essential Scots Dictionary (1996) from The Scottish National Dictionary Association and published by Chambers, Edinburgh are the best prescriptive dictionaries available and were used to attempt a standardised spelling for this grammar.