Scots and Scottish English Resources

Historical and present-day Scots and Scottish English resources

Academic works

  • The Aitken Papers Few people could be said to have advanced our knowledge of the Scots Language, past and present, as did A. J. Aitken (1921-1998). Re-edited with introductions by Dr. Caroline Macafee, the majority of Aitken’s writings on Scots have now been made available online. Texts include academic papers on phonology, dialectology and lexis, pieces on Scots literature, biographical and autobiographical essays, overviews on the history of the language, letters to the Scotsman newspaper, and a number of other texts of both popular and technical interest.
  • The Forum for Research on the Languages of Scotland and Ulster FRLSU offers a free, web-based, rigorously peer-reviewed publication series on any languages which are or have been spoken in Scotland (including the Northern Isles) and the Irish province of Ulster. The focus is mostly linguistic and sociolinguistic, usually in connection with FRLSU colloquia and conferences.
  • The Bottle Imp The Bottle Imp, published online by the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, is a journal promoting and supporting the teaching and study of Scottish literature and language.
  • A Selected Classified Bibliography of the Scots Language This website, maintained by Marina Dossena between 2003 and 2010, contains bibliographical information on Scots-related publications, mainly linguistic, following the tradition of periodic reviews initiated by A. J. Aitken and continued by Caroline Macafee, J.D. McClure and W.F.H. Nicolaisen.

Archives and other collections


  • Dictionary of the Scots Language With over 77,000 separate entries, over 250,000 spelling variants and over 750,000 illustrative quotations, the DSL is a treasure trove of information about the Scots language. It brings together two major historical dictionaries: A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST; pre-1700) and The Scottish National Dictionary (SND; post-1700).
  • The Historical Thesaurus of Scots has begun to categorise, by semantic field, the vocabulary of Scots from the earliest records to the present.
  • Complete Ulster-Scots Dictionary Although still under development, this resource seeks to be a “A full historical record of the written and spoken [Ulster Scots] language”, compiled from — and directly linked to — the texts in the collections of the Ulster-Scots Language Society and the Ulster-Scots Academy.


  • People of Medieval Scotland (1093-1314) This is a database of all known people of Scotland between 1093 and 1314 mentioned in over 8600 contemporary documents.
  • Ordnance Survey name books provide information about place names and building names on the first edition OS mapping which took place in the mid-19th century. The name books used in Scotland are freely available.
  • The SWAP project and the Ordnance Survey provide glossaries of Scots place-name elements.

Printing in Scotland

  • 500 Years of Printing in Scotland (1508-2008) This website, celebrating the 500th anniversary of establishing the Chepman and Myllar press in Edinburgh, brings together information about the history of printing in Scotland, one of Scotland’s most significant industries and a source of information on contemporary language and culture.

Public information

  • Scots Language Centre This is a comprehensive website on all aspects of the Scots language, including its diversity, history, cultural and social presence, education, the current events and much more. It contains texts, audio and video recordings as well as a wealth of weblinks to other Scots-related resources.  It includes a set of lists compiled by Iseabail Macleod and maintained until c.2006 of particular relevance to the linguistic study of Scots, including Iseabail’s list of Scots language reference resources.
  • Aye Can… Speak Scots This website was launched in preparation for the 2011 Census to promote the awareness of what the label “Scots” represents and to help people identify whether they can understand, speak, read and/or write Scots.


  • The website offers online tuition in palaeography for historians, genealogists and other researchers struggling to read manuscript historical records written in Scotland in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.