‘Gaun hame’: Launch of the first Scots language digital map of Scotland


The Scots Language Centre and the Deputy First Minister have launched a new digital map of Scotland which allows people to see place names across the country written in Scots.

The online map is the first of its kind in Scotland to feature famous Scottish place names in Scots and is a fully interactive model allowing visitors to see the original Scots names for cities, towns and villages across Scotland.

Modelled on a similar technology as Google Maps, visitors can view their city and street and learn the etymology behind their favourite place names in the Scots language. Its purpose is to further and increase understanding of the history of the Scots language to Scotland.

Users of all ages can generate their own road sign in the original Scots. Part of the site will allow users to submit further local names to be included in the map, and the SLC will research these suggestions and add them.

There is a feature to hover over tags on the map to see photos of Scots in the environment today. A physical version of the map will be available to view through the SLC website.

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The launch took place in Perth was attended by Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney MSP, and students from Robert Douglas Memorial Primary School (p3/4) and Perth High School (s2). Mr Swinney and the children explored the map together and learned about the origins of the different dialects of Scots at the event.

The Scots Language Centre has committed to growing awareness, support and increased learning about the Scots language. The launch is the first phase in an educational roll out which will be supported by education resources and materials in the coming months by the SLC.

It’s the ambition of the SLC to create the largest, most accurate, resource for the Scots language available and to ensure it is accessible for users of all ages interested in the original Scots language.

Dr Michael Dempster, director of the Scots Language Centre, said: “We’re delighted today to launch our new digital map of Scotland. With so many children here today it’s very indicative of who we hope to use, learn and enjoy it going forward.

“Projects like these, and the purpose of the Scots Language Centre is to help to raise awareness of the Scots language alive in Scotland, to preserve and expand the popularity, and the appreciation for Scots. Technology has thankfully made it much easier to increase Scots visibility and for people to enjoy and learn simultaneously, and we’re thrilled to deliver this service.

“What’s critical is this is not a spoken map. These names are seldom seen written down, and that’s what makes this project very special and very unique.”

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney said: “It’s my pleasure to attend the launch of the Scots Language Centre’s Scots Language digital interactive map – the first comprehensive map of Scotland where the place names are in Scots.

“The Scots language is an integral part of Scotland’s heritage, national identity and current cultural life, and the map will be a valuable resource for young and old alike to explore both locally and nationally in their mother tongue.”