In the beginning a wee lassie found a wee book on her grannie’s book shelf and there began a lifelong admiration of one of the world’s most famous poets, Robert Burns.

Marguerite Young in 1958
Songs from Robert Burns Books


The books that first inspired, now cherished keepsakes.


Meeting Rabbie at the Burns’ Monument, Alloway, Ayrshire. First trip to Burns country.

At the Burns Monument in 1967
Mither Tongue Created


The creation of Mither Tongue. Over 40 years later, the same poet, along with the language he helped to save, sparked the creation of Mither (Mother) Tongue, the only business of its kind with the Scots language at its heart.


Cottage Industry.

Cottage Industry Mither Tongue
Scotland's Census 2011 Mither Tongue


A helping hand. Unlike Gaelic, an official figure for the number of Scots speakers in Scotland had never existed. We helped gather support (2001 – 2011) for the inclusion of questions on Scots in the 2011 Census resulting in interest from the following countries – Australia, Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Scotland, Spain and the US.

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On the move. Shocked and saddened that the language of Burns was was to play no part in the 2009 Robert Burns *Homecoming Scotland celebrations, we allowed hearts to rule heads and moved into retail premises in Mid Street (town centre), a small gesture to honour our poet, highlight his massive contribution to Scotland’s culture and attempt to promote our home town through linguistic culture.

*A year-long, Scotland-wide celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns and Scotland’s contributions to the world.

Kim at the Mither Tongue Shop
Scots Language Centre Logo


Commended by Scots Language Centre.

“The Mither Tongue shop in Keith is unique in its product ranges, and therefore of considerable cultural significance.   Not only does it succeed as a business enterprise, but acts as a hub for those interested in promoting and sustaining the Scots language, part of a national network of concerned individuals who value our linguistic heritage and seek innovative ways to promote it.

Their contribution to the wider understanding of Scots is very much appreciated, their efforts in relation to the inclusion of Scots in the 2011 Census having been especially noteworthy”.

Michael Hance, Director


Honouring our poet. Celebrating the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns and the launch of Homecoming Scotland.

Pipers in 2009
Scottish Countryside Alliance Awards Finalist


Award finalist.

“The judges thought that Mither Tongue was a great concept in promoting the Scots language. The shop is an asset to Keith, as not only an attraction in its own right, but also in the provision of visitor services”.

Ross Montague, Chief Executive


Visit Scotland 4-star grading. Quality Assurance award from VisitScotland.

4 Star Tourist Shop Mither Tongue
Scots Speakers Map


Onwards and upwards. Publication of Scotland’s Census 2011 figures. These official figures confirmed

predictions that Scots is the largest minority language in Europe with 1,541,693 speakers in Scotland (40,839 in Moray).


Making history in Keith. Our home town is proud to be known as Scotland’s first Scots Toun, a prestigious Scottish Government accolade awarded to communities who have retained and celebrate their linguistic culture.

The Award recognised the use, celebration, support and promotion of the Scots language in community life, identifying communities where Scots culture is encouraged and promoted – Spoken, Visible, Events, Young People, Opportunities to Learn and Promotion by means of festivals, church services, signage, the development of language-based tourism etc.

Scots Toun Keith 2014
Primary School visit to Mither Tongue


Primary School learners. St Thomas’ Primary children visit Mither Tongue following our visit to them in our role as *Scots Language Ambassadors for Education Scotland.

*A network of individuals working with Scots Language Co-ordinators and local schools to help foster a positive environment for Scots to flourish.


Secondary School Learners. At Keith Grammar School in my role as *Scots Language Ambassador for Education Scotland to answer questions from S3 pupils on my experiences of the language since childhood. Lots of well-considered questions from interested and intelligent youngsters.

Visit to Keith Grammar School 2017
Matthew Fitt writer visit to Mither Tongue


The most recent of many enjoyable and enlightening visits from Matthew Fitt teacher, writer and translator of children’s books into Scots.   Buy his and other children’s books HERE


Scots / Doric Workshop. We attended this fascinating, enlightening and hugely enjoyable event at the Elphinstone Institute, Aberdeen University, listening to and discussing with professors, historians, linguists, teachers, writers, students, publishers, speakers, learners, campaigners, policy makers and practitioners how best to help shape the future of Scots.

Lots of ideas, lots of passion and a strong desire to get things done!

Elphinstone Doric and Scots event
Alistair Heather Scots Writer and Presenter


Meet Ally Heather! Delighted to meet this young, enthusiastic Scots speaker who is currently summer Intern at the Elphinstone Institute, working to improve the visibility of Scots in the North-east as part of the North-east Cultural Initiative.

Ally had just delivered Keith’s supply of “Ay ay, fit like? Scots spoken here” window stickers to be distributed in the town centre and elsewhere.


Mither Tongue Today.

Back / Left to Right
Kerry and Kim (daughters and indispensable all-rounders)

Front / Left to Right
Marguerite / Maggie (where the buck stops)
Jackie (another indispensable all-rounder!)

SHOP  VIDEO (3 minutes):  View HERE

Mither Tongue team 2019