1424 to date

(Grateful thanks to the Scots Language Centre for their permission to use the entries marked thus: *)

Scottish Government carries out a public consultation in advance of a Scottish Languages Bill.

Publication of the Concise Scots Dictionary, Second Edition, the ideal reference work for readers, learners, speakers and students of the Scots language. Updated from the first edition in 1985, it is the single most authoritative volume on the history, pronunciation and geographical distribution of Scots words.

Drawing on the 22 definitive volumes of the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (covering the period to 1700) and the Scottish National Dictionary (1700 onwards), with new words gathered from the Scottish National Dictionaries’ national reading programme, the Concise Scots Dictionary offers an accessible, one-volume dictionary for all readers and writers, updated throughout to reflect modern Scots usage, alongside coverage of older Scots.   It is also an invaluable guide for anyone with an interest in the history of Scotland, her people and their way of life.

Scots now offered as a language for study in senior school.

Our home town of Keith in Moray (mid way between Aberdeen and Inverness in North-east Scotland) was the first to achieve Scots Toun status, a prestigious Scottish Government / Scots Language Centre award bestowed on communities which have retained their linguistic culture.

Publication of 2011 Census figures confirming that there are 1,541,693 Scots speakers in Scotland, 40,839 in Moray.

Scotland’s Census.   Following decades of campaigning, questions on Scots included for the first time.

Homecoming Scotland.   A year-long, Scotland-wide celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns.   Check out Mither Tongue’s tribute HERE

Scottish Government commissions the first ever government audit of provision for the Scots language.

The Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and Scottish National Dictionary Association merge to form the new Scottish Language Dictionaries.

Publication of L Colin Wilson’s ‘Luath Scots Language Learner’.

Foundation of Cross-Party Group on Scots in the Scottish Parliament.

The UK Government ratifies the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages on behalf of Scots (under the provisions of Part II).

Scottish Parliament allows speeches and oath-taking in Scots, provided they are accompanied by an English text translation.

The Boord O Ulster Scotch is founded.


Royal Mile public demonstration in Edinburgh is first held on behalf of rights for Scots speakers.

Publication of David Purves’s ‘A Scots Grammar’.

The Scottish National Party become the first political party to adopt a policy on the Scots language.

Both ‘The Kist’ and ‘Scots School Dictionary’ are published.

General Register Office for Scotland Report estimates 1.5 million Scots speakers in Scotland or 30% of Scottish population.

Campaign for a Scots question in the census gets under way.

The ‘Concise Scots Dictionary’ published.

Scots Tung and Glesca Scots Speikers’ Curn are first campaigning Scots language groups founded to lobby the political world.


Scots Language Resource Centre (later renamed Scots Language Centre) is founded with support from Perth Council.

The European Bureau of Lesser Used Languages recognises Scots as a minority European Language.

The Ulster-Scots Language Society is founded.1980s / 90s
Scots was tolerated / accepted in the classroom.

Scottish Education Department announces wish for Scots to be included in the school curriculum.

The ‘Concise Scots Dictionary’ published.

W.L. Lorimer’s New Testament in Scots published.
(Translated directly from Greek).

Children were shamed and ridiculed for speaking Scots in school.

His Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education Report read “Scots is not the language of educated people anywhere and could not be described as a suitable medium for education or culture.   It is the first duty of infant teachers and the continuing duty of all primary teachers to implant and cultivate fluent speech in standard English.   Against such unlovely forms of speech masquerading as Scots, we recommend that the schools should wage a planned and unrelenting campaign”.

Children were physically punished for speaking Scots in school.

First part of ‘Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue’ published.

William Wye Smith’s ‘New Testament in Braid Scots’ published.

James Murray’s ‘The Dialect of the Southern Counties of Scotland’ is published.    Having mapped out the dialects of Scots for the first time, and a chronology, Murray founded the modern study of Scots.


Education (Scotland) Act ignores Scots language and confirms earlier moves towards English-only education in Scotland.

Repeal of Stamp Act leads to growth in popular press and encourages article writing in Scots in local newspapers.

Appointment of first HM Inspector of Schools in Scotland marks beginning of an official attempt to discourage (and ban) Scots speaking in education.

John Jamieson’s ‘An Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language’ is the first Scots language dictionary.

First Burns Supper held (at Alloway in Ayrshire).

Death of Robert Burns at the age of 37 (21 July).

Robert Burns publishes ‘Poems Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect’.

Birth of Robert Burns (25 January) who re-invigorated Scots after centuries of neglect.

Treaty of Union ends Scottish independence.   Scots-speaking politicians must now sit in the British parliament in London and are mocked because of their language.

Death of Charles I, technically the last monarch able to speak Scots. 

Publication of first collection of ‘Scottish Proverbs’ (collected by David Fergusson who died in 1598).

James VI of Scotland also becomes king of England and moves royal court to London.

James I’s ‘Kingis Quair’ is first literary work in Scots written by a king.
Murdoch Nisbet makes first Scots translation of New Testament.