A Guid New Year tae ane and aa, and yin and een and wan as weel.

A new year hanselled wi a new column in the Scots language. Aye, The National has went aw Scots. Fae noo on, it’s heidlines aw the wey like Vote o Nae Confidence in Trauchled Meenister, Mair Chynges at the Tap at Polis Scotland and Scotland’s Warld Cup Dream Cowped by Injury Time Ain Goal and Bawheidit Referee.

Naw, dinnae fankle yer twitter feed, it hasnae really. It’ll juist be this wan wee tutties neuk o ill-judgit opinion and havers spewin oot at ye wanced a week.

Sae bunnets aff tae The National for takkin on a column in yer ither national language, the yin that’s cawed Scots. Bunnets back on for takkin me on tae dae it.

But jings or whit! A Scottish newspaper prentin somethin in the Mither Tongue and it isnae a poyum or a cartoon. Either Scots is teeterin on the verge o awmaist bein taen seriously, or it has been decidit by a cabal o heidbummers somewhaur that the auld leid is feenished, politically haunless and could nae langer herm a hornie golach sae why no embrace it? I hae a sleekit feelin it micht be tae dae wi the recent shooglin o seismic proportions in the foonds o Scotland but whit dae I ken? Whitever the wey o it, it’s guid tae be here.

And sae we hirple geriatrically tae the warld’s maist borin question aboot the Scots language, namely, whit is the Scots language?

On thir rare occasions Scots is led oot o the shaddas blenkin intae the bleeze o Scottish public life, it usually doesnae get twa steps afore somebody pipes up wi ‘But whit dae ye mean by Scots language?’ (Language said whiles wi lift-ward neb and look o irreconcilable scunner.)

There’s nocht wrang wi the question, but mair wi the wey it’s enlessly asked and dippitly answered. Spiered ad nauseam, the question ‘Whit is Scots?’ is the Scots language’s equivalent o Groondhog Day. Scots is made tae explain itsel ower and ower again, its speakers pit on the back fit for haein tae defend the wey they talk juist aboot ivry time they open their mooth. The fecht tae increase the status o Scots is made gey near impossible by the language constantly bein asked tae prove it’s a language.

And said dippit answers regularly include dialect o English, patois, Gaelic, Latin, nedspeak, and the maist depressin o aw – slang.

Onybody ken ony Catalans that caw their language slang Spanish, or a corrupted dialect o Castiliano? The Catalonian and Scottish political causes micht be similar but Scotland hasnae ever really thocht o its languages as tools tae define itsel by. English is the Mither Tongue o the independence movement wi beagan Gàidhlig here and a daud o Scots leid there.

Is it acause no enough o us ken or speak Gaelic yit, or hiv we been ower-conditioned tae think o Scots as no guid enough for somethin as muckle and important as a national debate?

In the case o Scots, faur fae giein it a mair meaningfu place in oor society, we genuinely cannae even agree whit it is and whit tae caw it.

Sae, O Scriever o new Scots column in The National newspaper, whit is it then?

Scots is a West Germanic language spoken in Scotland, a sister language o English wi a rich literary tradition and currently 1.6 million speakers, recognised as a language by the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages ... blah dee blah dee blether. It is aw that and mair but here’s this scriever’s tak on some aspects o the Scots leid as o Januar 2016.

Scots isnae sae much a minority language as a miracle language, in that it’s a miracle it’s no deid. For we hae ettled mony times tae kill it. But there’s nae wey we wid deliberately try tae dae in yin o oor ain languages, is there?

Exhibit A: the tawse.

While Scotland can be richtly prood o cultural successes like management o its built heritage, its national parks, progress wi Gaelic and traditional music tae name but a wheen, oor heidyins hiv been completely guff at lookin efter Scots.

And yit in spite o official neglect, when we want tae say somethin aboot oorsels as a people, we turn tae Scots. Wha’s like us? Lang may yer lum reek. Hurricane Bawbag, etc. And mair and mair folk are choosin tae express their individuality through Scots in hoose names and on company logos, no tae mention the ongaun unblearit wark o Scotland’s makars.

Mibbe we that seek a modern progressive Scotland hae a moral duty tae care mair and dae mair for Scots and Gaelic. If no for us, then for the weans and their weans.

We shairly need a bigger better debate aboot the place o Scots in Scotland. It’s pairt o oor story, and a faur mair muckle ane than the wee bitties o space it occupies in civic life noo. Wha could be talkin mair aboot this? The media, schules, government. Definately the government. But I doot it’s up tae us. Efter aw, it’s oors. The language belangs tae us. If we want Scots tae survive, it will. If we dinnae, weel ...

Whitever its future, the 2011 census recordit 1.6 million that coont Scots as their language or ane o their languages. Undemocratic is the ainly wey I can find tae describe the continued marginalisation o the leid o sic a large percentage o citizens.

Some 1.6 million speak Scotland’s ither national language but for ower mony years Scotland has effectively been tellin us tae shut up. But wi aw that’s happened and the possibilities o whit micht be, I dinnae think Scots speakers hae ony intention o haudin their wheesht, although I’ll haud mines the noo.

The National View: If we want a muckle pairt o oor story tae survive, it will ...