THE search is on for Scotland’s first official Scriever.

Creative Scotland and the National Library of Scotland yesterday announced they were looking for someone to produce brand new work in Scots and to act as an ambassador for the language.

Those thinking of applying must have a “Weelkent reputation in the creative yaisse o the Scots language, in onie sindrie kin or dialeck o Scots”.

The two year role, funded by Creative Scotland and based at the National Library comes with an annual salary of £15,000.

Scotland’s Scriever was one of a raft of announcements on Scots language from Creative Scotland yesterday. The body launched their official new Scots language policy which commits them to both funding work in Scots and, crucially, to accepting funding applications in Scots.

Creative Scotland also promised that they would do more to promote the language through official channels, like their website, press releases and events, making them the first government body to do so.

The policy was welcomed by writer, translator and Scots language expert Matthew Fitt.

Fitt, who was responsible for translating Roald Dahl’s the Twits into the Eejits, and who worked on the Scots language Asterix and the Picts book, said that it was about time that Scots was finally recognised.

“Scottish society has aye institutionally marginalised the Scots language and its speakers,” said Fitt, “wi the majority o Scots speakers fae working class urban and rural communities, it is clearly noo an issue o social justice that requires the urgent attention o the country’s highest heid yins. Creative Scotland deserves muckle credit for its new policy on Scots. It gies speakers o the Scots language a status and respect that too many in our society wid raither deny. Ither organisations, tak note. This policy is a model for a fairer mair inclusive Scotland”.

Launching the policy Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for culture, Europe and external affairs said that there were one and half million Scots language speakers: “The Scottish Government’s ambition is fur the Scots language tae be kent, gien wurth an yaisit in Scottish public an hameart life. The Scots language is a heichmaist pairt o Scotland’s kenspecklt culture an heritage, an the Scottish Government taks tent o the forderin o the Scots language throughoot Scotland in aw its regional an local sindrie kins.

“In adoptin this policie, Creative Scotland hauds wi the contribution the Scots language has brocht, an continues tae bring tae Scotland’s rich culture an heritage, in a kintra wi mair nor 1.5 million Scots spikkars.”

Dr John Scally, National Librarian at the National Library of Scotland said: “We are delightit tae be workin wi Creative Scotland in creatin this excitin new scrievin role, as pairt o oor ongaun commitment tae the Scots language. Oor collections are rich in Scots an include some o the earliest examples o scrieven Scots throu tae scrievers sic as Robert Burns, Hugh MacDiarmid an, in mair recent times, Irvine Welsh.” 

Leids fae Orkney tae Drumchapel maun floorish

By Harry Giles

WHIT’S it mean that Fiona Hyslop, whan lenchin Creative Scotland’s Scots Language Policy, hytert ower the pairt o her screed that wis wrote in Scots?

Govrenment screeds are wrote in a antrin idiom o English. We’re uissed tae hearin the tuim wirds o public relations slidder sneithly by, sae nae wunner that whan thay run intae a Scots wird, a wird pangit wi anxieties o class an identity an nation, thay’re scunnert. It’s grand tae think that the Scots leid micht whiles fool the wheels o govrenment.

An mebbe the wirds wis unco onywey, belangin tae the leeterar (but aye bonnie an uissfu) canon o Scots steid o the gleg vernaclar Scots her mither spak doun the phone tae hame.

This langed-for leid – a formal, staundardised Scots suitit tae newspapers an cultural policy – belangs tae the govrenment websites o some Scots’ langed-for state, but it’s faurder fae the leid o Craigmillar as it is fae the leid o Westminster.The Scots Language Policy daes, houiver, laudably walcome aw the kynds o Scots, wi cultural uphaud due tae the leids o Orkney an Drumchapel as tae Kelvingrove an Holyrood. This, alang wi a shift in eddication policie that taks Scots intae the clessroom, is a bangin ootcome o decades o language activism: wark that means thare’s no so mony bairns’ll be shamit for the wey they speak, an that mair weys o thinkin an scrievin will mebbe floorish an be acceptit.

But hou wad it be gif a govrenment strategy event haed speakers wi Niddrie or Sighthill accents an wirds, an whit leid policie cad mak that happen? An authorised Scots ettles tae tird the leid o ony cless or rural prejudice, but it canna end class conflict, an the staundardisation o Scots itsel derns the weys wir wirds mairk us oot. “Fouter” is alloued in the clessroom nou, but is “fam” – or “fml”?

That Scots nou haes clear and strang material an financial support is tae be celebratit. But whether the frawart, raivelt, ramstam literar an spoken uiss o Scots will thole its govrenment policie is yet tae ken.

Harry Giles is a performer, poet and general doer of things