IT’S BEEN heralded as a feminist version of Game of Thrones and derided by critics as having a plot with more holes than a pair of well-worn socks. But now Outlander, the cult Highland costume drama, is being credited with fuelling a growing interest in both Gaelic and Scots languages.

Voice coach Carol Ann Crawford, who has helped Outlander stars Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan perfect their accents, claims that the American-British TV series, which has an international audience of millions, could be just the thing to get the languages known by a wider audience.

Crawford said that the drama, which will return to our screens for a highly-anticipated second season on Sunday, is helping keep old Scots words alive and as well as creating a new growing awareness among an international audience.

“I feel a wonderful spin-off would be if it did spark interest in Gaelic and Scots, Old Scots,” she said.

“Those languages deserve to be heard. I think what is great is that Outlander reaches a very wide audience, so hopefully it’s reaching people who perhaps wouldn’t be likely to encounter Gaelic and Scots.

“We try not to be obscure but it’s great that we are using some of these older Scots words[in Outlander] because it’s only by using them that you keep them alive. What a loss it would be if those words were no longer alive.”

The dialect coach primarily spent the first season training the show’s actors to get their tongues around Gaelic, Old Scots and the type of English spoken in Britain in the 1940s. However with the second series set in Versailles and Paris, the focus of her work changed.

The series, filmed in purpose-built studios in Cumbernauld as well as on location, is based on the historical time travel Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon.

Developed by Ronald D Moore and produced by Sony Pictures Television and Left Bank Pictures for Starz, the show premiered in August 2014 and stars Caitriona Balfe as Claire Randall, a married World War II nurse in 1945 who finds herself transported back to Scotland in 1743. There she encounters the dashing Highland warrior Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan) and gets caught up in the Jacobite risings.

Tomorrow Heughan will lead the parade – in an Outlander branded bus – as part of the Tartan Day celebrations in New York, with Visit Scotland claiming that the series is doing wonders in attracting a growing number of American tourists.

It reports that Doune Castle, Culloden, Falkland and Culross – which all featured in series one – have seen a dramatic rise in visitor numbers in the last year, and is predicting that series two will see interest in Scots heritage further increase.

Steven MacIver, of Bord na Gaidhlig, an organisation promoting the learning of Gaelic, said that they had anecdotally seen an increased interest as a result of Outlander, particularly abroad.

He added: “We live in a pop culture society and so though we have a Gaelic channel which is great, cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament and national bodies who are all working to promote the language, it is when you put it in a context that people see as ‘cool’ that you really see rapid success. I think we are already seeing that with Outlander.

“Interest is the first step in the Gaelic experience which leads people on to learn and love the language.”

Scotland was seeing an increase of both children and adults learning Gaelic, he added.

Matthew Fitt, a Scots writer, language consultant and National columnist, said: “Onythin that doesnae mak Scots speakers look and soond like eejits works for me. ‘Ootlander’ can ainly add tae the growin debate aboot the Scots language.”

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, added: “Outlander has taken the world by storm and it is important that we capitalise on the continued success of a series in which Scotland really is the star.

“With its stunning imagery of the Callanish Stones, which are just like the ones that play such a pivotal role in the series, our bus is sure to be a big hit during the hugely popular Tartan Day Parade.”