TEXTS in a fankle because your phone disnae ken whit yer oan aboot?

Dinnae fash, the world’s first Scots-speaking predictive text keyboard is here — and The National helped developers build it.

Techies at Microsoft subsidiary SwiftKey used material from this newspaper to teach their programme how to recognise, autocorrect and autopredict in Scotland’s ither national language.

The system uses artificial intelligence (AI) to adapt to the user’s writing style and is capable of running between both Scots and English at once.

Phrase recognition means typing “gie’s” will see the phone prompt “peace”, while keying in “hoo’s” triggers the suggestion “it gaun”

Users can also chose to turn this feature off and focus on just one language.

The development could ends years of grumbles by Scots sick of having their messages “corrected” by standard English-only systems that turn “awfy blether” into “awful belt her” and “peely wally” into “perky wall”.

Dr Rhona Alcorn of Scottish Language Dictionaries commented: “We are really excited — for the first time we can write texts and not have them turned into a kind of mangled English.

“This is a validation of a living, thriving language.”

Alcorn and her team in Edinburgh collected examples of current and historical Scots texts for the SwiftKey team after being contacted by the developers. This includes material from The National, Bella Caledonia, Robert Burns and even Facebook, as well as content from the new edition of the Concise Scots Dictionary, published this month.

The app already offers languages including Zulu, Yoruba, Mongolian and Chechen, as well as Arabic, Cantonese, Korean and German.

With a lack of standard spelling in Scots, the predictive keyboard accepts several variations of the same word, meaning it understands that “aw”, “aa” and “a” are one and the same.

The more users type, the more it will adapt to their preferred spellings and words. The data will be fed back to make the AI smarter for the benefit of all those swiping in Scots.

Alcorn said: “This tool can be used for any language, but it needs a structure of data to work out the spelling variants and to produce a predictive element.

“Our computational lexicographer Thomas Widmann sent a collection of texts written in Scots to the developers.”

The whole project has taken less than three months from start to finish, with London-based SwiftKey — which was purchased by the US tech giant for a reported £174 million in 2016 — first making contact with Scottish Language Dictionaries on September 21.

The speedy turnaround is partly due to the ready availability of suitable base material. Widmann had begun collating this for another project aimed at school pupils, slashing research time. Alcorn says the collaboration will also benefit her team, with information relayed back on contemporary word usage and popular spellings, allowing them to document the continued usage and development of Scots.

Alcorn, the company’s chief executive officer, says the rise of electronic media like social networking and instant messaging has helped people connect with the language in new way.

Calling the app a “powerful tool”, she said: “We are delighted that smartphones will no longer make their users feel like they are using ‘wrong’ English when they are actually using good, living Scots words, all with a long history.”

Alcorn added: “This tool is particularly instrumental for young people, who now will be able to communicate using the language they choose without having to make corrections as they go. That is a pretty powerful tool.”

Callum Baird, editor of The National, said: “We introduced a regular Scots column in January 2016. We are delighted that this has helped bring Scots to smartphones.”