A GROUP of Scots enthusiasts have teamed up to correct tens of thousands of Scots Wikipedia entries after it emerged at least a third of articles were written by one American who can’t speak the language.

Ryan Dempsey posted to Reddit after discovering more than 20,000 articles on the Scots version of the site were created by the US user who doesn’t “seem to have any knowledge of the language at all”.

He found that the user, who has been contributing to the site for six years, appeared to have written out articles in English and looked up individual words using online Scots translators – then left words for which no replacement could be found in their English form.

In a statement the group complained that having Scots “replaced with the dressed-up skeleton of another language is cultural vandalism at an unprecedented scale”.

Dempsey, from Northern Ireland, is passionate about the language after studying it – and is now part of a group of nearly 50 Scots speakers dedicated to going through the articles to translate them into actual Scots.

“Among Scots enthusiasts [Wikipedia] has kind of become a running joke, the quality of it and how divorced it was from how actual Scots is spoken,” Dempsey said.

He told The National: “It’s a language which has to deal with a lot of ridicule from people who aren’t really familiar with it and one of the ways they might have tried to become more familiar with it is looking up Wikipedia articles in it.”

Dempsey cited one “ridiculous” example where entries went wrong. In the submission for Telekinesis, the description was written in neither Scots nor English and read: “Telekinesis es a form of movnig ebjocts with yor maind.”

The group wants people to know that Scots is not a “mangled” version of English. “It’s its own living language with its own syntax, its own grammar, its own lexicon,” Dempsey said.

While the American user has now deleted his online accounts, Dempsey hopes that after the argument blows over they will learn Scots properly and provide a “positive contribution”.

READ MORE: How generations are joining forces to give the Scots language its proper place

Alistair Heather, the Scots writer and presenter, told The National that the articles were “harmless”.

He said the “Anglo-centric” view of Wikipedia means that for the smaller languages there’s “less and less reliable stuff”, created by fewer editors. “With Scots there’s loads of good content on there – but because there’s not that many folk working at it and not that many folk going on there, it left this big empty space,” Heather said.

He went on: “I think the good folk of Brechin, Peterhead and Kelso don’t give a s*** about this ... The reason it doesn’t matter is because if Scots speakers were engaging with Scots Wikipedia, the pages wouldn’t exist.”

The presenter believes this will change as the Scots version of Wikipedia becomes more of an important resource in the future, and is updated along the way.

Until then, the “Scots Wikipedia editors” Facebook group is inviting more Scots speakers to join their effort.

They are seeking anyone with fluency in, or good familiarity with, Scots to “chip in and help repair some of the damage” during their August 30 “editathon”.

For more details click here.

Heather is hosting a new Scots language interview show on the Hands Up for Trad Facebook and YouTube pages, beginning on September 27 with author Ross Sayers.