Ye micht hae thocht, whan ye packed it in at schuil, that ye’d had yer last row for sayin ‘oot’ insteid o ‘out’, ‘gaun’ insteid o ‘going’. But fae predictive text tae auto-correct, Google Translate tae Microsoft Word, the modern warld is full o wad-be dominies an their improvised tawses. The best yins will jist leuk at ye askance as ye rattle aff an email tae yer pal, merkin oot yer excesses wi wavy reid lines an speirin ye subtly, “Are you sure…?” The warst yins dinnae even bather speirin, are oot wi the Tippex afore the ink’s gaun dry, makkin o yer perfectly turned phrases a surrealist nichtmare o Dadaist proportions. Think ye jist sent a text askin whit time yer meetin at? Think again – “Why Tim wire get thing to gather Minnie?” That’s your text noo, Dave.
Sae an but! Awbody at Bella Caledonia rejoiced as yin that findeth great spoil this morn tae hear that the folks at Microsoft subsidiary SwiftKey, alang wi Dr Rhona Alcorn an her posse at Scottish Language Dictionaries, hae finally flung thegither a predictive keyboard that wirks wi Scots. Raither than haein tae draft every text three or fower times, an no just oot o social anxiety, spraffers o Scots will be able tae get it richt first time – an mebbe even afore that, yinst the feature has got uised tae guessin hou its uiser scrieves. Tae which end, the developers gaithert in a guid hantle o Scots writin fae aw ower the shop tae inform hou the new feature wad recognise an lairn – writin which includit Robert Burns, The National, an the earnest scribbles o yer guid correspondents richt here at Bella Caledonia. Fame at last, eh?
The thing aboot Scots is there’s aye that much wirk needin done. In this accelerated age o media an culture, there’s new products hittin shelves every single day, an virtually nane o them are Scots-ready oot the box. When it taks ye five meenits tae scrieve sowt in Scots that ye coud dae in English in twa – weel, ye dae it in English, unless ye’ve a guid reason no tae. Everythin that comes alang is aye needin adaptit, translatit, modded in some fremmit, unthocht o wey. It’s the ultimate DIY community, the endgame for the homebrew solution. An as lang as there’s nae siller in it – an there isnae – ye’ll never see ony commercial support for Scots as a leid. But chynges like this, when they come alang, mak it that bit easier for fowk tae pitch intae the tasks that lie aheid. The time-tax on scrievin in Scots jist got that much smawer, an we’ve got anither tool tae haun forby. An so, first order o business for this tool – use it tae mak mair tools.