2007 - 2022

Scots Keyboard

Scots keyboard at lang last!

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.

First seen owre at the National.


Comments (21)

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  1. Alistair Littlejohn says:

    As I was reading this, BBC6Music news was telling me that this is now available to Cornish speakers. No surprises that there was no mention of Scots.

  2. Scott says:

    Geed news boi.

  3. Joey Schmidt says:

    Fair beltin so it is. Minny ah rid squiggul bulow aw ma wurds. Nae mair we say, nay mair!

    1. Ally says:

      ken! thae wee reid squiggles can get richt in the sea fae now oan!

  4. Alf Baird says:

    Aw weel an guid, houiver Scots fowk shuid aye hae thair ‘Scots Langage (Scotland) Act’ giein:

    – Scots Language Higher
    – Scots Language Degree
    – Scots Language TV Channel
    – Scots Language Board
    – Scots Langage budget – tae pey for aw thon abuin

    If its guid eneuch for Gaelic an Englis…………

  5. Matt Seattle says:

    Raither nor
    “Raither than haein tae draft every text three or fower times”
    Can we no hae –
    “Raither nor haein tae draft ilka text three or fower times” – ?

    Bring back ilka!

  6. Moscow says:

    Not a stand alone language Scots is basically misspelt English spoken in a local accent with a handful of dia lect words that are different depending on which part of Scotland you happen to be in.
    Promoting Scots as you perceive it is Exclusivist ,prejudiced, anger fuelled claptrap and Scots should be left alone to the real Scottish folk to use as they wish and not commandered by hateful and politically inspired nationalists.
    Scots belongs to the people not self appointed spokespersons such as yersel’

    1. Alf Baird says:

      Wi muckle mense, awa an byle yer heid. Yer mebbe cawed ‘Moscow’ yet ye dinna ken ower muckle aboot Russianization (or Anglicisation), an langage doon hauden (oppression).

      It was the British upper classes who were (and still are) unable to pronounce many Scots words and simply changed them – e.g. thay coudna pronoonce ‘Calder’ sae thay spelt it ‘cawdor’ (hint: say it slowly, stressing each syllable).

      The fact is, thar mair Scots wirds alike Norwegian nor Englis. But I expect you would never dare to suggest that Norwegian “is not a stand alone language”. Only independence will liberate our Scots mither tung.

    2. Ally says:


      Weesht, ya fud

    3. Richard Wickenden (ex Tory from the mid-ninetys) says:

      You are a total A*S*HOLE. I have lived in Scotland since 2005. I was born in England. I did not learn any languages other than English and for that I am extremely sorry. However, the language of your country be it Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland France, Greece, Italy or even England should be spoken even if it is a second or third language of your country of birth. I am so glad that my wife and I live in Scotland which has such a diverse mix of peoples both born here and living in this great country. The sooner we are independent from the cesspit that is Little Britain the better.

    4. Ellie McDonald says:

      Whan oniebody hes tae craw on tap o hes middenheap in sic a misbegotten wey ye ken he’s nae kenning ava o Scots. But Moscow here’s a wee thochtie. The Israelis hed nae language left tae cry thir ain. They cam fae aa the airts an cobbled thegither whit is nou spoken. Try tellin Netanyahu es wrang. Guid luck wi that.

      1. Moscow says:

        No offence but I dinnae ken anyone who wants to speak Scots as a first ‘language’. The concept is ridiculous. The motive smacks of national prejudice against the English and I see no benefit in that direction of travel. ….It’s a dead end to be travelled by bigots and haters. You’re trying too hard and it’s cringeworthy.

        1. Alf Baird says:

          Language is not the only indicator of cultural distinctiveness, but it is well established that the basis of any culture is language. There is a unique tie between culture and language. “The languages we speak provide us with the words and concepts to describe the world around us, allowing us to verbalize certain values easily. Anything we as a cultural group value will surely have a known and easily understandable term. Being a native speaker of our mother tongue brings with it more than just the ability to communicate, it brings with it the ability to understand why someone thinks and acts as they do”. (https://www.languageandculture.com/cultures-languages)
          “The Sapir–Whorf hypothesis states that the way we think and view the world is determined by our language (Anderson & Lightfoot, 2002; Crystal, 1987; Hayes, Ornstein, & Gage, 1987).
          “Culture and language are undeniably intertwined”. (http://www.education.com/reference/article/culture-language/)
          “New cognitive research suggests that language profoundly influences the way people see the world” (http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052748703467304575383131592767868)
          “Language is more than just a means of communication. It influences our culture and even our thought processes.” (http://anthro.palomar.edu/language/language_5.htm

          Scotland’s enduring cultural difference therefore lies in our language, which is so inherently strong and distinctive that it still remains (1.6m people still speak Scots according to last census, shuid bi mair tho) despite centuries of ongoing Anglo indoctrination/state propaganda including the fact our colonial leaders have consistently refused to allow us to even teach wir ain langage tae Scots bairns in schuil, a basic human right denied. The entrenched feeling of inadequacy (i.e. ‘Scotland’s too wee, too poor, too stupit’) amongst No voting Scots is in large part due to the refusal to teach Scots to read and write in thair ain langage and to respect wir ain cultur. Naw voters (like you?) have the cringe big time as a result. Our elite-Scots naw voters are as Cleese described – ‘obedient retainers desperately seeking (a ‘superior’ Anglicised) status,’ expressed through speech, i.e. language. We need to appreciate that the Yes/No decision is essentially a cultural (and therefore linguistically influenced) decision, and rather less one of economics or anything else. And yes, the BBC are the dominant purveyor of the ‘superior’ ‘proper’ English language message, plus the influence of institutional Scotland also looms large, from the schools (especially private ones) to the uni’s (esp elite ones) to the courts, to the parly etc ad infinitum. There is therefore good reason Scots arena taucht thair ane leed; if we waur, we wad shuirly tak wir ain nation bak, swith-like. Scots are therefore discriminated against (from birth) in their own nation and are thereafter continually disadvantaged throughout their life by the prevailing colonial language strategy/resources/policies of state authorities; this inevitably has linkages to the ‘attainment gap’. To put it another way, the under-privileged indigenous Scots mostly speak Scots, and most Yes voters also speak Scots, whereas Scotland’s authorities and establishment (including education, broadcasting, courts etc) do not. This is cultural discrimination, and its consequences include very real socio-economic constraints for many Scots. You appear to advocate that this form of cultural discrimination should continue.

        2. It’s an interesting idea that speaking in your own tongue would automatically be ‘national prejudice against the English’. Even if you’re talking about music, children or fishing?

          You’re trying much too hard and it’s cringeworthy.

          1. Moscow says:

            I wasn’t saying that talking in your local dialect is the problem.
            It’s politicising it that’s the problem and wanting to impose your version of it on folk that’s the problem.
            Talking of people in terms of Naw voters or otherwise is the problem. That’s how fascists operate. You can dress it up anyhow you like but your motives are sinister.
            No one is preventing anyone from speaking exactly how they want and it’s false to say otherwise.

      2. Moscow says:

        Like I said….you’re speaking English in a Scottish accent with a few dialect words. You’re trying much too hard and it’s cringeworthy.

        1. Big Al says:

          I’m of a mind that language suppression is ” how fascists operate “.

          1. Moscow says:

            Exactly my point….thank you!

        2. Ally says:

          “your motives are sinister”

          I mind when masel an aabdy else that bides here got thegither tae cowp baith Westminster an Capitalism through the act o screivin doon wirds sic as ‘braw’ an ‘bairn’, instied o jus sayin them.

          The coup fir us wad hae tae been when aa thae Tories did their Oath in Scots…

          “New North-east Conservative MSP Peter Chapman was the first member to take his oath in the Doric today.

          Mr Chapman, wearing the Conservatives’ thistle buttonhole, said: “I depone aat I wull be leal and bear ae full alleadgance tae her majesty Queen Elizabeth her airs an ony fa come aifter her anent the law. Sae help me God.””

          Sinister motives indeed

  7. Big Al says:

    No. It’s not.

  8. Phil Rooney says:

    Share dae ah git yin? Ur they dear?

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