Scottish Newspapers Becoming Less Scottish

04th June 2009

Scottish Newspapers

A new and fascinating book by Dr Fiona Douglas suggests that home-grown Scottish newspapers have become much less Scottish since the advent of devolution while English-based papers are growing in Scotland. Dr Douglas, who, since the 1990’s, has studied the use of both the Scots language and Scottish-accented English in the written press, has been able to reveal certain trends about the use of language in Scottish newspapers. In her book, called ‘Scottish Newspapers, Language and Identity’, she shows that Scottish newspapers traditionally made use of certain Scots words and phrases as a way of boosting their native credentials to Scottish readers and that this process, in turn, has played a significant role in maintaining separate Scottish cultural and poltical identity. Douglas studied several widely-read newspapers in Scotland during the period 1995-2005, including the Daily Record, Herald, Scotsman and The Sun, and found that the amount of Scots words and phrases in papers such as the Herald and Scotsman has declined significantly, though the Daily Record had grown. At the same time she found strong evidence for English-based newspapers breaking into the Scottish market and increasingly using Scots words and phrases as a way of selling their papers to Scottish readers. Douglas cites a Scottish press in crisis that is having to battle with Scottish branch editions of English newspapers, with all the ideological and political implications of dominance by non-native interests. For anyone with an interest in the maintenance and development of Scottish identity and language, this book will no doubt prove a powerful, and timely, read. The book is published by Edinburgh University Press and enquiries may be directed to www.euppublishing.com (ISBN 978 0 7486 2437 9).