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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

The Scots Language Society

Scots Language Society

The Scots Language Society launched in 1973 by the then recently formed Lallans Society (later renamed the Scots Language Society), is perhaps best known for Lallans - a journal for people writing both poetry and prose articles in Scots. Since it began Lallans has enjoyed fluctuating fortunes, been under the care of a variety of editors – some hands on and others circumspect – and helped launch the writing careers in Scots of a few names with whom we are familiar today. Indeed, there can be few people pro-active in the Scots language community in recent decades who have not appeared between its pages. But perhaps the most important fact of all is that for over forty years Lallans has remained the only journal devoted to writing in Scots, which is surely a comment on the dearth of opportunities for those wishing to write in, and develop, the language.

Recently the former Scottish Arts Council decided to stop funding the journal and, so far, no mechanism has been established for the successor organisation, Creative Scotland, to provide a funding stream. It is also a poor comment on the way in which our only journal in Scots has been left in limbo and is now having to face the prospect of winding up. Many writers have since waived their fees in an effort to help and that, in fact, fees have now had to be reduced to meet costs. That was certainly not the vision that the Society and others had when Lallans was established for developing writing in Scots, but the Society has been forced into
an impossible situation. The national committee is considering whether to discontinue publishing in hard copy format (and continuing only with an online version) or end the journal altogether.

The Society also organises an annual sangshaw known as the 'Sangschaw' from Older Scots. That display of singing and writing in Scots – is a competition equivalent to the Scottish Gaelic Mod or Welsh Eisteddfod. Entries must not have been published before and there are three tassies (cups or trophies) to be won as well as money prizes for winners and runners-up. Entrants may offer a piece of prose writing up to 3000 words, or a poem or piece of drama up to 60 lines.

The Scots Language Society also holds an Annual Collogue, usually around a particular theme.

For more information please visit the Society website at