20th August 2013
On 13 August Dr Dauvit Horsbroch and Katrina MacLeod of the Scots Language Centre met with Lilian Ross at the Soutar House in Perth. Lilian, who is a native of North East Scotland, but now lives in the Highlands, is known as a tradition bearer, that is, a person who has dedicated his or her life to collecting, keeping alive, and passing on the cultural traditions of her community and society. In Lilian’s case this has meant promoting the cultural traditions associated with the Scots language community, both from the North East, and nationally. Her own family were from a North East farming community whose members all spoke Scots but Lilian explained that the schools in past times attempted to discourage the language, even, bizarrely, when the teachers attempting to do so were themselves speakers. Lilian also described her many contacts with others in the community who are poets, singers and writers in the language, including members of the travelling community, and the ways in which she works today with schools to teach children about the language. Indeed, Lilian brought out a collection of poems and songs in Scots called ‘Yokie Tonsils’ and in June this year an album of songs called ‘Thorns and Roses’ which included some songs in the language. Lillian considered that attitudes towards the Scots language community had certainly improved, but found that educationalists still needed to achieve joined-up provision while government was often slow to show the same support to Scots speakers as it had shown to some other communities. Watch this space for the full Lilian Ross interview.