Scots Words and Place-names

Scots Words and Place-names (SWAP) aimed to engage the Scottish public in talking about the Scots words that they use and hear around them and features a comprehensive glossary of Scots place-name elements.

Visit the project website

Browsing the place-name glossary
Browsing the place-name glossary

SWAP used social media to investigate language use in Scotland. Traditional means of data collection, such as interviews and questionnaires, are inefficient, while results disseminated through expensive publications reach a limited audience. The problems are particularly acute for a language such as Scots, which has no standard written form and a range of regional varieties, and which until recently was accorded lower status than its close relative English. Instead, SWAP used integrated online community engagement methods to provide a framework for the public to access existing research into Scots, and to contribute their own local knowledge to ongoing research.

The project sought any examples of words, their meanings, how they were used and where they were used. The project also wanted to know about the names of places which use Scots words: how they were pronounced; if people knew what they meant; whether they appeared on maps or were known through word-of-mouth; even how they looked (through uploading pictures).

The results of the SWAP project were added to the word collections of Scottish Language Dictionaries and helped to form new dictionaries of the Scots language. They also contributed to our knowledge of Scots place-names. The information we gathered on place-names was used to populate a comprehensive glossary of Scots place-name elements and to supplement the dictionary-based research which was used to create it.

Main contact: Carole Hough

Developer: Brian Aitken

Start year: 2011

End year: 2011

Funded by: JISC

Subject area: English Language & Linguistics

Keywords: Place-namesScots

Record last updated 2020-01-28