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Digital Subscriptions > History Scotland > History Scotland Sep -Oct 2019 > FINAL WORD


Pauline Cairns Speitel, Senior Editor, Scottish Language Dictionaries (SLD), talks to History Scotland about SLD’s role in monitoring and documenting the Scots language for all
Pauline with John Swinney, Scotland’s First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills

What have been the key landmarks in the history of Scots lexicography?

You can see the foundations in the 18th century: in the glossaries that were produced as aids to readers of medieval Scottish texts and also – paradoxically – in the lists of contemporary Scottish terms deemed as ‘improper’ by the linguistically insecure. The first major monument, however, was undoubtedly John Jamieson’s Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language, first published in 1808, which defines some 15,000 terms from the recorded history of Scots. Jamieson’s work prevailed without serious rival until publication of the ten-volume Scottish National Dictionary (SND) between 1931 and 1976 and the twelve-volume Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST) between 1931 and 2002. The newest landmark is arguably the online Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL), which presents the entirety of SND and DOST to a global audience free of charge.

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About History Scotland

Don't miss Sep/Oct History Scotland and the launch of our Insider BONUS CONTENT! Highlights of this packed issue include: · The Sobieski Stuarts – new research on the remarkable brothers who popularised tartan and fooled a generation with their book Vestiarium Scoticum · New findings relating to the Traprain Law hoard – discovered in East Lothian 100 years ago this year · The Aberdeen Doctors – six men who dared to oppose the National Covenant · Lords of the Isles: a striking reconstruction of a medieval Islay power base * HISTORY SCOTLAND INSIDER: Exclusive interview, new video on the north east slavery legacy, exclusive discounts from heritage partners.​