Although Scots is listed by the European Bureau for Lesser Used Languages as one of the UK's minority languages, its historical development and its contemporary standing have been significantly affected by a perception that it is a non-standard dialect of English, to which it is closely related, rather than a language in its own right. By considering the historical context of Scots and drawing together evidence concerning its contemporary situation, this paper reflects on the linguistic vitality of Scots at the start of the 21st century. Making educational provision for minority languages is now recognised as a crucial factor in their survival. A critical analysis of current educational policy affecting Scots is therefore presented, in order to assess the role which educational provision might play in the future in strengthening the language. Finally outlined is the scope of research needed to evaluate the success of current and future classroom initiatives and to determine more effective educational policy and practice for the support of Scots and its speakers.
- linguistic vitality