Muckle bonnie wirds
April 2, 2004 1:23 PM   Subscribe

Dictionary of the Scots Language. The two major historical dictionaries of the Scots language, the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue (DOST) and the Scottish National Dictionary (SND), have been combined into one searchable online edition:
Thus, information on the earliest uses of Scots words can be presented alongside examples of the later development and, in some cases, current usage of the same words. In this way, we hope that the DSL will allow users to appreciate the continuity and historical development of the Scots language. By making the DSL freely available on the Internet, we also aim to widen access to the source dictionaries and to open up these rich lexicographic resources to anyone with an interest in Scots language and culture.
posted by languagehat (13 comments total)
I can't figure out how to navigate it very well. Which is a shame because I'm very interested in it (as much for the political presentation as linguistic).
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:36 PM on April 2, 2004

Scots is surely one of the few Anglo-Saxon dialects where "ye daft wee cunt" is actually a term of fond endearment. In passing, I note that the Scots originally came from Northern Ireland in the 6th century, invaded Pictland and renamed it Scotland or Alba, then were transplanted back to Northern Ireland beginning in the 17th century and, accelerated by the ethnic cleansing outrages of the Lowland and Highland Clearances, formed a huge percentage of the population of pre-Revolutionary North American Colonies, especially in the western frontiers of the Colonies. Their hostility to attempts by English landlords to extend their rights in North America provided the anti-British rebels in North America with early and crucial support.
posted by meehawl at 2:06 PM on April 2, 2004

"we also aim to widen access to the source dictionaries and to open up these rich lexicographic resources to anyone with an interest in Scots language and culture"

... they forgot to include "specifically anyone who has no colour vision".

holy hell that's painful.
posted by pixeldiva at 2:28 PM on April 2, 2004

One great use for the Scots dictionary we've discovered around our house: it makes Boggle even more fun, especially with all the "ae" and "oo" words.
posted by dame at 2:31 PM on April 2, 2004

Cool. The interface is a bit weird if you aren't searching for a specific scots word, but sometimes it works backwards, e.g. if you search headwords for "light" it takes you to the entry for licht. Searching the full entries for "large" can take you to great words like muckle.
posted by transient at 3:53 PM on April 2, 2004

A Scots website I've enjoyed is the Scots Speikers' Curn. Enjoy, and don't miss Book 18 of the Iliad!
posted by Zurishaddai at 4:04 PM on April 2, 2004

Thanks, that's great. "She quat the gloup" indeed!

And yeah, I hope they improve the interface, but hell, it's such a great resource I'll take it as is. I used to spend a lot of time with the physical volumes at a university library, vainly wishing I could have access at home...
posted by languagehat at 5:16 PM on April 2, 2004

There is no longer any excuse for not reading Gawin Duglas' translation of the Aeneid. The first translation of the Roman masterpiece into a dialect of English. Ezra Pound considered it superior to Virgil's original.
posted by mokujin at 6:10 PM on April 2, 2004


it's such a great resource I'll take it as is.

As will I. Many thanks.
posted by hama7 at 6:52 PM on April 2, 2004

I was lucky enough to have a sneak peek at this a couple of months ago. I love it. It does miss some opportunities for cross-references, it lacks pronunciations in some places where a non-Scots Anglophone might need them (hints on quhilk, anyone?), and it hasn't fully integrated the supplement into the original entries (giving you weird notes as in cooch, which are not linked back to the entry they refer to) but it's highly respectable, quality work, imminently useful to a huge spectrum of language-lovers.
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:16 AM on April 3, 2004

Mo: How do you link to individual entries like that?
posted by languagehat at 6:34 AM on April 3, 2004

Hat, use the "show only this frame" feature in Netscape and Mozilla (I forget the comparable procedure in IE, but there should be one) to get the URL for individual entries. Wow, the Scots Iliad is really amazing! Thanks to all.
posted by hairyeyeball at 6:48 AM on April 3, 2004

It's 'whilk'. (quh=wh) I always remember it as in the common opening to Church court cases 'The quhilk day' - 'which day' eg.

'The quhilk day comperit Bessie Smyth chargit wi ane quadrilapse in fornicatioun'

'Which day appeared Bessie Smyth charged with her fourth offence of sex out of wedlock'

Happy memories of learning 16th-17th century Scots palaeography! This is a great thing.
posted by Flitcraft at 9:31 AM on April 3, 2004

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