Forum for Research on the Languages of Scotland and Ulster

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Slack discussion topic 1:
'Gaelic sociolinguistics and language policy' (Wilson McLeod, Edinburgh)

  1. What are the most pressing current issues in relation to language policy in Scotland – for Gaelic, Scots, BSL, community languages and foreign languages?
  2. What might go into the new language act proposed by the SNP in its recent election manifesto?
  3. What responses are needed in different policy fields – education, public services and administration, arts, culture and media, community development, economy?
  4. What topics require additional research or more sophisticated analysis?

Slack discussion topic 2:
'Disconnect: tracing (morphosyntactic) change in seventeenth and earlyeighteenth century Scots' (Robert McColl Millar, Aberdeen)

  1. To what extent can we describe the changes which Scots passed through in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century, when little Scots is being written?
  2. Is it particularly difficult to describe morphosyntactic changes?
  3. Is there sufficient evidence available to trace major innovations, such as the be + in progressive , and their spread, as there is for early Modern English?
  4. If not, how can the course of these changes be mapped/reconstructed?

Slack discussion topic 3:
'How to approach pre-modern multilingualism in Scotland?' (Joanna Kopaczyk, Glasgow)

The languages of Scotland have been studied prolifically from the perspective of contact-induced language change in the lexicon and structure. In addition to these traditional perspectives, there is an increasing recognition of the inherently multilingual character of historical communication at any given point in time (see recently Pahta, Skaffari and Wright (eds.) 2018 and Wright (ed.) 2020). In this Slack discussion we'll be looking at research challenges posed by multilingual practices in Scotland, including the Latin-vs-vernacular dimension, the relationship between Gaelic, Scots, and English, and any other relevant topics. Suggested starting questions:

  1. What does multilingualism mean in the Scottish context?
  2. How does it change over time?
  3. How is multilingualism represented in the existing resources for the study of pre-modern language use in Scotland, including editions and corpora?
  4. What contextual information is required to make sense of multilingual practices in pre-modern Scotland?

Slack discussion topic 4:
'21st century Scots: what is it, and where is it going?' (Jennifer Smith, Glasgow)

This session focusses on a number of issues connected with variation and change in present day Scots. We concentrate on linguistic structure, and how this might be impacted by social issues. Questions may include:

  1. How can we best describe the different varieties of Scots?
  2. How are these varieties evolving? Towards a more local or supuralocal norm? Or both?
  3. Is there a stock of features shared across all varieties that can be labelled as 'Scots'?
  4. Are there more similarities than differences, or more differences than similarities, across varieties?
  5. Are some varieties 'thriving' more than others?
  6. Who is included in the designation 'speaker of Scots'?