History of Scots
This resource features a short animation, a text resource and audio clips which provide examples of how Scots has been used over the last 400 years. There's also a longer, PDF version of the resource which can be downloaded with the audio clips and used offline.
How to use this resource
Scots is one of the three indigenous languages of Scotland and forms an integral part of our heritage and cultural life. It plays a vital role in children’s and young people’s learning about Scotland. The ‘3-18 Literacy and English Review’ recognises that Scots can make a strong contribution to the development of children’s and young people’s literacy skills.
Including Scots as part of Curriculum for Excellence can help motivate some learners and their families by showing them that the language they use at home is valued. Both the SQA Scots Language Award and Scottish Studies Award have seen increased uptake since being launched.
- Have your studies of Scotland featured Scots language?
- Have you explored how learning Scots can often improve your learners’ development of their wider literacy skills?
- Have you explored how using Scots in learning settings can often improve learners’ engagement and attainment?
- Has your school considered offering either Award to learners?
The audios in the zip file above are made up of readings in Scots from various eras in Scotland's history.
These recordings were done in partnership between Education Scotland and The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland RCS. The performers reading are current and former students at the RCS. They were coached by Jean Sangster, Head of Voice and the Centre for Voice in Performance at RCS. The readings were recorded in the RCS Recording Studio by Recording Studio Engineer Bob Whitney.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is ranked number three in the world for performing art education.
Audio recordings include:
What is the Scots language?
1. The Scots Language Today, read by Simon Hall
The beginnings of the Scots Language - Scots during the Middle Ages
2. From the Statutes of the Scottish Parliament, read by Adam Stevenson, BA Acting
3. John Barbour – The Brus, read by Katie Barnett, BA Musical Theatre
4. William Dunbar – My Heid Did Yak, read by Euan McCormack, BA Musical Theatre
5. Robert Henryson – The Preaching of the Swallow, read by Emma Hindle, BA Acting
Scots during Renaissance and Reformation times
6. John Knox – The History of the Reformation, read by Michael Abubakar, BA Acting
7. James VI – Reulis and Cautelis, read by Nicholas Ralph, BA Acting
8. James VI – Counterblast Against Tobacco, read by Nicholas Ralph, BA Acting
Scots in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
9. William Drummond – Sleepe, Silence Child, read by Megan McGuire, BA Musical Theatre
10. Robert Ayton – To View Thy Beauty Well, read by Michael Abubakar, BA Acting
11. Robert Fergusson – Auld Reikie, read by Ainsley Jordan, BA Acting
12. Robert Burns – Address to the Deil, read by Duncan Brown, BA Musical Theatre
Scots in the Romantic Age and Victorian times
13. Sir Walter Scott – Old Mortality, read by Ainsley Jordan, BA Acting
14. James Hogg – Confessions of a Justified Sinner, read by Christopher Marshall, BA Musical Theatre
15. Janet Hamilton – Oor location, read by Emma Hindle, BA Acting
16. The Scotchman Journal, read by Katie Barnett, BA Musical Theatre
Scots in the twentieth century
17. Charles Murray – A Sough O’ War, read by Euan McCormack, BA Musical Theatre
18. Hugh MacDairmid – A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle, read by Duncan Brown, BA Musical Theatre
19. Sydney Goodsir Smith – The Grace of God and The Meth Drinker, read by Adam Stevenson, BA Acting
20. Hamish Henderson – The Freedom Come All Ye, sung by Megan McGuire, BA Musical Theatre
21. WL Lorimer – The New Testament in Scots, read by Christopher Marshall, BA Musical Theatre