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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences : Language Sciences

Postgraduate Course: History of Scots (LASC11130)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course will study the emergence, structure and status of Scots from its earliest beginnings to c.1900.
Course description For each major stage in the language¿s development, the course will: (i) survey the socio-historical context; (ii) identify the major structural changes; (iii) consider theories of linguistic change. Students will additionally learn to read and analyse selected Older and early Modern Scots texts and to interpret Scottish place-names and other commonly-used Scottish terms. As the course progresses, there will be opportunity for some small-group discussions and interactive analyses of Older Scots texts.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Comment on linguistic features of texts from Early, early Middle, late Middle and early Modern Scots
  2. Describe diachronic developments at all levels of language in the history of Scots
  3. Identify key figures and events in the history of the Scots language and explain their impact
  4. Summarise and critically evaluate arguments concerning the status of Older Scots
  5. Interpret Scottish place-names and other commonly-used Scottish terms
Reading List
Corbett, J., J.D. McClure & J. Stuart-Smith (eds.) 2003. The Edinburgh companion to Scots. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Devitt, A. 1989. Standardising written English: Diffusion in the case of Scotland. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dossena, M. 2005. Scotticisms in grammar and vocabulary. Edinburgh: John Donald.
Görlach, M. 2002. A Textual History of Scots. Heidelberg: C. Winter.
Jones, C. (ed.) 1997. The Edinburgh history of the Scots language. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Kay, B. 1988. Scots: The mither tongue. London: Grafton.
Macafee, C. & A.J. Aitken. 2002. A history of Scots to 1700. In W. Craigie et al. (eds.), A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, vol. XII. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Online at:]
McClure, J.D. 1988. Why Scots Matters. Edinburgh: Saltire Society.
Murison, D. 1979. The historical background. In A.J. Aitken & T. McArthur (eds.), Languages of Scotland, 2:13. Edinburgh: Chambers.
Robinson, C. & R. Ó Maolalaigh. 2007. The several tongues of a single kingdom: the languages of Scotland, 1314:1707. In T.O. Clancy & M. Pittock (eds.), The Edinburgh history of Scottish literature, vol. 1, 153:63. Edinburgh: EUP.
Smith, J. 2013. Oder Scots: A linguistic reader. Woodbridge: Boydell & Brewer.

Web resource
Timeline of the Scots Language AD 550-1700, Scots Language Centre. Available at:
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Rhona Alcorn
Tel: (0131 6)50 6660
Course secretaryMiss Toni Noble
Tel: (0131 6)51 3188
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