Jings, crivvens … Oor Wullie's teachin' the bairns
Oor Wullie — one of Scotland's most famous characters — is helping children to learn Scots in an online educational initiative developed by the National Library of Scotland.
The 'Oor Wullie's guide tae Scots language' website launches today (October 8) aimed at primary schools across Scotland. It has been produced in association with Oor Wullie publisher DC Thomson and will help six- to 11-year-olds become familiar with the richness of the Scots tongue, as well as helping to breathe new life into the language.
It takes a fun approach to the subject and tells children of the enjoyment in store 'learnin and playin wi' oor Scots language. You can use some awfy braw words like drookit and scunner'.
The website has been developed with input from pupils and teachers at a number of Scottish schools. The Scots Language Centre, the Scottish Language Dictionaries, the National Trust for Scotland and the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum are all partners in the project. Launching the website in Edinburgh today, Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for Scotland's Languages, said: 'As someone who has grown up reading about Oor Wullie's adventures, I am delighted to be one of the first people to try out the website. Scots is a fantastic language with brilliantly descriptive words like driech, slitter or wheesht. Each of these may have a comparable word in other languages, but translations just don’t capture how expressive and illustrative the original Scots is.
'The last census showed an incredible 1.5 million people have some knowledge of Scots or uses it regularly which is a wonderful achievement when you consider that many people from previous generations were discouraged from using it. This site brings together a huge amount of expertise and the activities allow pupils to express themselves in a fun way that shows how popular Scots is across the country.'
For generations, the use of Scots was shunned in the classroom, but all that has changed under the Curriculum for Excellence which recognises that the languages, dialects and literature of Scotland provide a rich resource for children and young people to learn about Scotland's culture and identity.
The site includes a range of activities to help children become more familiar with Scots words including quizzes, word searches, flash cards and the opportunity to design their own comic. An 'audio map' feature allows children to submit a recording of their own use of Scots and will build up a picture of dialects across Scotland.
Dr John Scally, National Librarian, said: 'The "Oor Wullie guide tae Scots language" website uses a fun approach to the serious business of learning and can be accessed by primary schools all across Scotland. It has been designed to fit with the Curriculum for Excellence and aims to help children develop high level skills in listening, talking, reading and writing which are essential for learning, work and life.'
Oor Wullie Editor Morris Heggie said: 'The Scots language is an important part of Scottish culture and it has been a pleasure working with the National Library of Scotland on this project. Oor Wullie has been fair thrilled at the response from school children, and everyone involved with the strip is rooting for the project to be a huge success.'
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8 October 2014