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Dictionary of the Scots Language

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The Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL) (Scots: Dictionar o the Scots Leid, Scottish Gaelic: Faclair de Chànan na Albais) is an online ScotsEnglish dictionary run by Dictionaries of the Scots Language. Freely available via the Internet, the work comprises the two major dictionaries of the Scots language:[1]

The DOST contains information about Older Scots words in use from the 12th to the end of the 17th centuries (Early and Middle Scots); SND contains information about Scots words in use from 1700 to the 1970s (Modern Scots). Together these 22 volumes provide a comprehensive history of Scots. The SND Bibliography and the DOST Register of Titles have also been digitised and can be searched in the same way as the main data files. A new supplement compiled by Scottish Language Dictionaries was added in 2005.


The digitisation project, which ran from February 2001 to January 2004, was based at the University of Dundee and primarily funded by a grant from the Arts and Humanities Research Board, with additional support provided by the Scottish National Dictionary Association and the Russell Trust.[2] The project team was led by academic, Dr Victor Skretkowicz and lexicographer, Susan Rennie, a former Senior Editor with the Scottish National Dictionary Association.[3][4][5][6] Its methodology was based on a previous, pilot project by Rennie to digitise the Scottish National Dictionary (the eSND project), using a customised XML markup based on Text Encoding Initiative guidelines.[7][8][9] The Dictionary of the Scots Language data was later used to create sample categories for a new Historical Thesaurus of Scots project, led by Rennie at the University of Glasgow, which was launched in 2015.[10]

Dr Victor Skretkowicz was born in Hamilton, Ontario, in 1942; joined the University of Dundee's English Department in 1978 and in 1989, became the Dundee University's representative on the Joint Council for the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue being elected as its convenor three years later. Under his direction it was responsible for volumes 9–12 of that dictionary. In 2001, he was appointed Research Director of the project to create the Dictionary of the Scots Language. Skretkowicz retired from Dundee in 2007 and died in 2009. Archives relating to his work are held by the University of Dundee's Archive Services.[11][12]

Dictionaries of the Scots Language[edit]

Dictionaries of the Scots Language (DSL), originally Scottish Language Dictionaries, is Scotland's lexicographical body for the Scots Language. DSL is responsible for the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and the Scottish National Dictionary. The organisation was formed in 2002 and continues the work of several generations of Scottish lexicographers. The current project team includes editorial staff from the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue and from the Scottish National Dictionary Association.

In 2021, Scottish Language Dictionaries became an SCIO (Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation) and changed its name to Dictionaries of the Scots Language. It is a registered charity in Scotland with the OSCR number SC032910. DSL also undertakes a wide programme of educational work throughout Scotland, with people of all ages and abilities.


  1. ^ "What is DSL", Our Publications, Scottish Language Dictionaries, retrieved 8 July 2020
  2. ^ "About the DSL (first edition)". Dictionary of the Scots Language. Archived from the original on 4 February 2005.
  3. ^ "Researchers Put the Scots Language Online". Times Higher Education Supplement. April 2002. Retrieved 16 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Scots wha hae web access". Contact Magazine. May 2002. Retrieved 14 April 2019.
  5. ^ "MSP supports Scots language project". June 2002. Retrieved 6 January 2020.
  6. ^ "Online move for Scots language". March 2004. Retrieved 8 July 2020.
  7. ^ Susan Rennie (June 2001). "The Electronic Scottish National Dictionary (eSND): Work in Progress". Literary and Linguistic Computing. 16 (2): 153–160. doi:10.1093/llc/16.2.153.
  8. ^ Rennie, Susan (August 2000). "Encoding a Historical Dictionary with the TEI (With reference to the Electronic Scottish National Dictionary Project)". In Ulrich Heid; Stefan Evert; Egbert Lehmann; Christian Rohrer (eds.). Proceedings of the 9th EURALEX International Congress. Institut für Maschinelle Sprachverarbeitung. pp. 261–271. ISBN 9783000065743.
  9. ^ Rennie, Susan (2016). "The Lexicography of Scots". In Hanks, Patrick & G.-M. de Schryver (ed.). International Handbook of Modern Lexis and Lexicography. Berlin: Springer.
  10. ^ Rennie, Susan (2016). "Creating a Historical Thesaurus of Scots". In Rodríguez Álvarez, A. (ed.). Words across History: Advances in Historical Lexicography and Lexicology. Las Palmas: Las Palmas de Gran Canaria University Press.
  11. ^ "UR-SF 62 Papers of Dr Victor Skretkowicz". Archive Services Online Catalogue. University of Dundee. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  12. ^ "Blog entry: The papers of the late Dr Victor Skretkowicz..." Archives, Records and Artefacts – Blog. University of Dundee. 24 November 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2017.

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