About the project

Dialects of Scots provide a rich source of syntactic variation (1-3):

  1. Give me that books. (Buckie, north east Scotland)
  2. I’m no been in Imelda’s in a while. (Shetland, northern Scotland)
  3. Hint she got a lovely smile! (Glasgow, central belt)


The Scots Syntax Atlas (SCOSYA)  is an AHRC-funded research project that maps such forms across time and space in order to address two key research questions:

  • Q1: What is the distribution of non-standard syntactic features in the dialects of Scots spoken across Scotland?
  • Q2: What does the distribution of dialect features of Scots tell us about the nature of syntactic variation and hence the architecture of the grammar?

To answer these questions, we are combining expertise in theoretical syntax, dialectology, sociolinguistics and digital media to produce a dialect syntax atlas of Scots, based upon data gathered from speakers of different generations in locations across Scotland. This provides not only an invaluable archival resource for Scots and language heritage more generally, but also allows us to ask far-reaching questions about the nature of syntactic variation and the theory of grammar.