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A free online course has been developed that teaches the Scots language in the context it is spoken.

Developed by The Open University (OU) and Education Scotland, the course also highlights the role of the language in Scottish culture and society.

It takes about 40 hours to complete, and aims to boost understanding of Scots and its history.

The creators hope the course will be used in the classroom by teachers and other educators.

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The Scots Language Centre defines Scots as the national name for Scottish dialects that are known collectively as the Scots language.

The new course will be split into two parts, with the first now available on the OU’s OpenLearn Create platform.

The second part is expected to be online by the end of the month.

‘Significant step forward’

Sylvia Warnecke, OU senior lecturer in languages, said Scots was growing in popularity.

She said: “It feels right to show how as a language it has developed over time as a vital aspect of Scottish culture and history, and how it links to other European languages.”

Ms Warnecke said the course had been developed to appeal to both existing Scots speakers and those new to the language.

Michael Dempster, Scots Scriever at the National Library of Scotland, said: “As a first language Scots speaker and someone who teaches other speakers about their language, this course is a significant step forward in the continued recognition and understanding of our language.

“This is an excellent resource for both Scots speakers and learners. Gie it a shot.”

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