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Circular Library

Gaelic and Scots

Marcas Mac an Tuairneir


The Federation upholds, respects and celebrates the literature of Scotland and Scots around the world in Gaelic, Scots and English and acknowledges Scottish literature is a plural artform including work in BSL and community languages. This is one of our core principles.

Scots is a language and it has many dialects spoken in both Scotland and the North of Ireland including Doric, Shetlandic, Orcadian and Ulster Scots.

We welcome writers and writing in Scots, whatever their dialect or register.


Scottish Gaelic is a language. Though closely related to Irish it is not a dialect of Irish. In Scotland it has co-national status in law and state.

We welcome writers and writing in Gaelic.


The Federation particularly welcomes projects and events which are inclusive of all three literary languages, and welcomes equality, diversity and inclusion of other protected groups. We acknoweldge that the exclusion of Gaelic and Scots is still an issue within Scottish Literature and encourage all our members to carry with them our inclusive values, throughout their work in the sector.

In terms of general conduct, particularly referring to matters of identity, please refer to our our Constitution, FWS Pledge and Facebook Group guidelines about respectful communication. Discussion and respectful debate is welcomed, though please be mindful of the use of tropes which could be considered offensive by some of the Scots and Gaelic writers, who are members. 


Firstly, these include describing Scots 'slang', particularly when describing urban dialects of Scots, which may or may not include code-switching with English, which is a natural aspect of language.

Secondly, descriptors like 'antiquarian' or 'ancient'. These are living, modern languages used to express contemporary experience.

We do not welcome the belief that Gaelic or Scots would be a barrier to inclusion, prestige or career development. Our writers continually demonstrate that that is not the case.

Likewise we do not welcome the idea that inclusion or equality for Gaelic and Scots are in anyway detrimental to the English language and its literature in Scotland.

Speakers and writers of these languages are acutely aware of their minoritised status. This is an issue our work seeks to engage with and ameliorate. It is not a reason to disparage these languages, their writers or to dispute their place and relevance in contemporary Scotland.

If you are involved in discussions around these issues, bear in mind that, as members of minoritised communities, Gaelic and Scots writers often have the burden of explaining placed upon them. They offer their perspectives for the benefit of others, so they might better understand. If debate becomes heated, this is likely because Gaelic- and Scots-speakers face language-based discrimation in their daily lives. Please be aware that the Federation is a nurturing space to support writers and writing, not a place for political debate unconnected to your writing. We do however encourage writers to engage with political and social issues through their work.

Even in times of increased awareness, representation and visibility, some people are not familiar with the issues in question. If you are a Scots or Gaelic writer, try to consider such discussions as an opportunity to educate or raise awareness as this is a valuable part of the Federation's work.

We are keen for writers to use our spaces to communicate in Gaelic and Scots, as well as using English as a lingua franca. Please do get in touch with your ideas of how we can boost use of these languages with the Federation's work.

Suas leis a' Ghàidhlig! Mon the Scots!

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