Scots and Nynorsk: A Comparison of Two Language Movements' Struggle for Recognition in Higher Education

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Although usually regarded as a variety of English, in recent years an emerging Scots language movement in Scotland has made attempts to gain recognition for this distinct indigenous variety as a language in its own right. These attempts come as Scotland is experiencing a growing independence movement. Although not formally linked to the independence movement, the Scots language movement has interesting parallels in the Nynorsk movement which emerged as Norway gained independence in the years preceding and following 1905. This chapter explores the early phases of the struggle to have Scots recognised as suitable for use in schools and higher education in Scotland and draws parallels to the similar struggles faced by the Nynorsk movement c. 1884–
1939. It is different to currently ongoing considerations in other European countries in that English is well established in all sectors of Scottish society, but nevertheless connects with international discussions of post-colonial language policy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage Matters in Higher Education Contexts
Subtitle of host publicationPolicy and Practice
EditorsBritt-Marie Apelgren, Ann-Marie Eriksson, Susanne Jamsvi
Place of PublicationLeiden/Boston
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-04-50792-0
ISBN (Print)978-90-04-50791-3, 978-90-04-50790-6
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameCritical Issues in the Future of Learning and Teaching


  • Scots language
  • Nynorsk
  • language policy and planning
  • Higher education


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