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Spelling Scots

The Orthography of Literary Scots, 1700-2000

Jennifer Bann, John Corbett

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Analyses the development of Modern Scots orthography and compares the spelling used in key works of literature

People have been writing in Scots for over 700 years, but the spelling of Scots has never been fixed, with many words, like buik, buke, book, appearing in a variety of forms. Drawing on the Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing, this volume provides a comprehensive survey of the spelling system of Older and Modern Scots, illustrating how this orthographic system has developed partly in response to historical shifts in pronunciation, and partly as a result of social and political change.

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About the Author

Jennifer Bann worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Glasgow, on the AHRC-funded Corpus of Modern Scottish Writing and Correspondence of Dr William Cullen projects.

John Corbett is Professor of English at the University of Macau and a Senior Research Fellow of the University of Glasgow. He is the author of Language and Scottish Literature (1997) and he co-edited The Edinburgh Companion to Scots (2003).


This book makes an original and distinctive contribution to scholarship in a number of areas as well as containing material that will be of interest to any well-informed reader, providing an important addition to the relatively small field of the history of Scots orthography.

Professor Joan Beal, University of Sheffield


This book is a really important and exciting contribution not only to the history of Scots spelling -- where its discussion may be regarded as authoritative -- but also to more general approaches to the history of orthography, drawing upon major large electronic corpora in an exciting and really novel way.

Professor Jeremy Smith, University of Glasgow