Congratulations to Joanna Kopaczyk who has been nominated in Social Media Person o the Year in the Scots Language Awards 2020. Vote now!
We asked Joanna Kopaczyk the following questions.
Tell us aboot yersel or yer ootfit.
I’m probably the only academic in the world who has ‘Scots’ in the job description! I’m a historical linguist with a passion for the history of Scots and I lecture on this topic, among other things, at the University of Glasgow. My recent media appearances include searching for juicy language in the Bannatyne Manuscript in a BBC Scotland documentary and taking part in the online panel on the past and future of Scots, organised by Oor Vyce.
I am slightly surprised by this nomination but I guess my Scots-related tweets, retweets and other media engagements have registered with people. I’m pleased to be able to spread the word and raise awareness about Scots in my academic capacity but also as an immigrant in Scotland who appreciates tolerance, inclusivity and what history can teach us about the present.
Whit wis it got ye involvit wi the Scots leid?
I was overwhelmed by Scotland as a place teeming with history, breath-taking landscapes and unique culture on my first visit in the early 90s. When I went to study English at university I really wanted to do a Scottish topic – and I was also fascinated by language variation and how it came about. So one thing led to another, and I ended up analysing a medieval world history written in Scots, The Sex Werkdays and Agis, for my Masters, and the Wigtown Burgh Court Book for my PhD.
Ony particlar career heighlichts?
Definitely being able to teach Scottish, English and international students about Scots at an ancient Scottish university! It is a priviledge and a great opportunity and I’m constantly inspired by the positive reactions to my work. I am also constantly surprised how little people know about the indigenous languages of their country, and what misconceptions and myths we’re up against.
I was also honoured to be elected Chair of the Forum for Research on the Languages of Scotland and Ulster (FRLSU), following in the footsteps of such great scholars as J.D. McClure and Robert McColl Millar.
Wha’s yer plans fir the days aheid?
We’re finishing an edited collection of papers from the last FRLSU conference, which will be available online in open access. I will certainly do a bit of social media publicity around this book launch!
I’m also committed to working towards the first university degree programme which will have the Scots language in its title. I think there’s an appetite for it, as the groundwork is being set for raising new generations of confident Scots users who will need a validation of their skills and interests at a university level. Watch this space!
The Scots Language Awards 2020 will be online at www.scotslanguageawards.com. We will have a mixture of events on the 23rd / 24th October. Performing at the Award on Saturday 24th September will be Gerda Stevenson, Gary Robertson, Shona Donaldson and Jim Malcolm.
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