The Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech project (SCOTS) has created a search facility that allows you to find all occurrences of a given form in their half-million-word corpus. As the Scotsman story puts it:
From today, the most detailed analysis to date of the Scots language will be accessible on the internet.
Containing 400 texts, the Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech project (SCOTS), aims to help instil in Scots, both native and expatriate, a pride in their national identity, as well as to try to halt the decline of the language, which unlike Gaelic receives relatively little promotion.
It has taken researchers from Glasgow University three years to compile the archive from all areas of Scots culture. Ranging from broad Scots to Scottish English, examples of prose, poetry, drama, essays and correspondence are included, along with additional audio and video material.
All texts will come accompanied with cultural and social commentary and analysis about the work and its author…
Dr Wendy Anderson, from the Department of English Language at the University of Glasgow, said: “We’re interested in the currency of distinctively Scottish words, such as gallus, canny, muckle, sonsie and braw. All Scots know these words; indeed they are often used to stereotype the people of Scotland, but are they actually still used? By whom? Where? In what contexts?
“And what about the grammatical features of Scots? Some people might frown on yous as a plural form of you, but research shows it’s overwhelmingly common in spoken language and written representations of speech.”
(LINGUIST List announcement here.) I got this via Mark Liberman at Language Log, who got it from abnu at Wordlab, and they both quote this wonderful paragraph from Alexander Fenton’s “Craiters: ‘I cannot get enough of it’,” which I can’t resist either:
Faar I wis brocht up, e only seabirds we’d see wis e seamaas. In my time we caad em seagulls, bit aaler fowk wid say seamaas, makin’t soon like ‘simaaze’. Ere’s ay change goin on in e dialect, an ye get a mixter o aal an new, bit it’s e life o language tae be aye adaptin tae different generations an different times. It’s naething tae greet aboot. Naething staans still, bit gin a wye o spikkin’s richt hannlet, fa’s tae say bit fit it michna leave its mark tee on fit ey caa e standard language? – for ere’s nae doot at e standard language sair needs a bit o revitalisation noo an aan. Bit I’m on aboot seagulls, nae hobbyhorses.
“Seamaa” is known to the OED as seamaw, not that it matters (it’s an archaic word for ‘seagull’), and “greet” is Scots for ‘cry’; I assume “bit gin a wye o spikkin’s richt hannlet, fa’s tae say bit fit” is ‘but if a way of speaking is handled right, who’s to say but what.’ The rest shouldn’t be too hard; there’s always the Dictionary of the Scots Language if you’re stuck.