Scottish History and Language Learning

Here at Blue Noun, we care about Scottish history, and many of our English guests do too.

This doesn’t mean that we ‘teach’ Scottish history on our English language holidays (many of our English learners are more knowledgeable than we are), but it does mean we have a passion to share, and we feel Scottish history.

History is one of the ways we share Scottish culture with you.

This blog is about our form of cultural heritage travel.

There’s quite a few links on this page, so that you can easily find more information on each topic introduced here.

Learn English with Scottish History, Fire and Folklore Festival in Crieff 2020. Costumed actors in street theatre, Language school in Scotland English immersion event

The Past is the Present

Our language holidays take you ‘behind the scenes’ of Scotland, to learn our culture not as a tourist, but on a deeper level.

Knowing the history of our nation will help you understand contemporary Scottish identities, culture and politics.

For example, I think Scotland rushed to welcome displaced Ukrainians because we have a diaspora of displaced people.

You can learn about ‘deep’ language immersion in this video. 

Learn English in the UK From Scotland with Love performance Perth Scotland

Traditional Scottish Music

Much Celtic song written about the homeland, was not written by people in the homeland, but separated from it.

If you have joined us for a holiday, you’ll know that we love sharing Scottish music with our guests.

We not only showcase traditional music, but share music fusing Celtic sounds with international or contemporary influences.

Music can be a great way into a culture and a language, we highly recommend the collaboration between musician King Creosote and filmmaker, Virginia Heath, From Scotland with Love, as a short cut to letting Scotland into your soul.

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English group outside the Tolbooth in Sirling

Kilts and Tartan | Traditional Dress 

Tourists are often quite excited to see kilts, but knowing the history of kilts being banned helps appreciate the way men walk tall and proud in them today. Our language was illegal, and our national dress was too. While tartan dips in and out of fashion, the Gaelic language has never recovered.

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Scots and Celtic Languages

We know that our guests are here to improve in English, not to learn Gaelic, but we often take a quick look at Scots languages in relation to place names or understanding the regional dialects that cover the UK.

A quick overview can help anyone living in Scotland and struggling to understand the Scottish accent.

Advanced L2 English users can have fun with the often visual language of Scots poetry, and the quite phonetical orthography. 

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Drummond Castle Gardens in Autumn

Visit Castles on a Language Holiday in Scotland

Our part of Scotland is peppered with castles.

Without knowing much of the individual history, you can get the thrill from this type of dramatic architecture – the solid walls, winding staircases and superb view created by thin archers’ windows.

All kinds of sensory experiences are good for language immersion, so we do visit castles on your English language holiday.

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ruined scottish cottage for blog about the highland clearances

Highland Clearances

Above all, don’t call the ruined houses in our landscape ‘cute’.

They represent families, and whole communities moved off the land during the Highland Clearances.

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a tour of the architecture of the V and A museum Dundee

Language School Museum Excursions

We frequently make language excursion visits to museums.

Not just to see the collection, but to question how the institutions are curating, preserving and presenting Scottish culture.

We may take a tour of Scotland’s Design Museum – the V&A.

The Burrell Collection won the 2023 Museum of the Year Award, and we explore why.

In our local city Perth, a new museum just opened. We look at the expectations around this investment – as well as the collection itself.

And our very favourite visit, not only a museum but a portal for time travelling: Innerpeffray Library has not only preserved its collection of lending books, but it also has a borrowers list too.

In terms of square footage, there’s better language immersion in Perthshire than the reading room in Innerpeffray library.

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the reading room at innerpeffray library
Red Kite photographed on Language Holiday Wildlife Experience at Argarty in Scotland

Eco Tourism in Scotland

Our tip for visitors in Scotland is while enjoying the beautiful Scottish landscape, look for what’s missing.

The answer is trees (natural woodland and the resulting ecosystems) and people (highland families). 

The iconic purple hills are barren compared to what they once were.

View them with the with the knowledge that 57% of rural land in Scotland is owned by private estates, most of which ‘control ‘pests’ like foxes, weasels (and historically birds of prey – which is now illegal).

The Impact of Private Estates on Wildlife

The latest Hen Harrier survey indicates that while their population has seen some improvement, it remains far below its potential, with many birds disappearing in areas managed for grouse shooting.

Illegal persecution linked to intensive grouse moor management is a significant problem.

Cultural Heritage Travel

You certainly should enjoy the majesty of Scotland, but without tourists challenging poor landscape management, nothing will change.

Tourism is a huge part of the Scottish economy.

Tourists demanding Sustainable tourism practices, wildlife-friendly travel and low-impact travel can effect systematic change: even more than our own communities!

You can make a positive impact as a tourist to Scotland.

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Edinburgh Beltane festival 2024

Improve Your English with Festivals

Festivals can be a great way into culture and cultural history because they are so immersive and captivating. You can lose your inhibitions an be whoever you wish (including an English speaker!). 

We even built an April English language holiday around 2 cultural Festivals.

From big ones like Beltane to local food festivals, our language school uses festivals as an ingredient in your cultural immersion.

If you join us for a language holiday in August, we’ll even take for a day at the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe.

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Edinburgh Beltane festival 2024

Get Talking with Scottish History

At Blue Noun, you can see we incorporate Scottish history into our English language holidays to offer immersive cultural experiences.

You will visit traditional historical sites like Stirling Castle, and our on-site coaching connects language and culture.

In addition, participate in events like festivals, ceilidhs and Burns Night to experience Scotland’s past and present.