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A Traveller alphabet

Resource for use with learners

About this resource

Scottish Traveller, Kelly Stewart and artist Jo Waterhouse have collaborated with members of the Traveller community to create an illustrated alphabet based on Travellers’ thoughts and experiences of living in Scotland.  The resource also aims to encourage children, their families and education staff to explore, enjoy and share aspects of the Cant language.

Many words are based on the Cant, which is said to mean ‘speech’ and comes from the Gaelic word ‘cainnt’. The Cant is a vibrant, varied language, spoken by many Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities across the UK. It draws upon Gaelic, Sanskrit, Scots and Romany and there are different versions in Scotland, Wales, England and Ireland. It also varies between Highland and Lowland communities across Scotland.

How to use the resource with learners

The full resource is on the STEP Families website, which families can access directly from their own devices without passwords.

Each letter of the alphabet is accompanied by an original illustration, a brief description and a simple activity or questions.  These have been designed to provide a starting point for discussion and shared learning between children and other family members at home.  You may need to support families in the initial stages by modelling discussion based on the illustration.  Simple questions can include:

  • What can you see in the picture?
  • Does it remind you of anyone or anything? tell me about that.
  • What do you like about the picture?
  • Can you think of a way to change the picture to make it better?

You can also show families who have limited reading ability how to set their devices to use the audio access facility.