THE nation's tourism agency has defended its stance on the use of the Scots language amid claims it uses English forms too often to promote events such as Burns Night.

The Scots Language Centre says in the past 15 years the use of the term Burns Nicht has been replaced by Burns Night and some Scots are losing the ability to pronounce certain parts of the language.

It also accused some supermarkets of using English forms to promote Scottish items for sale.

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Scots Language Centre director Michael Hance said it is calling on VisitScotland and others such as supermarkets and broadcasters to use the traditional form.

He also said there is evidence the "ch" sound – called the velar fricative by language experts – is dying out in some Scots speech.

Mr Hance said: "If people don't read or hear the word 'nicht' in a short time the Scots language will have lost another bit of ground to the standard English form.

"This week we celebrate the birthday of Scotland's greatest poet at a point in our history where many people can no longer produce the basic sounds of the language he wrote in."

However, a spokesman for VisitScotland said: "VisitScotland promotes Scotland throughout the world, often with Rabbie Burns and associated festivities playing an important role.

"At a recent advert launch, for example, we used a Rabbie Burns impersonator speaking in Scots.

"However, communicating in a broad Scots dialect is not always an option, particularly when marketing Scotland to those outside of the country.

"We are happy to meet with the Scots Language Centre to discuss how we can work together in the future."