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Scots (
endonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 milli ...
: ''Scots''; gd, Albais/Beurla Ghallda) is a
West Germanic The West Germanic languages constitute the largest of the three branches of the Germanic languages, Germanic family of languages (the others being the North Germanic languages, North Germanic and the extinct East Germanic languages, East Germani ...
language variety In sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of society, including cultural Norm (sociology), norms, expectations, and context (language use), context, on the way language is used, and socie ...
spoken in
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
and parts of
Ulster Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces of Ireland, provinces, in the north of Ireland. It is made up of nine Counties ...

Ulster
in the north of
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
(where the local
dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of Linguistics, linguistic phenomena: * One usage refers to a variety (linguis ...
is known as Ulster Scots). It is sometimes called Lowland Scots or Broad Scots to distinguish it from
Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups o ...
, the
Goidelic The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of Insular Celtic languages Insular Celtic languages are the group of Celtic languages The Celt ...
Celtic language The Celtic languages ( , ) are a Language family, group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic language, Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European languages, Indo-European language family. The term "Celtic" was first used ...
that was historically restricted to most of the
Highlands Highlands or uplands are any mountainous region or elevated mountainous plateau. Generally speaking, upland (or uplands) refers to ranges of hills, typically up to . Highland (or highlands) is usually reserved for ranges of low mountains. Highland ...

Highlands
, the
Hebrides The Hebrides (; gd, Innse Gall, ; non, Suðreyjar, "southern isles") are a Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language ...
and
Galloway Galloway ( ; sco, Gallowa; la, Gallovidia) is a region in southwestern comprising the of and . It is administered as part of the of . A native or inhabitant of Galloway is called a Gallovidian. The place name Galloway is derived from the ...

Galloway
after the 16th century.
Modern Scots Modern Scots comprises the varieties of Scots traditionally spoken in Lowland in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United State ...
is a
sister language In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change Language change is variation over time in a language A language is a structured system of communication ...
of
Modern English Modern English (sometimes New English or NE (ME) as opposed to Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th cen ...

Modern English
, as the two diverged independently from the same source:
Early Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language spoken after the Norman conquest of England, Norman conquest (1066) until the late 15th century. English language underwent distinct variations and developments following the O ...
(1150–1300). Scots is recognised as an indigenous language of
Scotland Scotland ( sco, Scotland, gd, Alba Alba (Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to simply as Gaelic) is a Goidelic language (in the Celtic languages, Celtic branch of the Indo-European ...

Scotland
, a regional or minority language of Europe, and a vulnerable language by
UNESCO The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (french: Organisation des Nations unies pour l'éducation, la science et la culture) is a specialised agency United Nations Specialized Agencies are autonomous orga ...

UNESCO
. In the 2011 Scottish Census, over 1.5 million people in Scotland reported being able to speak Scots. As there are no universally accepted criteria for distinguishing a language from a
dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of Linguistics, linguistic phenomena: * One usage refers to a variety (linguis ...
, scholars and other interested parties often disagree about the linguistic, historical and social status of Scots, particularly its relationship to
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
. Although a number of paradigms for distinguishing between languages and dialects exist, they often render contradictory results. Broad Scots is at one end of a bipolar linguistic continuum, with
Scottish Standard English Scottish English ( gd, Beurla Albannach) is the set of varieties of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eve ...
at the other. Scots is sometimes regarded as a variety of English, though it has its own distinct dialects; other scholars treat Scots as a distinct Germanic language, in the way that
Norwegian Norwegian, Norwayan, or Norsk may refer to: *Something of, from, or related to Norway, a country in northwestern Europe *Norwegians, both a nation and an ethnic group native to Norway *Demographics of Norway *The Norwegian language, including the t ...
is closely linked to but distinct from
Danish Danish may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to the country of Denmark * A national or citizen of Denmark, also called a "Dane", see Demographics of Denmark * Danish people or Danes, people with a Danish ancestral or ethnic identity * Danis ...
.


Nomenclature

Native speakers sometimes refer to their
vernacular A vernacular or vernacular language refers to the language or dialect that is spoken by people that are inhabiting a particular country or region. The vernacular is typically the native language, normally Spoken language, spoken informally rath ...
as (or "broad Scots" in English) or use a dialect name such as the "
DoricDoric may refer to: * Doric, of or relating to the Dorians of ancient Greece ** Doric Greek, the dialects of the Dorians * Doric order, a style of ancient Greek architecture * Doric mode, a synonym of Dorian mode * Doric dialect (Scotland) * Doric C ...
" or the "". The old-fashioned ''
Scotch Scotch most commonly refers to: * Scotch (adjective), a largely obsolescent adjective meaning "of or from Scotland" **Scotch, old-fashioned name for the indigenous languages of the Scottish people: ***Scots language ("Broad Scotch") *** Scottish Ga ...
'', an English loan, occurs occasionally, especially in Ulster. The term , a variant of the
Modern Scots Modern Scots comprises the varieties of Scots traditionally spoken in Lowland in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United State ...
word , is also used, though this is more often taken to mean the
Lallans Lallans (; a variant of the Modern Scots word ''lawlands'' meaning the lowlands of Scotland), is a term that was traditionally used to refer to the Scots language Scots ( sco, Scots; gd, Albais/Beurla Ghallda) is a West Germanic languag ...
literary form A literary genre is a category of literary composition. Genres may be determined by literary technique A narrative technique (known for literary fictional narrative A narrative, story or tale is any account of a series of related events or exp ...
. Scots in Ireland is known in official circles as
Ulster-ScotsUlster Scots, also known as Scotch-Irish, may refer to: * Ulster Scots people The Ulster Scots (Ulster-Scots The Ulster Scots (Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster-Scots: ''Ulstèr-Scotch'', ga, Albanaigh na hUladh), also called Ulster Scots ...
( in revivalist Ulster-Scots) or "Ullans", a recent
neologism A neologism (; from Greek νέο- ''néo-'', "new" and λόγος ''lógos'', "speech, utterance") is a relatively recent or isolated term, word, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but that has not yet been fully accepted ...
merging Ulster and Lallans.


Etymology

''Scots'' is a contraction of , the
Older ScotsOlder Scots refers to the following periods in the history of the Scots languageSuch chronological terminology is widely used, for example, bScottish Language Dictionaries Ltd.(formally SNDA), Dr of th and by th. It is also used in the ''Oxford Compa ...
and northern version of late ang, Scottisc (modern English "Scottish"), which replaced the earlier i-mutated version . Before the end of the fifteenth century, English speech in Scotland was known as "English" (written or at the time), whereas "Scottish" () referred to
Gaelic Gaelic is an adjective that means "pertaining to the Gaels". As a noun it refers to the group of languages spoken by the Gaels, or to any one of the languages individually. Gaelic languages are spoken in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. Whe ...
. By the beginning of the fifteenth century, the English language used in Scotland had arguably become a distinct language, albeit one lacking a name which clearly distinguished it from all the other English variants and dialects spoken in Britain. From 1495, the term was increasingly used to refer to the Lowland vernacular and , meaning "Irish", was used as a name for Gaelic. For example, towards the end of the fifteenth century,
William Dunbar William Dunbar (born 1459 or 1460 – died by 1530) was a Scottish makar poet active in the late fifteenth century and the early sixteenth century. He was closely associated with the court of King James IV and produced a large body of work in ...

William Dunbar
was using to refer to Gaelic and, in the early sixteenth century,
Gavin Douglas Gavin Douglas (c. 1474 – September 1522) was a Scottish bishop, makar and translator. Although he had an important political career, he is chiefly remembered for his poetry. His main pioneering achievement was the ''Eneados'', a full and faith ...
was using as a name for the Lowland vernacular. The Gaelic of Scotland is now usually called
Scottish Gaelic Scottish Gaelic ( gd, Gàidhlig ), also known as Scots Gaelic and Gaelic, is a Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups o ...
.


History

Northumbrian Old English Northumbrian was a dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of Linguistics, linguistic phenomena: * One usa ...
had been established in what is now southeastern Scotland as far as the
River Forth The River Forth is a major river in central Scotland, long, which drains into the North Sea on the east coast of the country. Its drainage basin A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common ...
by the seventh century, as the region was part of the
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social sciences * Identity (social science), personhood or group affiliation in psychology and sociology Group expression ...
kingdom of
Northumbria Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social scie ...

Northumbria
.
Middle Irish Middle Irish, sometimes called Middle Gaelic ( ga, An Mheán-Ghaeilge), is the Goidelic language The Goidelic or Gaelic languages ( ga, teangacha Gaelacha; gd, cànanan Goidhealach; gv, çhengaghyn Gaelgagh) form one of the two groups of In ...
was the language of the Scottish court, and the common use of Old English remained largely confined to this area until the thirteenth century. The succeeding variety of early northern
Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A language is a structured sys ...
spoken in southeastern Scotland is also known as
Early Scots Early Scots was the emerging literary language of the Northern Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History ...
. It began to further diverge from the Middle English of
Northumbria Northumbria (; ang, Norþanhymbra Rīċe; la, Regnum Northanhymbrorum) was an early medieval Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a cultural group Cultural identity is a part of a person's identity Identity may refer to: Social scie ...

Northumbria
due to twelfth and thirteenth century immigration of Scandinavian-influenced Middle English-speakers from the North and
Midlands The Midlands is the central part of England and a cultural area that broadly corresponds to the early medieval Mercia, Kingdom of Mercia. The Midlands region is bordered by Northern England and Southern England. The Midlands were important in th ...

Midlands
of England. Later influences on the development of Scots came from the
Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the third and eighth centuries. They are a subgroup of the Italic languages in the Indo-European languages, Indo- ...
s via
ecclesiastical {{Short pages monitor Such writers established a new cross-dialect literary norm. Scots terms were included in the
English Dialect Dictionary English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...
, edited by Joseph Wright. Wright had great difficulty in recruiting volunteers from Scotland, as many refused to cooperate with a venture that regarded Scots as a dialect of English, and he obtained enough help only through the assistance from a Professor Shearer in Scotland. Wright himself rejected the argument that Scots was a separate language, saying that this was a "quite modern mistake". During the first half of the twentieth century, knowledge of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary norms waned, and , there is no institutionalised standard literary form. By the 1940s, the
Scottish Education Department The Scottish Government Education Directorates were a group of the civil service The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected ...
's
language policy Language policy is an interdisciplinary academic field. Some scholars such as Joshua A. Fishman and Ofelia García consider it as part of sociolinguistics Sociolinguistics is the descriptive study of the effect of any and all aspects of socie ...
was that Scots had no value: "it is not the language of 'educated' people anywhere, and could not be described as a suitable medium of education or culture". Students reverted to Scots outside the classroom, but the reversion was not complete. What occurred, and has been occurring ever since, is a process of
language attrition Language attrition is the process of losing a native or first, language. This process is generally caused by both isolation from speakers of the first language ("L1") and the acquisition and use of a second language A person's second language, or ...
, whereby successive generations have adopted more and more features from Standard English. This process has accelerated rapidly since widespread access to mass media in English and increased population mobility became available after the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
. It has recently taken on the nature of wholesale
language shift Language shift, also known as language transfer or language replacement or language assimilation, is the process whereby a speech community A speech community is a group of people who share a set of linguistic norms and expectations regarding t ...
, sometimes also termed language
change Change or Changing may refer to: Alteration * Impermanence Impermanence, also known as the philosophical problem This is a list of the major unsolved problems in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundam ...
, Language convergence, convergence or Language merger, merger. By the end of the twentieth century, Scots was at an advanced stage of language death over much of Scottish Lowlands, Lowland Scotland. Residual features of Scots are often regarded as slang. A 2010 Scottish Government study of "public attitudes towards the Scots language" found that 64% of respondents (around 1,000 individuals in a representative sample of Scotland's adult population) "don't really think of Scots as a language", also finding "the most frequent speakers are least likely to agree that it is not a language (58%) and those never speaking Scots most likely to do so (72%)".


Decline in status

Before the Treaty of Union 1707, when Scotland and England joined to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, there is ample evidence that Scots was widely held to be an independent
sister language In historical linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change Language change is variation over time in a language A language is a structured system of communication ...
forming a pluricentric language, pluricentric diasystem with English. German linguist considered Modern Scots a ('half language') in terms of an abstand and ausbau languages, and languages framework, although today in Scotland most people's speech is somewhere on a continuum ranging from traditional broad Scots to
Scottish Standard English Scottish English ( gd, Beurla Albannach) is the set of varieties of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eve ...
. Many speakers are diglossia, diglossic and may be able to code-switching, code-switch along the continuum depending on the situation. Where on this continuum English-influenced Scots becomes Scots-influenced English is difficult to determine. Because standard English now generally has the role of a ('roofing language'), disputes often arise as to whether the varieties of Scots are dialects of Scottish English or constitute a separate language in their own right. The UK government now accepts Scots as a regional language and has recognised it as such under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. Evidence for its existence as a separate language lies in the extensive body of Scots literature, its independent – if somewhat fluid – orthography, orthographic conventions, and in its former use as the language of the original Parliament of Scotland. Because Scotland retained distinct political, legal, and religious systems after the Union, many Scots terms passed into Scottish English.


Language revitalisation

During the 2010s, increased interest was expressed in the language.


Education

The status of the language was raised in Scottish schools, with Scots being included in the new national school Curriculum for Excellence, curriculum. Previously in Scotland's schools there had been little education taking place through the Medium of instruction, medium of Scots, although it may have been covered superficially in English lessons, which could entail reading some Scots literature and observing the local dialect. Much of the material used was often Standard English disguised as Scots, which caused upset among proponents of Standard English and proponents of Scots alike. One example of the educational establishment's approach to Scots is, "Write a poem in Scots. (It is important not to be worried about spelling in this – write as you hear the sounds in your head.)", whereas guidelines for English require teaching pupils to be "writing fluently and legibly with accurate spelling and punctuation". A course in Scots language and culture delivered through the medium of Standard English and produced by the Open University, Open University (OU) in Scotland, the Open University's School of Languages and Applied Linguistics as well as Education Scotland became available online for the first time in December 2019.


Government

In the United Kingdom Census 2011#2011 Census for Scotland, 2011 Scottish census, a question on Scots language ability was featured and is planned to be included again in the 2021 census. The Scottish government set its first Scots Language Policy in 2015, in which it pledged to support its preservation and encourage respect, recognition and use of Scots. The Scottish Parliament website also offers some information on the language in Scots.


Media

Serious use of the language for news, encyclopaedias, documentaries, etc., remains rare and usually reserved for niches where it is deemed acceptable, e.g. comedy, Burns supper, Burns Night, or representations of traditions and times gone by. However, since 2016 The National (Scotland), The National newspaper has regularly published some news articles in the language. The 2010s also saw an increasing number of English books translated in Scots and becoming widely available, particularly those in popular children's fiction series such as ''The Gruffalo'', ''Harry Potter'' and several by Roald Dahl and David Walliams. In 2021, the music streaming service Spotify created a Scots language listing.


Geographic distribution

In Scotland, Scots is spoken in the Scottish Lowlands, the Northern Isles, Caithness, Isle of Arran, Arran and Campbeltown. In
Ulster Ulster (; ga, Ulaidh or ''Cúige Uladh'' ; sco, label=Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots, Ulstèr or ''Ulster'') is one of the four traditional Irish provinces of Ireland, provinces, in the north of Ireland. It is made up of nine Counties ...

Ulster
, the northern Provinces of Ireland, province in
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
, its area is usually defined through the works of Robert John Gregg to include the Counties of Ireland, counties of County Down, Down, County Antrim, Antrim, County Londonderry, Londonderry and County Donegal, Donegal (especially in East Donegal and Inishowen). More recently, the Fintona-born linguist Warren Maguire has argued that some of the criteria that Gregg used as distinctive of Ulster Scots are common in south-west Tyrone and were found in other sites across Northern Ireland investigated by the
Linguistic Survey of ScotlandThe Linguistic Survey of Scotland was a long-term project at the University of Edinburgh , latin_name = Universitas Academica Edinburgensis , image_name = University of Edinburgh ceremonial roundel.svg , image_size = 150px , established = , ...
. Dialects of Scots include Insular Scots, Northern Scots, Central Scots, Southern Scots and Ulster Scots dialects, Ulster Scots. It has been difficult to determine the number of speakers of Scots via census, because many respondents might interpret the question "Do you speak Scots?" in different ways. Campaigners for Scots pressed for this question to be included in the United Kingdom Census 2001, 2001 UK National Census. The results from a 1996 trial before the Census, by the General Register Office for Scotland (GRO),[Iain Máté] (1996) Scots Language. A Report on the Scots Language Research carried out by the General Register Office for Scotland in 1996, Edinburgh: General Register Office (Scotland). suggested that there were around 1.5 million speakers of Scots, with 30% of Scots responding "Yes" to the question "Can you speak the Scots language?", but only 17% responding "Aye" to the question "Can you speak Scots?". It was also found that older, working-class people were more likely to answer in the affirmative. The University of Aberdeen Scots Leid Quorum performed its own research in 1995, cautiously suggesting that there were 2.7 million speakers, though with clarification as to why these figures required context. The GRO questions, as freely acknowledged by those who set them, were not as detailed and systematic as the University of Aberdeen ones, and only included reared speakers (people raised speaking Scots), not those who had learned the language. Part of the difference resulted from the central question posed by surveys: "Do you speak Scots?". In the Aberdeen University study, the question was augmented with the further clause "... or a dialect of Scots such as Border etc.", which resulted in greater recognition from respondents. The GRO concluded that there simply was not enough linguistic self-awareness amongst the Scottish populace, with people still thinking of themselves as speaking badly pronounced, grammatically inferior English rather than Scots, for an accurate census to be taken. The GRO research concluded that "[a] more precise estimate of genuine Scots language ability would require a more in-depth interview survey and may involve asking various questions about the language used in different situations. Such an approach would be inappropriate for a Census." Thus, although it was acknowledged that the "inclusion of such a Census question would undoubtedly raise the profile of Scots", no question about Scots was, in the end, included in the 2001 Census. The Scottish Government's ''Pupils in Scotland Census 2008'' found that 306 pupils spoke Scots as their main home language. A Scottish Government study in 2010 found that 85% of around 1000 respondents (being a representative sample of Scotland's adult population) claim to speak Scots to varying degrees. The 2011 UK census was the first to ask residents of Scotland about Scots. A campaign called ''Aye Can'' was set up to help individuals answer the question. The specific wording used was "Which of these can you do? Tick all that apply" with options for "Understand", "Speak", "Read" and "Write" in three columns: English, Scottish Gaelic and Scots. Of approximately 5.1 million respondents, about 1.2 million (24%) could speak, read and write Scots, 3.2 million (62%) had no skills in Scots and the remainder had some degree of skill, such as understanding Scots (0.27 million, 5.2%) or being able to speak it but not read or write it (0.18 million, 3.5%). There were also small numbers of Scots speakers recorded in England and Wales on the 2011 Census, with the largest numbers being either in bordering areas (e.g. Carlisle, Cumbria, Carlisle) or in areas that had recruited large numbers of Scottish workers in the past (e.g. Corby or the former mining areas of Kent).


Literature

Among the earliest Scots literature is John Barbour (poet), John Barbour's ''Brus'' (fourteenth century), Wyntoun's ''Cronykil'' and Blind Harry's ''The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace, The Wallace'' (fifteenth century). From the fifteenth century, much literature based on the Royal Court in Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews was produced by writers such as Robert Henryson,
William Dunbar William Dunbar (born 1459 or 1460 – died by 1530) was a Scottish makar poet active in the late fifteenth century and the early sixteenth century. He was closely associated with the court of King James IV and produced a large body of work in ...

William Dunbar
,
Gavin Douglas Gavin Douglas (c. 1474 – September 1522) was a Scottish bishop, makar and translator. Although he had an important political career, he is chiefly remembered for his poetry. His main pioneering achievement was the ''Eneados'', a full and faith ...
and David Lyndsay. ''The Complaynt of Scotland'' was an early printed work in Scots. The ''Eneados'' is a
Middle Scots Middle Scots was the Anglic language The Anglo-Frisian languages are the West Germanic languages which include Anglic ( English and Scots) and Frisian varieties. The Northumbrian Language Society also considers Northumbrian an Anglic langua ...
translation of Virgil's ''Aeneid'', completed by Gavin Douglas in 1513. After the seventeenth century, anglicisation increased. At the time, many of the oral ballads from the Border ballads, borders and the North East were written down. Writers of the period were Robert Sempill, Robert Sempill the younger, Francis Sempill, Lady Wardlaw and Lady Grizel Baillie. In the eighteenth century, writers such as Allan Ramsay (poet), Allan Ramsay,
Robert Burns Robert Burns (25 January 175921 July 1796), also known familiarly as Rabbie Burns, the National Bard, Bard of Ayrshire, the Ploughman Poet and various other names and epithet An epithet (, ) is a byname, or a descriptive term (word or phr ...

Robert Burns
, James Orr (poet), James Orr, Robert Fergusson and Walter Scott continued to use Scots – Burns's "Auld Lang Syne" is in Scots, for example. Scott introduced vernacular dialogue to his novels. Other well-known authors like Robert Louis Stevenson, William Alexander, George MacDonald, J. M. Barrie and other members of the Kailyard school like Ian Maclaren also wrote in Scots or used it in dialogue. In the Victorian era popular Scottish newspapers regularly included articles and commentary in the vernacular, often of unprecedented proportions. In the early twentieth century, a Scottish Renaissance, renaissance in the use of Scots occurred, its most vocal figure being Hugh MacDiarmid whose benchmark poem "A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle" (1926) did much to demonstrate the power of Scots as a modern idiom. Other contemporaries were Douglas Young (classicist), Douglas Young, John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, John Buchan, Sydney Goodsir Smith, Robert Garioch, Edith Anne Robertson and Robert McLellan. The revival extended to verse and other literature. In 1955, three Ayrshire men – Sandy MacMillan, an English teacher at Ayr Academy; Thomas Limond, noted town chamberlain of Ayr; and A. L. "Ross" Taylor, rector of Cumnock Academy – collaborated to write ("Child Songs"), a collection of children's nursery rhymes and poems in Scots. The book contains a five-page glossary of contemporary Scots words and their pronunciations. Alexander Gray (poet), Alexander Gray's translations into Scots constitute the greater part of his work, and are the main basis for his reputation. In 1983, William Laughton Lorimer's translation of the New Testament from the original Greek was published. Highly anglicised Scots is sometimes used in contemporary fiction, such as the Edinburgh dialect of Scots in ''Trainspotting (novel), Trainspotting'' by Irvine Welsh (later made into a Trainspotting (film), motion picture of the same name). ''But'n'Ben A-Go-Go'' by Matthew Fitt is a cyberpunk novel written entirely in what ("Our Own Language") calls "General Scots". Like all cyberpunk work, it contains imaginative
neologism A neologism (; from Greek νέο- ''néo-'', "new" and λόγος ''lógos'', "speech, utterance") is a relatively recent or isolated term, word, or phrase that may be in the process of entering common use, but that has not yet been fully accepted ...
s. The ''Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam'' has been translated into Scots by Rab Wilson (published in 2004). Alexander Hutchison has translated the poetry of Catullus into Scots, and in the 1980s, Liz Lochhead produced a Scots translation of ''Tartuffe'' by Molière. J. K. Annand translated poetry and fiction from German and Medieval Latin into Scots. The strip cartoons ''Oor Wullie'' and ''The Broons'' in the ''Sunday Post'' use some Scots. In 2018, ''Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stane'', a Scots translation of the first Harry Potter book, ''Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'', was published by Matthew Fitt. In 2020, the Scots Wikipedia received a burst of attention after a Reddit post criticized it for containing a large number of articles written in very low-quality Scots by a single prolific contributor who was not a native speaker of Scots.


Phonology


Vowels

The vowel system of Modern Scots: Vowel length is usually conditioned by the Scottish vowel length rule.


Consonants


Orthography

The orthography of
Early Scots Early Scots was the emerging literary language of the Northern Middle English Middle English (abbreviated to ME) was a form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History ...
had become more or less standardised by the middle to late sixteenth century. After the Union of the Crowns in 1603, the
Standard English In an English-speaking country This article is intended to provide details and data regarding the geographical distribution of all English speakers, regardless of the legislative status of the countries where it's spoken. The English language is o ...
of England came to have an increasing influence on the spelling of Scots through the increasing influence and availability of books printed in England. After the Acts of Union 1707, Acts of Union in 1707 the emerging Scottish English, Scottish form of Standard English replaced Scots for most formal writing in Scotland. The eighteenth-century Scots revival saw the introduction of a new
literary language A literary language is the form (register) of a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the ...
descended from the old court Scots, but with an orthography that had abandoned some of the more distinctive old Scots spellings and adopted many standard English spellings. Despite the updated spelling, however, the rhymes make it clear that a Scots pronunciation was intended. These writings also introduced what came to be known as the apologetic apostrophe, generally occurring where a consonant exists in the Standard English cognate. This Written Scots drew not only on the vernacular, but also on the Authorized King James Version, King James Bible, and was heavily influenced by the norms and conventions of Augustan literature, Augustan English poetry. Consequently, this written Scots looked very similar to contemporary Standard English, suggesting a somewhat modified version of that, rather than a distinct speech form with a phonological system which had been developing independently for many centuries. This modern literary dialect, "Scots of the book" or Standard Scots, once again gave Scots an orthography of its own, lacking neither "authority nor author". This literary language used throughout Lowland Scotland and Ulster, embodied by writers such as Allan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Murray (poet), Charles Murray, David Herbison, James Orr, James Hogg and William Laidlaw (poet), William Laidlaw among others, is well described in the 1921 ''Manual of Modern Scots''. Other authors developed dialect writing, preferring to represent their own speech in a more phonological manner rather than following the pan-dialect conventions of modern literary Scots, especially for the northern and insular dialects of Scots. During the twentieth century, a number of proposals for spelling reform were presented. Commenting on this, John Corbett (2003: 260) writes that "devising a normative orthography for Scots has been one of the greatest linguistic hobbies of the past century". Most proposals entailed regularising the use of established eighteenth- and nineteenth-century conventions, in particular the avoidance of the apologetic apostrophe, which represented letters that were perceived to be missing when compared to the corresponding English cognates but were never actually present in the Scots word. For example, in the fourteenth century, John Barbour (poet), Barbour spelt the Scots cognate of "taken" as . It is argued that, because there has been no ''k'' in the word for over 700 years, representing its omission with an apostrophe is of little value. The current spelling is usually . Through the twentieth century, with the decline of spoken Scots and knowledge of the literary tradition, phonetic (often humorous) representations became more common.


Grammar

Modern Scots follows the subject–verb–object sentence structure like
Standard English In an English-speaking country This article is intended to provide details and data regarding the geographical distribution of all English speakers, regardless of the legislative status of the countries where it's spoken. The English language is o ...
. However, the word order (''Give us it'') vs. "Give it to me" may be preferred. The indefinite article ''a'' may be used before both consonants and vowels. The definite article ''the'' is used before the names of seasons, days of the week, many nouns, diseases, trades and occupations, sciences and academic subjects. It is also often used in place of the indefinite article and instead of a possessive pronoun. Scots includes some strong plurals such as ("eye/eyes"), ("calf/calves"), ("horse/horses"), ("cow/cows") and ("shoe/shoes") that survived from Old English into Modern Scots, but have become weak plurals in Standard Modern English – ''ox''/''oxen'' and ''child''/''children'' being exceptions. Nouns of measure and quantity remain unchanged in the plural. The relative pronoun is ''that'' for all persons and numbers, but may be elided. Modern Scots also has a third adjective/adverb ''this''-''that''-''yon''/''yonder'' () indicating something at some distance. and are the plurals of ''this'' and ''that'' respectively. The present tense of verbs adheres to the Northern subject rule whereby verbs end in -''s'' in all persons and numbers except when a single personal pronoun is next to the verb. Certain verbs are often used Progressive tense, progressively and verbs of motion may be dropped before an adverb or adverbial phrase of motion. Many verbs have Germanic strong verb, strong or Irregular verb, irregular forms which are distinctive from Standard English. The regular past form of the Germanic weak verb, weak or Regular verb, regular verbs is ''-it'', ''-t'' or ''-ed'', according to the preceding consonant or vowel. The present participle and gerund ''in'' are now usually but may still be differentiated and in Southern Scots, and and in Northern Scots. The Negation (linguistics), negative particle is , sometimes spelled , e.g. ("can't"), ("daren't"), ("mightn't"). Adverbs usually take the same form as the verb root or adjective, especially after verbs. Examples include ("Having a really good day") and ("She's awfully tired").


Sample text of Modern Scots

From ''The Four Gospels in Braid Scots'' (William Wye Smith): From ''The New Testament in Scots'' (William Laughton Lorimer, 1885–1967)


See also

*Bungi Creole of the Canadian Metis people of Scottish/British descent *Doric dialect (Scotland) *Glasgow patter *Billy Kay (writer), Billy Kay *Languages of the United Kingdom *Phonological history of Scots *Scotticism *Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech *Scottish literature


References


External links


Scots-onlineThe Scots Language SocietyScots Language Centrea phonetic description of Scottish Language and Dialects
at Dictionary of the Scots Language
''Words Without Borders'' Peter Constantine: Scots: The Auld an Nobill TungScots in Schools


Dictionaries and linguistic information


The Dictionary of the Scots LanguageScottish Language Dictionaries Ltd.Dialect MapScottish words – illustrated


Collections of texts


ScotsteXt
– books, poems and texts in Scots
Scots ThreapScottish Corpus of Texts & Speech
– Multimedia text corpus, corpus of Scots and Scottish English
BBC Voices, Scots section
– The BBC Voices Project is a major, though informal, look at UK language and speech
Scots Syntax Atlas
{{DEFAULTSORT:Scots Language Scots language, Languages of Ireland Subject–verb–object languages Languages of Scotland Languages of the United Kingdom Languages of Northern Ireland