Whit is Scots?

Scots, alangside English and Gaelic, is kent as ane o the three main spoken leids in Scotland the day. It haes a lang-staundin ballad an literary tradition. The first scrievin in Scots appears in a 14th century poem frae a time whan it wis the offeecial leid o the ryal coort an la.

As wi ither European leids, chynges in Scots can be follaed throu its Early, Middle an Modren periods. Wi like Germanic roots tae English, Scots wis furder influenced throu politics an tred bi French, Flemish, Dutch, Scandinavian and Gaelic. The staundin o Scots as a leid the day is mair quirkie than that o say Gaelic, in that Scots has co-existit – tae a mair or lesser extent dependit on the yaiser – wi English ower a wheen o centuries.

Socio-political pressures hae aften demandit that Scots be dauntened in fauvour o a dominant, staundartised English, (Samuel Johnson cried the Scots tung a ‘rough and uncouth brogue’). Houaniver Scots bade wi us in everyday speech, in poetry, story an sang, finnin a vyce throu the literary revivals o Alan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson an Robert Burns.

The level o Scots yaised in the present day micht lippen on wha happens tae be the spikker. Tae some it micht mean simply a few wirds in thair vocabulary, tae ithers it cuid be a rich dialect wi its byordinar wirds an expressions. Scrievit Scots continuit in Modren an Post-Modren literature wi writers sic as Hugh MacDiarmid, Jessie Kesson, James Robertson an Liz Lochhead. It is takken tent o bi the Scottish Government an bi the European Charter fir Regional or Minority Languages.

Scots is nou actively taucht throu the Curriculum fir Excellence. In the census o 2011, 1.5 million fowk respondit that they cuid speak Scots.

Read in English

What is Scots?

Scots, alongside English and Gaelic, is recognised as one of the three main spoken languages in Scotland today. It has a long-standing ballad and literary tradition. The first writing in Scots appears in a 14th century poem from a time when it was the official language of the royal court and legislature.

As with other European languages, changes in Scots can be traced through its Early, Middle and Modern periods. With the same Germanic roots as English, Scots was further influenced through politics and trade by French, Flemish, Dutch, Scandinavian and Gaelic. The position of Scots as a language today is more complex than that of say Gaelic, in that Scots has co-existed – to a greater or lesser extent depending on the user – with English over several centuries.

Socio-political pressures have often demanded that Scots be discouraged in favour of a dominant, standardised English (Samuel Johnson referred to Scots tongue as a ‘rough and uncouth brogue’). However Scots continued in everyday speech, in poetry, story and song, finding a voice through the literary revivals of Alan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson an Robert Burns.

The level of Scots used in the present day may depend on the speaker. To some it may mean simply a few words in their vocabulary, to others it could be a rich dialect with its unique words and expressions. Written Scots continued in Modern and Post-Modern literature with writers such as Hugh MacDiarmid, Jessie Kesson, James Robertson and Liz Lochhead.

Scots is now actively taught through the Curriculum for Excellence. It is recognised by the Scottish Government and by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In the census of 2011, 1.5 million people responded that they could speak Scots.