The Official /int/ How to Learn A Foreign Language Guide Wiki

Scots is the native West Germanic language that developed in the Lowlands of Scotland and then spread to parts of Ulster in Ireland. It came from the Anglo-Saxon language that arrived in Scotland during the 6th century AD which later mixed with Old Norse, Norman French and had influences from Latin and Gaelic. The latest census in 2011 recorded 1.5 million could speak Scots while it also reported that only 1% of Scots speak Scots at home[1]. Another census with a smaller sample showed that 64% of people in Scotland don't consider Scots to be a language[2]. Scots has no standard orthography but there is a general form of writing words that most writers hold themselves.

Scots literature took a large decline from the beginning of the 16th century to the 17th and finally the 18th century. As a result of the Protestant reformation the religious books used in Scotland were all in the English language which made it so that Scots almost completely disappeared from paper.[4] It wasn't until Robert Burns that an interest was taken in Scots again but he still made a frequent use of English spellings and words throughout his poetry.

The language that has the closest relation to Scots is English since both came from Early Middle English. And the dialect that is closest to Scots is the Northumbrian English although in recent years the dialects in Northern England have came closer to the standard spoken English which further separates them from Scots.

The debate about Scots being a language has never managed to find a conclusion. Most people believe that it isn't a language and is just poor quality English written how it sounds. This isn't the case and Scots is a language and has been thought as one since at least 15th century when Adam Loufout recorded he "translatit out of fraynche into Scottis"[3]. And again almost one hundred years later James VI And I published an essay called "Reulis and Cautelis" in it's diminutive form. He refers to Scots as "our language" and his reason for writing this essay was "there has never been one of them written in our language." This literary tradition shown throughout the centuries with the extensive body of distinct literature, massively different pronunciation of the same words (for example "uin" in place of "oven"), how the people for over 500 years have referred to their language as Scots and not English and maybe most of all what shows Scots as a language is the massive lexicon of expressions and words not found in standard English which no dialect of English has such a high number.


  • The Brus
  • The Wallace
  • The Bannatyne Manuscript
  • The New Testaments (preferably by William L. Lorrimer)
  • Ane Pleasant Satyre of the Thrie Estaitis
  • Eneados