The Scots Language
Thread poster: Paul Dixon

Paul Dixon  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:30
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Nov 2, 2011

I have just received a link to a very interesting site about the Scots language. I had never imagined a Scots language as such, I only knew about Scottish Gaelic and English pronounced with the characteristic trilled "r", as in "Glasgae Rrrrrrrain-djerrrrrrrrrs". I am posting the link here as it could be a very interesting topic for discussion.

I am transcribing just part of the link as it is very long.

"What is Scots?

Scots is the collective name for Scottish dialects also known as 'Doric', 'Lallans' and 'Scotch' or by more local names such as 'Buchan', 'Dundonian', 'Glesca' or 'Shetland', to name a few. Taken altogether, Scottish dialects are called the Scots language. It is the traditional Germanic language of Lowland Scotland and the Northern Isles. It is also used in parts of Ulster. Along with Scottish English and Gaelic, it is one of Scotland's three main languages at the present time.

Where did it come from?
Scots is descended from a form of Anglo-Saxon, brought to the southeast of what is now Scotland around the seventh century by the Angles, one of the Germanic-speaking peoples who began to arrive in the British Isles in the fifth century. English is also descended from the language of these peoples.
By the 11th century, Gaelic, descended from the Celtic language brought over from the north of Ireland by the original Scots, had become the dominant language in most of the emerging kingdom. At this point, another form of Northern Anglo-Saxon arrived - the speech of the followers of the Anglo-Norman landowners and of the members of the newly settled monastic orders, who came north mainly from what is now Yorkshire. This area had been part of the Danelaw and the language had strong Scandinavian elements still seen in Scots (and northern English) to this day (e.g. gate - street, kirk - church).

What happened to it?
After the Scottish Reformation (1560), the Union of the Crowns (1603) and the Union of the Parliaments (1707), southern English gradually became the language of most formal speech and writing and Scots came to be regarded as a 'group of dialects' rather than a 'language'. It continued, however, to be the everyday medium of communication for the vast majority of Lowland Scots, and was used creatively in poetry, song and story. It reached its pinnacle of literary achievement in this period in the work of Robert Burns." [transcribed from the first link as listed below]

The links:

What is Scots?


Scots Blogs:


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:30
Spanish to English
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caveat emptor Nov 2, 2011

Paul Dixon wrote:

I have just received a link to a very interesting site about the Scots language.... I am posting the link here as it could be a very interesting topic for discussion.


I had a look at the site and I'm afraid I was not terribly impressed. The authors, one imagines prompted by a need to assert some sort of national identity, seem to confuse dialect with language on several occasions, as in this gem:

"Travellers in Scotland will notice that in many areas existing road signs are being replaced with ones that include Gaelic versions of the place names. If you’re in Tarbert in Kintyre – a district with a long history of Scots language usage – you’ll see signs for Glasgow and Glaschu but you won’t see any information about how to get to Glesga. Why not?"

The answer being, of course, that whereas the former 2 are the English and Gaelic versions, "Glesca" is simply a phonetic rendering of the variant pronunciation of the city's name used by some (not all) of its citizens.

Apart from that, the site is quite interesting, although I'd take some of the claims on it with a pinch of salt.

[Edited at 2011-11-02 15:59 GMT]


Mariusz Kuklinski  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:30
English to Polish
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A vital query Nov 2, 2011

So what's the Scots word for midges?


Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:30
Spanish to English
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New language pairs Nov 2, 2011

This could mean a whole new set of language pairs...Spanish-Scots, etc.


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