Scots (Scoats leid/Lallans)

Scots is a Germanic language closely related to English and spoken by about 1.5 million people in Scotland. Scots is descended from the language of the Angles who settled in northern Britain, in an area now known as Northumbria and southern Scotland, in the 5th century AD. The language was originally know as 'Inglis' and has been influenced by Gaelic, Norse, Latin, Dutch, Norman French, Standard French and English.

By the 14th century Scots was the main language of Scotland and was used in literature, education, government and in legal documents. This was the period when Scots literature began to take off and notable literary works include Barbour's Brus, Whyntoun's Kronykil and Blin Harry's Wallace.

After the union of the Scottish and English parliaments in 1707, English became the language of government and of polite society in Scotland, though the vast majority of people continued to speak Scots. English also began to replace Scots as the main written language in Scotland.

Since the 1990s there has been limited use of Scots in education, the media and in literature. In 1983 a Scots translation of the New Testament was published and 1985 the saw the publication of the SNDA's Concise Scots Dictionary.

Scots is also known as braid Scots, Doric, Scotch or Lallans. Some people classify it as a dialect of English, and while it is closely related to English dialects spoken in Northumbria, it has had it's own literary tradition since the 14th century. Today there is a continuum of speech ranging from broad Scots to Scottish Standard English and many people switch between different parts of the continuum depending on circumstances.

The UK government accepts Scots as a regional language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, and the Scottish Executive recognises and respects Scots (in all its forms) as a distinct language, and does not consider the use of Scots to be an indication of poor competence in English.

Scots alphabet

Scots alphabet


Sample texts in Scots

The Scots Leid Associe wis foondit in 1972 an ettles tae fordle Scots in leeteratur, drama, the media, eddication an in ilka day uiss. Akis Scots wis ance the state langage o Scotland, it's a vailid pairt o wir heirskip an the associe taks tent tae the fact that it shoud can tak its steid as a langage o Scotland, alang wi Gaelic an Inglis.


The Scots Language Society was founded in 1972 and exists to promote Scots in literature, drama, the media, education and in every day usage. Since Scots was once the state language of Scotland, it is a valid part of our heritage and the society recognises that it should be able to take its place as a language of Scotland, along with Gaelic and English.

Aw human sowels is born free and equal in dignity and richts. They are tochered wi mense and conscience and shuld guide theirsels ane til ither in a speirit o britherheid.
(Airticle 1 o the Universal Declaration o Human Richts)


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

Information about Scots | Scots phrases | Scots learning materials


Scots-Online - includes detailed information about the Scots language, orthography, pronunciation, literature, articles in and about Scots, an online Scots <> English dictionary and much more:

Information about Scots

Scots Dictionaries

Scotstext - a collection of poetry and other writing in Scots

The Scots Language Centre

The Scots Leid Associe / The Scots Language Society

Scots Education Resources

Scottish Corpus of Texts and Speech

Scottish Language Dictionaries

Itchy Coo - Braw Books for Bairns o Aw Ages

Germanic languages

Afrikaans, Alsatian, Bavarian, Cimbrian, Danish, Dutch, Elfdalian, English, Faroese, Flemish, German, Gothic, Icelandic, Low German / Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, Norn, North Frisian, Norwegian, Old English, Old Norse, Pennsylvania German, Saterland Frisian, Scots, Shetland(ic), Swedish, Swiss German, West Frisian, Yiddish

Other languages written with the Latin alphabet

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