Scots language

Lowland Scots
(Braid) Scots, Lallans, Doric
Native toUnited Kingdom, Ireland
Native speakers
110,000–125,000 (1999–2011)[1][citation needed]
1.5 million L2 speakers (no date)[2]

In the 2011 census, respondents indicated that 1.54 million (30%) are able to speak Scots.[3]

Early forms
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
United Kingdom (Scotland and Northern Ireland), Republic of Ireland
Regulated by
Language codes
ISO 639-3sco
Linguasphere52-ABA-aa (varieties:
52-ABA-aaa to -aav)
Areas where the Scots language was spoken in the 20th century[5][6]

Scots is the Germanic language variety spoken in Lowland Scotland and parts of Ulster in Ireland (where the local dialect is known as Ulster Scots).[7] It is sometimes called Lowland Scots to distinguish it from Scottish Gaelic, the Celtic language which was historically restricted to most of the Highlands, the Hebrides and Galloway after the 16th century.[8] The Scots language developed during the Middle English period as a distinct entity.[9][10][11]

Scots is a recognised indigenous language of Scotland,[12] a regional or minority language of Europe[13] and as a vulnerable language by UNESCO.[14]

As there are no universally accepted criteria for distinguishing a language from a dialect, scholars and other interested parties often disagree about the linguistic, historical and social status of Scots and particularly its relationship to English.[15] 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 at the other.[16] Scots is often regarded as one of the ancient varieties of English, but it has its own distinct dialects.[15] Alternatively, Scots is sometimes treated as a distinct Germanic language, in the way that Norwegian is closely linked to but distinct from Danish.[15]

In the 2011 Scottish Census, 1.5 million people in Scotland reported to be able to speak Scots.[17]


Native speakers sometimes refer to their vernacular as braid Scots (or "broad Scots" in English)[18] or use a dialect name such as the "Doric",[19] or the "Buchan Claik".[20] The old-fashioned Scotch, an English loan,[21] occurs occasionally, especially in Northern Ireland.[22][23] The term Lallans, a variant of the Modern Scots word lawlands [ˈlo̜ːlən(d)z, ˈlɑːlənz],[24] is also used, though this is more often taken to mean the Lallans literary form.[25] Scots in Ireland is known in official circles as Ulster-Scots (Ulstèr-Scotch in revivalist Ulster-Scots) or "Ullans", a recent neologism merging Ulster and Lallans.[26]


Scots is a contraction of Scottis, the Older Scots[18] and northern version of late Old English Scottisc (modern English "Scottish"), which replaced the earlier i-mutated version Scyttisc.[27][28] Before the end of the fifteenth century, English speech in Scotland was known as "English" (written Ynglis or Inglis at the time), whereas "Scottish" (Scottis) referred to Gaelic.[29]

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 Scottis was increasingly used to refer to the Lowland vernacular[15] and Erse, meaning Irish, as a name for Gaelic. For example, towards the end of the fifteenth century, William Dunbar was using Erse to refer to Gaelic and, in the early sixteenth century, Gavin Douglas was using Scottis as a name for the Lowland vernacular.[30][31] The Gaelic of Scotland is now usually called Scottish Gaelic.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Skots
አማርኛ: ስኮትኛ
azərbaycanca: Skots dili
Bân-lâm-gú: So͘-kat-lân-gí
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Шатляндзкая мова (германская)
Boarisch: Scots
bosanski: Škotski jezik
brezhoneg: Skoteg
català: Scots
čeština: Skotština
Cymraeg: Sgoteg
dansk: Skotsk
Deutsch: Scots
eesti: Šoti keel
Ελληνικά: Σκωτς γλώσσα
Esperanto: Skota lingvo
euskara: Eskoziera
فارسی: اسکاتس
Fiji Hindi: Scots bhasa
føroyskt: Skotskt mál
français: Scots
Frysk: Skotsk
Gaeilge: An Albainis
galego: Lingua scots
客家語/Hak-kâ-ngî: Scotland-ngî
한국어: 스코트어
hrvatski: Škotski jezik
Bahasa Indonesia: Bahasa Scots
interlingua: Scots
íslenska: Skoska
italiano: Lingua scots
עברית: סקוטית
kernowek: Skots
latviešu: Skotu valoda
lietuvių: Škotų kalba
Limburgs: Sjots
Lingua Franca Nova: Scotes (lingua)
lumbaart: Lengua scots
magyar: Scots nyelv
Bahasa Melayu: Bahasa Scots
Nederlands: Schots (taal)
Nedersaksies: Skots
Nordfriisk: Skots
norsk: Skotsk
norsk nynorsk: Skotsk
Nouormand: Scots
پنجابی: سکاٹس بولی
Piemontèis: Lenga scòts
Plattdüütsch: Scots
polski: Język scots
română: Limba scots
sardu: Scots
Scots: Scots leid
sicilianu: Lingua scuzzisa
Simple English: Scots
slovenčina: Škótčina
slovenščina: Scots
српски / srpski: Шкотски језик
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Škotski jezik
svenska: Lågskotska
Tiếng Việt: Tiếng Scotland
粵語: 蘇格蘭文