Scots language

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]

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.[12] 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.[13] Scots is often regarded as one of the ancient varieties of English, but it has its own distinct dialects.[12] Alternatively, Scots is sometimes treated as a distinct Germanic language, in the way that Norwegian is closely linked to but distinct from Danish.[12]

In the 2011 Scottish Census, 1.5 million people in Scotland reported to be able to speak Scots.[14]

Scots
Lowland Scots
(Braid) Scots, Lallans, Doric
Native toUnited Kingdom, Ireland
Region
EthnicityScottish people
Native speakers
110,000–125,000 (1999–2011)[1]
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
Dialects
Latin
Official status
Official language in
Scotland
Recognised minority
language in
United Kingdom (Scotland and Northern Ireland), Republic of Ireland
Regulated by
Language codes
ISO 639-2sco
ISO 639-3sco
Glottologscot1243[4]
Linguasphere52-ABA-aa (varieties:
52-ABA-aaa to -aav)
ScotsLanguageMap
Areas where the Scots language was spoken in the 20th century[5][6]

Nomenclature

Native speakers sometimes refer to their vernacular as braid Scots (or "broad Scots" in English)[15] or use a dialect name such as the "Doric",[16] or the "Buchan Claik".[17] The old-fashioned Scotch, an English loan,[18] occurs occasionally, especially in Northern Ireland.[19][20] The term Lallans, a variant of the Modern Scots word lawlands [ˈlo̜ːlən(d)z, ˈlɑːlənz],[21] is also used, though this is more often taken to mean the Lallans literary form.[22] 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.[23]

Etymology

Scots is a contraction of Scottis, the Older Scots[15] and northern version of late Old English Scottisc (modern English "Scottish"), which replaced the earlier i-mutated version Scyttisc.[24][25] 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.[26]

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[12] 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.[27][28] The Gaelic of Scotland is now usually called Scottish Gaelic.

History

History of Scots in Scotland and Ulster
The growth and distribution of Scots in Scotland and Ulster:
  Old English by the beginning of the 9th century in the northern portion of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, now part of Scotland
  Early Scots by the beginning of the 15th century
  Modern Scots by the mid 20th century

Northumbrian Old English had been established in what is now southeastern Scotland as far as the River Forth by the seventh century, as the region was part of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria.[29] Middle Irish was the then language of the Scottish court and the common use of Old English remained largely confined to this area until the thirteenth century.

The succeeding variety of Early northern Middle English spoken in southeastern Scotland was also known as Early Scots. It began to further diverge from the Middle English of Northumbria due to twelfth and thirteenth century immigration of Scandinavian-influenced Middle English-speakers from the North and Midlands of England.[30] Later influences on the development of Scots came from the Romance languages via ecclesiastical and legal Latin, Norman French,[31] and later Parisian French, due to the Auld Alliance. Additionally, there were Dutch and Middle Low German influences due to trade with and immigration from the Low Countries.[32] Scots also includes loan words in the legal and administrative fields resulting from contact with Middle Irish, and reflected in early medieval legal documents.[33] Contemporary Scottish Gaelic loans are mainly for geographical and cultural features, such as ceilidh, loch and clan.

From the thirteenth century, the Early Scots language spread further into Scotland via the burghs, which were proto-urban institutions first established by King David I. In the fourteenth century Scotland, the growth in prestige of Early Scots and the complementary decline of French, made Scots the prestige dialect of most of eastern Scotland. By the sixteenth century Middle Scots had established orthographic and literary norms largely independent of those developing in England.[34]

From 1610 to the 1690s during the Plantation of Ulster some 200,000 Scots-speaking Lowlanders settled in Ulster in Ireland.[35] In the core areas of Scots settlement, Scots outnumbered English settlers by five or six to one.[36]

The name Modern Scots is used to describe the Scots language after 1700, when southern Modern English was generally adopted as the literary language, though Modern Scots remained the vernacular.

Geographic distribution

In Scotland, Scots is spoken in the Scottish Lowlands, the Northern Isles, Caithness, Arran and Campbeltown. In Ulster (Ireland) it is spoken in the Counties of Down, Antrim, Londonderry and Donegal. Dialects include Insular Scots, Northern Scots, Central Scots, Southern Scots and Ulster Scots.

Status

Lufe God Abufe Al - John Knox House 200411
Lufe God abufe al and yi nychtbour as yi self ("Love God above all and thy neighbour as thyself"), an example of Early Scots on John Knox House, Edinburgh

Before the Treaty of Union 1707, when Scotland and England joined to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, there is ample evidence that Scots was widely held to be an independent sister language[37] forming a pluricentric diasystem with English.

The linguist Heinz Kloss considered Modern Scots a Halbsprache (half language) in terms of an abstand and ausbau languages framework[38] although today, in Scotland, most people's speech is somewhere on a continuum ranging from traditional broad Scots to Scottish Standard English. Many speakers are either diglossic and/or able to code-switch along the continuum depending on the situation in which they find themselves. Where on this continuum English-influenced Scots becomes Scots-influenced English is difficult to determine. Because standard English now generally has the role of a Dachsprache, disputes often arise as to whether the varieties of Scots are dialects of Scottish English or constitute a separate language in their own right.[39][40]

The UK government now accepts Scots as a regional language and has recognised it as such under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.[41]

Notwithstanding the UK government's and the Scottish Executive's obligations under part II of the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, 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.

Evidence for its existence as a separate language lies in the extensive body of Scots literature, its independent – if somewhat fluid – orthographic conventions and in its former use as the language of the original Parliament of Scotland.[42] Because Scotland retained distinct political, legal, and religious systems after the Union, many Scots terms passed into Scottish English.

Language shift

From the mid-sixteenth century, written Scots was increasingly influenced by the developing Standard English of Southern England due to developments in royal and political interactions with England.[43]

When an English herald spoke to Mary of Guise and her councillors in 1560, at first they spoke in the "Scottyshe toung", but then he "not well understanding", they continued in her native French.[44] King James VI, who in 1603 became James I of England, observed in his work The Reulis and Cautelis to be observit and eschewit in Scottis Prose that "For albeit sindrie has written of it in Engish, quhilk is lykest to our language ..." however, with the increasing influence and availability of books printed in England, most writing in Scotland came to be done in the English fashion.[45] Following James VI's move to London, the Protestant Church of Scotland adopted the 1611 Authorized King James Version of the Bible; subsequently, the Acts of Union 1707 led to England joining Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, having a single Parliament of Great Britain based in London. After the Union and the shift of political power to England, the use of Scots was discouraged by many in authority and education, as was the notion of Scottishness itself.[46] Many leading Scots of the period, such as David Hume, defined themselves as Northern British rather than Scottish.[47] They attempted to rid themselves of their Scots in a bid to establish standard English as the official language of the newly formed union. Nevertheless, Scots was still spoken across a wide range of domains until the end of the eighteenth century,[45] illustrated for example, in the summary by Frederick Pottle, James Boswell's twentieth-century biographer, concerning James's view of the speech habits of his father Alexander Boswell, a judge of the Supreme Courts of Scotland:

He scorned modern literature, spoke broad Scots from the bench, and even in writing took no pains to avoid the Scotticisms which most of his colleagues were coming to regard as vulgar.

Others did however scorn Scots, such as intellectuals from the Scottish Enlightenment David Hume and Adam Smith, who went to great lengths to get rid of every Scotticism from their writings.[48] Following such examples, many well-off Scots took to learning English through the activities of those such as Thomas Sheridan, who in 1761 gave a series of lectures on English elocution. Charging a guinea at a time (about £200 in today's money[49]), they were attended by over 300 men, and he was made a freeman of the City of Edinburgh. Following this, some of the city's intellectuals formed the Select Society for Promoting the Reading and Speaking of the English Language in Scotland. From such eighteenth-century activities grew Scottish Standard English.[50] Scots remained the vernacular of many rural communities and the growing number of urban working-class Scots.[51]

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the use of Scots as a literary language was revived by several prominent Scotsmen such as Robert Burns. Such writers established a new cross-dialect literary norm.

During the first half of the twentieth century, knowledge of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literary norms waned, and currently there is no institutionalised standard literary form.[52] By the 1940s, the Scottish Education Department's language policy was that Scots had no value: "it is not the language of 'educated' people anywhere, and could not be described as a suitable medium of education or culture".[53] Students reverted to Scots outside the classroom, but the reversion was not complete. What occurred, and has been occurring ever since, is a process of language attrition, whereby successive generations have adopted more and more features from Standard English. This process has accelerated rapidly since widespread access to mass media in English and increased population mobility became available after the Second World War.[54] It has recently taken on the nature of wholesale language shift, sometimes also termed language change, convergence or merger. By the end of the twentieth century, Scots was at an advanced stage of language death over much of Lowland Scotland.[55] Residual features of Scots are often regarded as slang.[56] A 2010 Scottish Government study of "public attitudes towards the Scots language" found that 64% of respondents (around 1,000 individuals being a representative sample of Scotland's adult population) "don't really think of Scots as a language" but it also found that "the most frequent speakers are least likely to agree that it is not a language (58%) and those never speaking Scots most likely to do so (72%)".[57] In the 2011 Scottish census, a question on Scots language ability was featured.

Language revitalisation

William Wye Smith-The New Testament in Braid Scots.pdf
William Wye Smith's The New Testament in Braid Scots.

Recently, attitudes have somewhat changed, and the status[58] of the language has been raised in schools in Scotland.[59] Scots is now included in the new national school curriculum.[60] Previously in Scotland's schools there had been little education taking place through the medium of Scots, although it may have been covered superficially in English lessons, which could entail reading some Scots literature and observing the local dialect. Much of the material used was often Standard English disguised as Scots, which caused upset among proponents of Standard English and proponents of Scots alike.[61] One example of the educational establishment's approach to Scots is, "Write a poem in Scots. (It is important not to be worried about spelling in this – write as you hear the sounds in your head.)",[62] whereas guidelines for English require teaching pupils to be "writing fluently and legibly with accurate spelling and punctuation".[63]

The use of Scots in the media is scant and is usually reserved for niches where local dialect is deemed acceptable, e.g. comedy, Burns Night, or representations of traditions and times gone by. Serious use for news, encyclopaedias, documentaries, etc., rarely occurs in Scots, although the Scottish Parliament website has offered some information in it.[64]

Number of speakers

Scots speakers in the 2011 census
The proportion of respondents in the 2011 census in Scotland aged 3 and above who stated that they can speak Scots.
Ulster-Scots speakers in the 2011 census in Northern Ireland
The proportion of respondents in the 2011 census in Northern Ireland aged 3 and above who stated that they can speak Ulster-Scots.

It has been difficult to determine the number of speakers of Scots via census, because many respondents might interpret the question "Do you speak Scots?" in different ways. Campaigners for Scots pressed for this question to be included in the 2001 UK National Census. The results from a 1996 trial before the Census, by the General Register Office for Scotland,[65] suggested that there were around 1.5 million speakers of Scots, with 30% of Scots responding "Yes" to the question "Can you speak the Scots language?", but only 17% responding "Aye" to the question "Can you speak Scots?". (It was also found that older, working-class people were more likely to answer in the affirmative.) The University of Aberdeen Scots Leid Quorum performed its own research in 1995, cautiously suggesting that there were 2.7 million speakers, though with clarification as to why these figures required context.[66]

The GRO questions, as freely acknowledged by those who set them, were not as detailed and as systematic as the University of Aberdeen ones, and only included reared speakers, not those who had learned the language. Part of the difference resulted from the central question posed by surveys: "Do you speak Scots?". In the Aberdeen University study, the question was augmented with the further clause "... or a dialect of Scots such as Border etc.", which resulted in greater recognition from respondents. The GRO concluded that there simply was not enough linguistic self-awareness amongst the Scottish populace, with people still thinking of themselves as speaking badly pronounced, grammatically inferior English rather than Scots, for an accurate census to be taken. The GRO research concluded that "[a] more precise estimate of genuine Scots language ability would require a more in-depth interview survey and may involve asking various questions about the language used in different situations. Such an approach would be inappropriate for a Census." Thus, although it was acknowledged that the "inclusion of such a Census question would undoubtedly raise the profile of Scots", no question about Scots was, in the end, included in the 2001 Census.[39][67][68] The Scottish Government's Pupils in Scotland Census 2008[69] found that 306 pupils spoke Scots as their main home language. A Scottish Government study in 2010 found that 85% of around 1000 respondents (being a representative sample of Scotland's adult population) claim to speak Scots to varying degrees.[57]

The 2011 UK census was the first to ask residents of Scotland about Scots. A campaign called Aye Can was set up to help individuals answer the question.[70][71] The specific wording used was "Which of these can you do? Tick all that apply" with options for 'Understand', 'Speak', 'Read' and 'Write' in three columns: English, Scottish Gaelic and Scots.[72] Of approximately 5.1 million respondents, about 1.2 million (24%) could speak, read and write Scots, 3.2 million (62%) had no skills in Scots and the remainder had some degree of skill, such as understanding Scots (0.27 million, 5.2%) or being able to speak it but not read or write it (0.18 million, 3.5%).[73] There were also small numbers of Scots speakers recorded in England and Wales on the 2011 Census, with the largest numbers being either in bordering areas (e.g. Carlisle) or in areas that had recruited large numbers of Scottish workers in the past (e.g. Corby or the former mining areas of Kent).[74]

Literature

Wikitongues - Scottish poet Christine De Luca speaking the Shetlandic variety of Scots

Among the earliest Scots literature is John Barbour's Brus (fourteenth century), Wyntoun's Cronykil and Blind Harry's The Wallace (fifteenth century). From the fifteenth century, much literature based on the Royal Court in Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews was produced by writers such as Robert Henryson, William Dunbar, Gavin Douglas and David Lyndsay. The Complaynt of Scotland was an early printed work in Scots. The Eneados is a Middle Scots translation of Virgil's Aeneid, completed by Gavin Douglas in 1513.

After the seventeenth century, anglicisation increased. At the time, many of the oral ballads from the borders and the North East were written down. Writers of the period were Robert Sempill, Robert Sempill the younger, Francis Sempill, Lady Wardlaw and Lady Grizel Baillie.

In the eighteenth century, writers such as Allan Ramsay, Robert Burns, James Orr, Robert Fergusson and Walter Scott continued to use Scots – Burns's "Auld Lang Syne" is in Scots, for example. Scott introduced vernacular dialogue to his novels. Other well-known authors like Robert Louis Stevenson, William Alexander, George MacDonald, J. M. Barrie and other members of the Kailyard school like Ian Maclaren also wrote in Scots or used it in dialogue.

In the Victorian era popular Scottish newspapers regularly included articles and commentary in the vernacular, often of unprecedented proportions.[75]

In the early twentieth century, a renaissance in the use of Scots occurred, its most vocal figure being Hugh MacDiarmid whose benchmark poem "A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle" (1926) did much to demonstrate the power of Scots as a modern idiom. Other contemporaries were Douglas Young, John Buchan, Sidney Goodsir Smith, Robert Garioch, Edith Anne Robertson and Robert McLellan. The revival extended to verse and other literature.

In 1955 three Ayrshire men – Sandy MacMillan, an English teacher at Ayr Academy; Thomas Limond, noted town Chamberlain of Ayr; and A.L. (Ross) Taylor, Rector of Cumnock Academy  – collaborated to write Bairnsangs (Child Songs),[76] a collection of children's nursery rhymes and poems in Scots. The book contains a five-page glossary of contemporary Scots words and their pronunciations.

Alexander Gray's translations into Scots constitute the greater part of his work, and are the main basis for his reputation.

In 1983 William Laughton Lorimer's translation of the New Testament from the original Greek was published.

Highly anglicised Scots is sometimes used in contemporary fiction, for example, the Edinburgh dialect of Scots in Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh (later made into a motion picture of the same name).

But'n'Ben A-Go-Go by Matthew Fitt is a cyberpunk novel written entirely in what Wir Ain Leid[77] (Our Own Language) calls "General Scots". Like all cyberpunk work, it contains imaginative neologisms.

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam has been translated into Scots by Rab Wilson (published in 2004). Alexander Hutchison has translated the poetry of Catullus into Scots, and in the 1980s, Liz Lochhead produced a Scots translation of Tartuffe by Molière. J. K. Annand translated poetry and fiction from German and medieval Latin into Scots.

The strip cartoons Oor Wullie and The Broons in the Sunday Post use some Scots.

Orthography

The orthography of Early Scots had become more or less standardised[78] by the middle to late sixteenth century.[79] After the Union of the Crowns in 1603 the Standard English of England came to have an increasing influence on the spelling of Scots[80] through the increasing influence and availability of books printed in England. After the Acts of Union in 1707 the emerging Scottish form of Standard English replaced Scots for most formal writing in Scotland.[45]

The eighteenth-century Scots revival saw the introduction of a new literary language descended from the old court Scots, but with an orthography that had abandoned some of the more distinctive old Scots spellings[81] and adopted many standard English spellings. Despite the updated spelling, however, the rhymes make it clear that a Scots pronunciation was intended.[82] These writings also introduced what came to be known as the apologetic apostrophe,[83] generally occurring where a consonant exists in the Standard English cognate. This Written Scots drew not only on the vernacular but also on the King James Bible and was also heavily influenced by the norms and conventions of Augustan English poetry.[84] Consequently, this written Scots looked very similar to contemporary Standard English, suggesting a somewhat modified version of that, rather than a distinct speech form with a phonological system which had been developing independently for many centuries.[85] This modern literary dialect, ‘Scots of the book' or Standard Scots[86][87] once again gave Scots an orthography of its own, lacking neither "authority nor author."[88] This literary language used throughout Lowland Scotland and Ulster,[89] embodied by writers such as Allan Ramsay, Robert Fergusson, Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, Charles Murray, David Herbison, James Orr, James Hogg and William Laidlaw among others, is well described in the 1921 Manual of Modern Scots.[90]

Other authors developed dialect writing, preferring to represent their own speech in a more phonological manner rather than following the pan-dialect conventions of modern literary Scots,[82] especially for the northern[91] and insular dialects of Scots.

During the twentieth century a number of proposals for spelling reform were presented. Commenting on this, John Corbett (2003: 260) writes that "devising a normative orthography for Scots has been one of the greatest linguistic hobbies of the past century." Most proposals entailed regularising the use of established eighteenth and nineteenth century conventions, in particular the avoidance of the apologetic apostrophe which supposedly represented "missing" English letters. Such letters were never actually missing in Scots. For example, in the fourteenth century, Barbour spelt the Scots cognate of 'taken' as tane. Because there has been no k in the word for over 700 years, representing its omission with an apostrophe seems pointless. The current spelling is usually taen.

Through the twentieth century, with the decline of spoken Scots and knowledge of the literary tradition, phonetic (often humorous) representations became more common.

Sample text of Modern Scots

From The New Testament in Scots (William Laughton Lorimer 1885–1967) Matthew:1:18ff

This is the storie o the birth o Jesus Christ. His mither Mary wis trystit til Joseph, but afore they war mairriet she wis fund tae be wi bairn bi the Halie Spírit. Her husband Joseph, honest man, hed nae mind tae affront her afore the warld an wis for brakkin aff their tryst hidlinweys; an sae he wis een ettlin tae dae, whan an angel o the Lord kythed til him in a draim an said til him, "Joseph, son o Dauvit, be nane feared tae tak Mary your trystit wife intil your hame; the bairn she is cairrein is o the Halie Spírit. She will beir a son, an the name ye ar tae gíe him is Jesus, for he will sauf his fowk frae their sins."
Aa this happent at the wurd spokken bi the Lord throu the Prophet micht be fulfilled: Behaud, the virgin wil bouk an beir a son, an they will caa his name Immanuel – that is, "God wi us".
Whan he hed waukit frae his sleep, Joseph did as the angel hed bidden him, an tuik his trystit wife hame wi him. But he bedditna wi her or she buir a son; an he caa’d the bairn Jesus.

Grammar

Modern Scots follows the subject–verb–object sentence structure as does Standard English. However, the word order He turnt oot the licht to 'He turned the light out' and Gie's it (Give us it) to 'Give it to me' may be preferred.[92]

The indefinite article a may be used before both consonants and vowels. The definite article the is used before the names of seasons, days of the week, many nouns, diseases, trades and occupations, sciences and academic subjects.[93] It is also often used in place of the indefinite article and instead of a possessive pronoun.[94]

Scots includes some strong plurals such as ee/een (eye/eyes), cauf/caur (calf/calves), horse/horse (horse/horses), cou/kye (cow/cows) and shae/shuin (shoe/shoes) that survived from Old English into Modern Scots but have become weak plurals in Standard Modern English – ox/oxen and child/children being exceptions.[95][96] Nouns of measure and quantity remain unchanged in the plural.[96][97]

The relative pronoun is that for all persons and numbers, but may be elided.[96][98] Modern Scots also has a third adjective/adverb this-that-yon/yonder (thon/thonder) indicating something at some distance.[96] Thir and thae are the plurals of this and that respectively.

The present tense of verbs adheres to the Northern subject rule whereby verbs end in -s in all persons and numbers except when a single personal pronoun is next to the verb.[96][99] Certain verbs are often used progressively[96] and verbs of motion may be dropped before an adverb or adverbial phrase of motion.[92]

Many verbs have strong or irregular forms which are distinctive from Standard English.[96][100] The regular past form of the weak or regular verbs is -it, -t or -ed, according to the preceding consonant or vowel.[96][101]

The present participle and gerund in are now usually /ən/[102] but may still be differentiated /ən/ and /in/ in Southern Scots[103] and, /ən/ and /ɪn/ North Northern Scots.

The negative particle is na, sometimes spelled nae, e.g. canna (can't), daurna (daren't), michtna (mightn't).[104]

Adverbs usually take the same form as the verb root or adjective especially after verbs. Haein a real guid day (Having a really good day). She's awfu fauchelt (She's awfully tired).

Phonology

Vowels

The vowel system of Modern Scots:[105]

Aitken IPA Common spellings
1 short /əi/
long /aɪ/
i-e, y-e, ey
2 /i/ ee, e-e, ie
3 /ei/[a] ei, ea
4 /e/ a-e, #ae
5 /o/ oa, o-e
6 /u/ ou, oo, u-e
7 /ø/[b][c] ui, eu[c]
8 /eː/ ai, #ay
8a /əi/ i-e, y-e, ey
9 /oe/ oi, oy
10 /əi/ i-e, y-e, ey
11 /iː/ #ee, #ie
12 /ɑː, ɔː/ au, #aw
13 /ʌu/[d] ow, #owe
14 /ju/ ew
15 /ɪ/ i
16 /ɛ/ e
17 /ɑ, a/ a
18 /ɔ/[e] o
19 /ʌ/ u
  1. ^ With the exception of North Northern dialects[106] this vowel has generally merged with vowels 2, 4 or 8.
  2. ^ Merges with vowels 15. and 8. in central dialects and vowel 2 in Northern dialects.
  3. ^ a b Also /(j)u/ or /(j)ʌ/ before /k/ and /x/ depending on dialect.
  4. ^ Vocalisation to /o/ may occur before /k/.
  5. ^ Some mergers with vowel 5.

Vowel length is usually conditioned by the Scottish Vowel Length Rule.

Consonants

Labial Dental Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ŋ[a]
Stop p b t d[b] k ɡ[c] ʔ
Affricate [d]
Fricative f v θ ð[e] s z[f] ʃ ʒ ç[g] x[g] h
Approximant central ɹ[h] j ʍ[i] w
lateral l
Trill r[h]
  1. ^ Spelt ng, always /ŋ/.[107]
  2. ^ /t/ may be a glottal stop between vowels or word final.[108] In Ulster dentalised pronunciations may also occur, also for /d/.
  3. ^ In Northern dialects the clusters kn and gn may be realised as /kn/, /tn/ and /ɡn/[108] e.g. knap (talk), knee, knowe (knoll), etc.
  4. ^ The cluster nch is usually realised /nʃ/[109] e.g. brainch (branch), dunch (push), etc.
  5. ^ Spelt th. In Mid Northern varieties an intervocallic /ð/ may be realised /d/.[110] Initial 'th' in thing, think and thank, etc. may be /h/.[111]
  6. ^ Both /s/ and /z/ may be spelt s or se. Z is seldom used for /z/ but may occur in some words as a substitute for the older ⟨ȝ⟩ (yogh) realised /jɪ/ or /ŋ/. For example: brulzie (broil), gaberlunzie (a beggar) and the names Menzies, Finzean, Culzean, Mackenzie etc.
  7. ^ a b Spelt ch, also gh. Medial 'cht' may be /ð/ in Northern dialects. loch (fjord or lake), nicht (night), dochter (daughter), dreich (dreary), etc. Similar to the German "Nacht".[112] The spelling ch is realised /tʃ/ word initially or where it follows 'r' e.g. airch (arch), mairch (march), etc.
  8. ^ a b Spelt r and pronounced in all positions,[113] i.e. rhotically.
  9. ^ W /w/ and wh /ʍ/, older /xʍ/, do not merge.[112] Northern dialects also have /f/ for /ʍ/.[111] The cluster wr may be realised /wr/, more often /r/, but may be /vr/ in Northern dialects[111] e.g. wrack (wreck), wrang (wrong), write, wrocht (worked), etc.

See also

References

  1. ^ 7% of the population (100,000–115,000) report using Scots at home in the 2011 census; 10,000 speakers in Ireland are reported by Ethnologue
  2. ^ Scots at Ethnologue (20th ed., 2017)
  3. ^ "Scotland's Census 2011 – Scots language skills" (PDF).
  4. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Scots". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  5. ^ Grant, William (1931). "Map 2". Scottish National Dictionary. Archived from the original on 21 January 2012.
  6. ^ Gregg, R. J. (1972) The Scotch-Irish Dialect Boundaries in Ulster in Wakelin M.F., Patterns in the Folk Speech of The British Isles, London
  7. ^ "List of declarations made with respect to treaty No. 148". Conventions.coe.int. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
  8. ^ "Gaelic Language". cranntara.scot.
  9. ^ Bergs, Alexander (2001). "Modern Scots". Languages of the World. Bow Historical Books. 242: 4. ISBN 9783895865138. Scots developed out of a mixture of Scandinavianised Northern English during the early Middle English period
  10. ^ Bergs, Alexander (2001). "Modern Scots". Languages of the World. Bow Historical Books. 242: 50. ISBN 9783895865138. Scots originated as one form of Northern Old English and quickly developed into a language in its own right up to the seventeenth century
  11. ^ Sandred, Karl Inge (1983). "Good or Bad Scots?: Attitudes to Optional Lexical and Grammatical Usages in Edinburgh". ACTA Universitatis Upsaliensis. Ubsaliensis S. Academiae. 48: 13. ISBN 9789155414429. Whereas Modern Standard English is traced back to an East Midland dialect of Middle English, Modern Scots developed from a northern variety which goes back to Old Northumbrian
  12. ^ a b c d A. J. Aitken in The Oxford Companion to the English Language, Oxford University Press 1992. p.894
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External links

Media related to Scots language at Wikimedia Commons Lowland Scots at Wikibooks

Dictionaries and linguistic information

Collections of texts

Auld Lang Syne

"Auld Lang Syne" (Scots pronunciation: [ˈɔːl(d) lɑŋˈsəin]: note "s" rather than "z") is a Scots-language poem written by Robert Burns in 1788 and set to the tune of a traditional folk song (Roud # 6294). It is well known in many countries, especially in the English-speaking world, its traditional use being to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. By extension, it is also sung at funerals, graduations, and as a farewell or ending to other occasions. The international Scouting movement in many countries uses it to close jamborees and other functions.The poem's Scots title may be translated into standard English as "old long since" or, more idiomatically, "long long ago", "days gone by", or "old times". Consequently, "For auld lang syne", as it appears in the first line of the chorus, might be loosely translated as "for the sake of old times".

The phrase "Auld Lang Syne" is also used in similar poems by Robert Ayton (1570–1638), Allan Ramsay (1686–1757), and James Watson (1711), as well as older folk songs predating Burns. Matthew Fitt uses the phrase "in the days of auld lang syne" as the equivalent of "once upon a time" in his retelling of fairy tales in the Scots language.

Bushmills

Bushmills is a village on the north coast of County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Bushmills had 1,319 inhabitants in the 2001 Census. It is located 60 miles (97 km) from Belfast, 11 miles (18 km) from Ballycastle and 9 miles (14 km) from Coleraine. The village owes its name to the River Bush and to a large watermill that was built there in the early 17th century.

Campbeltown

Campbeltown ( (listen); Scottish Gaelic: Ceann Loch Chille Chiarain or Ceann Locha) is a town and former royal burgh in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It lies by Campbeltown Loch on the Kintyre peninsula. Originally known as Kinlochkilkerran (an anglicization of the Gaelic, which means "head of the loch by the kirk of Ciarán"), it was renamed in the 17th century as Campbell's Town after Archibald Campbell (Earl of Argyle) was granted the site in 1667. Campbeltown became an important centre for Scotch whisky, and a busy fishing port.

Halfling

Halfling is another name for J. R. R. Tolkien's hobbit, a fictional race found in some fantasy novels and games. They are often depicted as similar to humans except about half as tall. Dungeons & Dragons began using the name halfling as an alternative to hobbit for legal reasons. Halfling characters have appeared in various tabletop and video games. Halflings have long been one of the playable humanoid races in Dungeons & Dragons.

History of the Scots language

The history of the Scots language refers to how Anglic varieties spoken in parts of Scotland developed into modern Scots.

Lanarkshire

Lanarkshire, also called the County of Lanark (Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig, Scots: Lanrikshire) is a historic county in the central Lowlands of Scotland.

Historically, Lanarkshire was the most populous county in Scotland and, in earlier times, had considerably greater boundaries, including neighbouring Renfrewshire until 1402. In modern times, it is bounded to the north by Stirlingshire and a detached portion of Dunbartonshire, to the northeast by Stirlingshire, West Lothian, to the east by Peeblesshire, to the southeast and south by Dumfriesshire, to the southwest by Dumfriesshire and Ayrshire and to the west by Ayrshire, Renfrewshire and Dunbartonshire.Lanarkshire was historically divided between two administrative areas. In the mid-18th century it was divided again into three wards: the upper, middle and lower wards with their administrative centres at Lanark, Hamilton and Glasgow, respectively, and remained this way until the Local Government Act of 1889. Other significant settlements include Coatbridge, East Kilbride, Motherwell, Airdrie, Blantyre, Cambuslang, Rutherglen, Wishaw and Carluke.In 1975, the county council was abolished and the area absorbed into the larger Strathclyde region, which itself was divided into new Council Areas in 1996. The old area of Lanarkshire is now occupied by the council areas of:

East Dunbartonshire (1996–present)

Glasgow City Council (1996–present)

North Lanarkshire (1996–present)

South Lanarkshire (1996–present)North Lanarkshire and South Lanarkshire have a joint board for valuation and electoral registration. There is also a joint health board, which does not cover Rutherglen and the surrounding area in South Lanarkshire. Without the northern portion of North Lanarkshire, this is also a Lieutenancy area.

Links (golf)

A links is the oldest style of golf course, first developed in Scotland. The word "links" comes via the Scots language from the Old English word hlinc : "rising ground, ridge" and refers to an area of coastal sand dunes and sometimes to open parkland. Links land is typically characterised by dunes, an undulating surface, and a sandy soil unsuitable for arable farming but which readily supports various indigenous browntop bent and red fescue grasses, that result in the firm turf associated with links courses and the 'running' game (the hard surface typical of the links-style course allows balls to "run" out much farther than on softer turf course after a fairway landing- often players will land the ball well before the green and allow it to run up onto the green rather than landing it on the green in the more targeted-landing style used on softer surfaces. It also retains this more general meaning in standard Scottish English. It can be treated as singular even though it has an "s" at the end and occurs in place names that precede the development of golf, for example Lundin Links, Fife.

Lothian

Lothian (; Scots: Lowden; Scottish Gaelic: Lodainn [ˈl̪ˠot̪aɲ]) is a region of the Scottish Lowlands, lying between the southern shore of the Firth of Forth and the Lammermuir Hills. The principal settlement is the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, while other significant towns include Livingston, Linlithgow, Bathgate, Queensferry, Dalkeith, Musselburgh, Prestonpans, North Berwick, Dunbar, and Haddington.

Historically, the term Lothian referred to a province encompassing most of what is now southeastern Scotland. In the 7th century it came under the control of the Anglian kingdom of Bernicia, the northern part of the later kingdom of Northumbria, but the Angles' grip on Lothian was quickly weakened following the Battle of Nechtansmere in which they were defeated by the Picts. Lothian was annexed to the Kingdom of Scotland around the 10th century.Subsequent Scottish history saw the region subdivided into three shires—Mid, East, and West Lothian—leading to the popular designation of "the Lothians".

Middle Scots

Middle Scots was the Anglic language of Lowland Scotland in the period from 1450 to 1700. By the end of the 15th century, its phonology, orthography, accidence, syntax and vocabulary had diverged markedly from Early Scots, which was virtually indistinguishable from early Northumbrian Middle English. Subsequently, the orthography of Middle Scots differed from that of the emerging Early Modern English standard. Middle Scots was fairly uniform throughout its many texts, albeit with some variation due to the use of Romance forms in translations from Latin or French, turns of phrases and grammar in recensions of southern texts influenced by southern forms, misunderstandings and mistakes made by foreign printers.

North Lanarkshire

North Lanarkshire Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Lannraig a Tuath) is one of 32 council areas of Scotland. It borders onto the northeast of the City of Glasgow and contains many of Glasgow's suburbs and commuter towns and villages. It also borders East Dunbartonshire, Falkirk, Stirling, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian. The council covers parts of the traditional counties of Dunbartonshire, Lanarkshire and Stirlingshire.

The area was formed in 1996, largely made up from the Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, Motherwell and parts from the former Monklands District Council (1975–1996) as well as significant elements of Strathclyde Regional Council.

Northern Ireland (European Parliament constituency)

Northern Ireland (Irish: Tuaisceart Éireann [ˈt̪ˠuəʃcəɾˠt̪ˠ ˈeːɾʲən̪ˠ] (listen); Ulster-Scots: Norlin Airlann) is a constituency of the European Parliament. Since 1979, it has elected three MEPs using the Single Transferable Vote, making it the only constituency in the United Kingdom to not use party-list proportional representation.

The constituency will cease on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, which is due to take place on 31 October 2019, although this date of withdrawal may be changed.

Phonological history of Scots

This is a presentation of the phonological history of the Scots language.

Scots has its origins in Old English (OE) via early Northern Middle English; though loanwords from Old Norse and Romance sources are common, especially from ecclesiastical and legal Latin, Anglo-Norman and Middle French borrowings. Trade and immigration led to some borrowings from Middle Low German and Middle Dutch. Some vocabulary has been borrowed from Scotland's other language, Scottish Gaelic.

River Tweed

The River Tweed, or Tweed Water (Scottish Gaelic: Abhainn Thuaidh, Scots: Watter o Tweid, Welsh: Tuedd), is a river 97 miles (156 km) long that flows east across the Border region in Scotland and northern England. Tweed (cloth) derives its name from its association with the River Tweed. The Tweed is one of the great salmon rivers of Britain and the only river in England where an Environment Agency rod licence is not required for angling. Tweed is an Old Brythonic (Celtic) name meaning 'border'.

Scots Wikipedia

The Scots Wikipedia (Scots: Scots Wikipaedia) is the Scots language version of Wikipedia, and is run by the Wikimedia Foundation. It was established on 23 June 2005, and first reached 1,000 articles in February 2006, and 5,000 articles in November 2010. As of April 2019, it has about 54,000 articles. The Scots Wikipedia is one of eight Wikipedias written in an Anglic language or English-based pidgin/creole, the others being the English Wikipedia, the Simple English Wikipedia, the Old English Wikipedia, the Pitkern-Norfuk Wikipedia, the Tok Pisin Wikipedia, the Jamaican Patois Wikipedia, and the Sranan Tongo Wikipedia.

Scottish Football Association

The Scottish Football Association (also known as the SFA and the Scottish FA; Scottish Gaelic: Comann Ball-coise na h-Alba; Scots: Scots Fitbaw Association), is the governing body of football in Scotland and has the ultimate responsibility for the control and development of football in Scotland. Members of the SFA include clubs in Scotland, affiliated national associations as well as local associations. It was formed in 1873, making it the second oldest national football association in the world. It is not to be confused with the "Scottish Football Union", which is the name that the SRU was known by until the 1920s.

The Scottish Football Association sits on the International Football Association Board which is responsible for the laws of the game. The SFA is also a member of FIFA and founder member of UEFA. It is based at Hampden Park in Glasgow. In addition, the Scottish Football Museum is located there.

The Scottish Football Association is responsible for the operation of the Scotland national football team, the annual Scottish Cup and several other duties important to the functioning of the game in Scotland.

Ulster Scots dialects

Ulster Scots or Ulster-Scots (Ulstèr-Scotch), also known as Ulster Scotch, Scots-Irish and Ullans, is the Scots language as spoken in parts of Ulster in Ireland. It is generally considered a dialect or group of dialects of Scots, although groups such as the Ulster-Scots Language Society and Ulster-Scots Academy consider it a language in its own right, and the Ulster-Scots Agency and former Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure have used the terminology Ulster-Scots language.

Some definitions of Ulster Scots may also include Standard English spoken with an Ulster Scots accent. This is a situation like that of Lowland Scots and Scottish Standard English with words pronounced using the Ulster Scots phonemes closest to those of Standard English.

Ulster Scots has been influenced by Hiberno-English, particularly Mid-Ulster English, and by Ulster Irish. As a result of the competing influences of English and Scots, varieties of Ulster Scots can be described as "more English" or "more Scots".The Scots language arrived in Ulster during the early 17th century, when large numbers of Scots speakers arrived from Lowland Scotland during the Hamilton and Montgomery Settlements and the Ulster Plantation. The earliest Scots writing in Ulster dates from that time, and until the late 20th century, written Scots from Ulster was almost identical with that of Scotland. However, since the revival of interest in the Ulster dialects of Scots in Ulster in the 1990s, new orthographies have been created, which, according to Irish language activist Aodán Mac Póilin, seek "to be as different to English (and occasionally Scots) as possible."

Virtual International Authority File

The Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) is an international authority file. It is a joint project of several national libraries and operated by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC).

Weaver Poets

Weaver Poets, Rhyming Weaver Poets and Ulster Weaver Poets were a collective group of poets belonging to an artistic movement who were both influenced by and contemporaries of Robert Burns and the Romantic movement.

West Dunbartonshire

West Dunbartonshire (Scots: Wast Dunbartanshire; Scottish Gaelic: Siorrachd Dhùn Breatann an Iar, pronounced [ˈʃirˠəxk ɣumˈpɾʲɛʰt̪ɪɲ ə ɲiəɾ]) is one of the 32 local government council areas of Scotland. The area lies to the west of the City of Glasgow and contains many of Glasgow's commuter towns and villages, as well as the city's suburbs. West Dunbartonshire also borders onto Argyll and Bute, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and Stirling.

The area was formed on 1 April 1996 from part of the former Strathclyde Region, namely the entire district of Clydebank and the Dumbarton district less the Helensburgh area. In the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 that created the council area its name was Dumbarton and Clydebank. The council, elected as a shadow authority in 1995, resolved to change the name of the area to West Dunbartonshire.The area is essentially composed of three parts: the towns of Clydebank, Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven district.

West Dunbartonshire is administered from Dumbarton, although Clydebank is the largest town.

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