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Scottish Names

Scottish, or Scots, is a unique form of the English language traditionally spoken in Southeastern Scotland since the 7th century and written since the 14th century. Some scholars regard Scots as a distinct language.

Scots is derived from the Northumbrian dialect of the Old English language. In the Middle Ages, Scots spread from the Central Lowlands to the northeast to Aberdeenshire and to the far north where it was blended with the Norn (Norse) dialects of the Orkney and Shetland islands.

Scots was the national and court language of Scotland until the 17th century, but the transfer of the court to England in 1603 and the dissemination of the King James Bible, effectively reduced the language's popularity. With the help of various literary and linguistic revivals, Scots still exists in Scotland today and can often be found intermixed with standard English.

Other ancient Scottish languages include Scottish Gaelic and Manx, the Celtic language from the Isle of Man. The Scots dialect is often associated with Lowlanders and Gaelic with Highlanders.

This page was last modified on 16 May 2003.

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