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What is the Scots language. Who do I contact for more info?

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The Scots language is a Germanic language related to English. It is not Celtic, but has been influenced by Gaelic, as Scottish Gaelic has been influenced by Scots. "Briogais", "gaileis", "baillidh", "snaoisean", "burach", "sneag", etc etc.

For more info, contact:

Scots Language Society
Blackford Lodge
Perthshire PH4 1QP

tel: 01764 682315
fax 0870 428 5086

Membership is 7 pounds a year. More details in [3.3]

There is also some info in the following section:

"The Pocket Guide to Scottish Words: Scots, Gaelic"
by Iseabail Macleod. Published by W&R Chambers, Ltd.
43-45 Annandale Street, Edinburgh EH7 4AZ
(ISBN 0-550-11834-9). Widely available at bookshops and airports

US distributors
Unicorn Limited, Inc.
P.O. Box 397
Bruceton Mills, WV 26525
(304) 379-8803

It has "Place names, personal names, food and drink. Scots and Gaelic words explained in handy reference form."

There are 30 pages of Scots words explained. No grammar. It does list a number of interesting sounding books:

Scots is not slang. If you want to know about slang, see here

Scots Language Dictionaries

"The Concise Scots Dictionary". Mairi Robinson, editor-in-chief. Published 1985, (Aberdeen University Press) 862pp, a comprehensive one-volume dictionary covering the Scots language from the earliest records to the present day; based largely on:

William Grant, David Murison, editors "The Scottish National Dictionary" 10 vols., 1931-76, the Scots language from 1700 to the present day, and:

Sir William Craigie, A J Aitken et al "A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue" published up to Pr- in 5 vols., 1931-, the Scots language up to 1700.

Alexander Warrack, "Chambers Scots Dictionary" 1911, 717pp.

"The Scots School Dictionary", ed. Iseabail Macleod and Pauline Cairns, Chambers 1996, 370pp. The best two-way dictionary currently available.

General Scots Books

A J Aitken, Tom McArthur, eds "Languages of Scotland" 1979, 160pp., a collection of essays on Scots and Gaelic.

David Murison "The Guid Scots Tongue" 1977, 63pp

"The New Testament in Scots" 1983, by W L Lorimer

A Scots grammar : Scots grammar and usage : Scots that haes David Purves (Saltire Society, 1997).

Just to add to the list of books of/about Scots, one should mention the reprint of P Hately Waddell's The Psalms: Frae Hebrew Intil Scots (orig 1871, reprinted with modern introduction 1987 by Aberdeen Univ Press).

I would love to see some instructive writing about the Scots tongue, more than just word-lists. Especially pronunciation, intonation, cadence, etc. as well as grammar.

Recommended reading

There are two books that are essential reading on the subject of Scots.

The first is "Scots: the Mither Tongue" by Billy Kay. This is available both in hardback and paperback.

The second is "Why Scots Matters" by J. Derrick McClure. This is more of a booklet than a book, and is an inexpensive paperback.

Colin Wilson has written a book to learn Scots called "Luath Scots Language Learner - an introduction to contemporary spoken Scots". This book was launched on 9th September 2002. Published by Luath Press Ltd, ISBN 094648791X.

you can buy the book here:

There's also
George Kynoch, Teach Yourself Doric, Scottish Cultural Press; published in 1995, I think.


The relevant Scottish Office department covering the Scots language is at

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