What Languages Are Spoken In Scotland?

A Book of Psalms printed in the reign of James VI and I
A Book of Psalms printed in the reign of James VI and I

Scotland is one of the three countries (including England and Wales) which make up the United Kingdom and is located north of Great Britain. The country’s three officially recognized languages include English, the Scots, and Scottish-Gaelic. The recorded languages of Scotland are all either Germanic or Celtic. English is the language mainly in use in the country, followed by Scots and Scottish Gaelic as minority languages. The English spoken in Scotland is a dialect known as Scottish English. Scotland’s Celtic languages are either Goidelic (Gaelic) or Brittonic.

English, The Most Widely Spoken Language In Scotland

English is the most widely spoken language in Scotland, with 99% of Scottish citizens responding that they could speak English. This came about as a result of interactions that have taken place in England and Scotland during the history of the two countries. In 1701, the Kingdom of Scotland merged with the Kingdom of England, leading to the formation of the Great Britain. In 1801, Great Britain joined with Ireland, resulting in the formation of the UK. As a result of this merging of the kingdoms, the people of Scotland gradually shifted towards the use of English in communication. However, they did not speak Standard English but developed their unique dialect known as Scottish English. This dialect has the high influence of Gaelic.

Scots Language

The second most spoken language in Scotland is Scots, which can be spoken by 30% of Scottish citizens. This Germanic Language, spoken mostly in Lowland Scotland is often classified as one of the ancient varieties of the English language. In fact, most people in Scotland (64% of adults in Scotland, according to a 2010 study done by the Scottish government) do not consider Scots a language. The language which evolved from Middle English was influenced during its development by the Romance languages that is Latin Languages; from legal and ecclesiastical Latin, Norman, and French. Other influences include Dutch and Middle Low German. Scottish Gaelic has also loaned man words to Scots, mostly words denoting geographical and cultural features. Scots consist of several dialects, with none of them being the “official” Scots. These dialects include Insular Scots, Northern Scots, Central Scots, Southern Scots, and the Jewish hybrid Scots-Yiddish.

Scottish Gaelic

The third most spoken language in Scotland is Scottish Gaelic, which is spoken by 1% of Scottish citizens. Scottish Gaelic is a Celtic language of the Goidelic branch. It evolved from Middle Irish. Today there are efforts to revive an appreciation of the language, especially amongst young people. Not an official language, either in the European Union or the UK, Scottish Gaelic is classified as an indigenous language by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Main Immigrant Languages Spoken In Scotland

Among the minority languages are those spoken by diverse groups of people from other countries who have migrated into Scotland and established communities in the country. These immigrant languages include Italian, Mandarin, Polish, Urdu, and Cantonese.

Main Foreign Languages Of Scotland

Most of the foreign languages spoken in Scotland are European. These include the German, Spanish, Italian, and French languages.

Origin Of Native Languages Spoken In Scotland

History has always had a significant influence on language development and evolution, and to examine a country’s language is to examine its history. The same is true for Scotland, and its languages reveal its histories with Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Latin, and Ancient Greek, as well as the Celtic ancestry of the Scottish people.

What Language Is Spoke In Scotland?

1Main languagesEnglish (99%)
2Minority languagesScots (30%), Scottish Gaelic (1%)
3Main immigrant languagesCantonese, Polish, Mandarin, Italian, Punjabi, Urdu
4Main foreign languagesFrench, Italian, Spanish, German

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