myths about the Scots language

The four most popular myths.

  • Scots is just slang/a dialect/just English in an accent? There are a few accepted definitions of slang: informal language, words used only within a certain group, or language which is mainly spoken. None of these definitions apply to Scots. Scots has different registers, and formal words can be seen to this day in Scots law. Scots and English have a degree of mutual intelligibility, both languages are from the same family. The Scots language has four main dialects… Scots is recognised as a language by the Scottish Government, is protected by the UK Government under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, and was included in UNESCO’s Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger
  • Modern Scots words are ‘made up’ All words are made up. New words are coined all the time, which is pretty rad and bodacious. Language is an ever-evolving banquet of linguistic delights, each new word should be cherished. 
  • Nobody/only a small number of people speak it/ Scots is a regional thing/not spoken widely The 2011 census reported 1.54 million Scots speakers, which demonstrates how widely used the language is. It is widely believed that these numbers are underreported
  • Scots wasn’t promoted before SNP A Labour government ratified the charter for regional or minority languages, including the Scots language. Scots speakers have a diverse range of political and cultural beliefs. To reduce Scots to an SNP language excludes speakers, learners and supporters from across the political spectrum.
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