Scotland language

Scotland flag

Scotland is one of the four nations that make up the United Kingdom. They belong to Europe, and their capital is Edinburgh. It has a population of 5.5 million inhabitants and an area of ​​77,933 km 2. Its human development index is very high and its official currency is the pound sterling. And what language is spoken in Scotland?

What language do they speak in Scotland?

Scotland officially recognizes three languages:

  • English , spoken by 99% of the population.
  • Scots , which is spoken by 30% of its inhabitants.
  • Scottish Gaelic, which is spoken by 1.1% of citizens.

The main immigrant languages ​​are Urdu, Cantonese Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Polish, Italian and Punjabi. The most learned languages ​​are French, German, English and Spanish. Various Brittonic languages ​​were spoken in the past, now extinct (the most important being the Cumbric language). In the same way, the Pictish language disappeared from the territory.

The English language

The English (English) spoken in Scotland is known as Scottish English. This variant was the result of contact between languages ​​(English and Scottish) that coexisted after the 17th century. The Scots ended up using English, and this resulted in vocabulary transmissions as well as phonological shifts and hypercorrections. Common lexicon in Scottish English is:

  • Wee (in English Small, which means Small)
  • Bairn (Child = Kid)
  • Bonnie (Pretty = Attractive)
  • Braw (Fine = Good)
  • Muckle (Big = Big)
  • Outwith (Outside of = Outside of)
  • Kirk (Church = Church)

The use of words, such as “How?” is sometimes used to mean “Why?” (why?), as well as “How not?” to express “Why not?” (why not?). Another example would be that they use the word “stay” to express “live”, such as: “Where do you stay?” (where do you live?). To build diminutives, the suffix “-ie” is added to the end of a word.

The use of progressive verbs is much more frequent than in other varieties of English, for example with some stative verbs (“I’m wanting a snack”). In some areas, the perfective aspect of a verb is indicated by using “be” as an auxiliary, followed by the preposition “after” and the participle. For example, “She is after going” instead of “She has gone” (a borrowed construction from Scottish Gaelic).

In the colloquial register, the use of words like “shall”, “ought”, “must” and “may” hardly exists. Other constructions that exist are:

  • What age are you? (How old are you)
  • I’m just after telling you. (I’ve just told you)
  • Amn’t I invited? (Am I not invited?)

The Scottish language

Scots (Scots) is spoken by almost a third of the population. Like English, it is a Germanic language. It is spoken in the southern part of the country (in the Lowlands). The language has very diverse varieties and dialects, and it is also a multicentric language. There is no institutionalized standard variety, and besides, it would be difficult to choose which is the “correct” Scots (a fact that fills Scots-speakers with pride). The 5 dialect groups are Northern, Southern, Insular, Central and Ulster Scots.

percentage map scottish speakers

Scottish Gaelic language

Scottish Gaelic (Gàidhlig) is the only surviving Celtic language in the country, spoken by as little as 1% of the population. Now used in the northwestern part of Scotland, its extent was vaster centuries ago. The majority of its vocabulary is Celtic, with numerous loanwords from Latin, Ancient Greek, Old Norse, Hebrew, French, and Scots.

percentage map scottish gaelic speakers

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