Unit 4: Dialect diversity


In this unit you will learn about dialect diversity within Scots language. Like many languages, Scots is spoken and written in a variety of regional dialects. This unit will introduce you to these dialects and discuss some of the differences that appear between them.

The predominance, and history of, the dialects of Scots language are particularly important when studying and understanding Scots due to the fact that the language is presently without an acknowledged written standard. Whilst there are differences between the regional dialects, they are also tied together by common features and similarities.

Important details to take notes on throughout this unit:

  • The number of Scots language dialects commonly recognised as being used in Scotland today
  • The present state of Scots language
  • The regard which regional speakers of Scots have for “their” dialect
  • The influence of Norn (a North Germanic language belonging to the same group as Norwegian) on Scots language and the different dialects today
  • The census of Scotland in March 2011, which asked for the first time in its history whether people could speak, read, write or understand Scots.

Activity 1

Before commencing your study of this unit, you may wish to jot down some thoughts on any of the five important details we suggest you take notes on throughout this unit.

You could write down what you already know about each/any of these five points, as well as any assumption or question you might have. You will revisit these initial thoughts again when you come to the end of the unit.

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4. Introductory handsel