Scots leid (Scots language)

Hello. I'm wondering if anyone here on Duolingo speaks the Scots language fluently, or enough to make a course. I don't speak it myself, but I'm wondering how much interest there is out there for a Scots course.

You may be wondering, "why not Gaelic, if there was a Scottish course, it should be gaelic". Well, it turns out that even though Scottish Gaelic is much more well known than Scots is (at least to non-Scottish people), Scots is much more widely spoken, and has many more native speakers. (Although, many Scots use neither full English nor full Scots, but something in between because the two are so similar).

So yeah, just wondering if there are any people out there who speak Scots, or people who don't (like me) but want to see a course made.

December 22, 2015


A wud luve tae see a coorse for the Scots leid here on Duolingo. Gin yi need ae haund wi it A'd be real blythe tae help! This is ae gey braw idea! :D

November 4, 2017

Hey. Gin ye coud wad ye contribute tae the course? A am gaun'ae an tae become an actual course it requires twa people tae contribute.

November 30, 2017

Ah'd be glad tae work wi fowk at'd win throo the weather tae mak this coorse.

N here's the first o it, gif ye'r really wantin tae mak this coorse, than we need tae tawk oan hoo we'r gaunae big this afore duolingo can even consider green-lichtin ae Scots coorse.

"Awbodie maks ae mad dash tae the exit."

November 30, 2017

I would agree that there should be a Duolingo course regarding Scots. It is as much a language as modern English is, since they both evolved from Middle English. To prove a point, here's a link to the Scots thesaurus and it seems it's not the Inuits that have 50 words for snow but us Scots.

June 30, 2017

Scots and Gaelic definitely both deserve their place on DuoLingo. All smaller languages should at some point have a course, I think. If DuoLingo's goal is to make language learning accessible, they have to continue to add courses and above all refuse to believe ANY language is too small.

January 16, 2018

hello. Scottish gaelic wis ma native language. A can speak scots english fluently. A am willin tae contribute tae a scots english course gin ane becomes available. But yeah usually I just speak modern English

November 30, 2017

I would be really interested in a Scots course, it's such an interesting and misunderstood language. I feel that there is no sense in insisting that Scots isn't a language while maintaining that Norwegian/Danish/Swedish and Croatian/Serbian/Bosnian are separate languages as the degree of mutual intelligibility is very similar.

For anyone who is interested in Scots, I would suggest having a look at Itchy Coo:

They publish children's books in Scots and have done a lot to raise the profile of the language in schools in Scotland. Matthew Fitt, the founder of Itchy Coo, has recently translated the first Harry Potter book into Scots and you can read a glossary of various Scots terms that he used on the website. A personal favourite is his translation of Quidditch as "Bizzumbaw" from the Scots word for broom "bizzum". You can buy the book on Amazon for around £6 and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Scots as it's a fascinating translation.

You can also find more information about the language here: or read the Scots wikipedia here:

January 7, 2018
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There's also Scots Radio:

January 7, 2018

This would be really helpful as there are very few courses anywhere to learn Scots.

August 18, 2017

I'm a Scots speaker who would like to see a course created (and would be willing to contribute)!

February 24, 2019

Scots is getting much more focus now as a language after 100s of years of it being dismissed as "slang" by the British state who wanted us to speak English. There are many more people now who would help create a course than there was 3 years ago when this was first posted. If someone can let me know how you go about making a Duolingo course then I'm happy to speak to some people and organisations who I believe would be very interested in helping.

March 22, 2019

You could probably learn the language in less than four months. You don't really have to learn any grammar and the words are as similar to English as you can get. Some words are words we even associate with Scottish English slang, for example the word for boy in Scots is "lad". I've had an interest in the language for a while now since I am 1/4th Scottish descent and Scottish is the dominant European culture in my family over German, French, and Irish. Anyways, if you really want to YOU can be the first contributor towards the course, I believe Memrise has a course on it.

December 22, 2015

Hello. I speak scots english fluently. First language was scottish gaelic. Lived in Scotland for a bit and then started to speak Scottish english. Now I speak english. But I am still fluent in scots english and I contributed to duolingo a little bit ago. So hopefully it gets accepted.

November 29, 2017

I agree it should be called Scots English but this is a minority view in Scotland it seems. Scots Gaelic and Scots English are the two Scots languages but most campaigners and speakers of Scots English insist on simply callng it Scots.

August 2, 2019

There are three main spoken languages in Scotland: Scots, Gaelic and English. Scottish English and Scots are not the same thing.

August 2, 2019

Yes, please! I love how I can read the scots wikipedia! It's so cool!

July 7, 2017

I'd be happy to lend a hand if this ever gets underway. Where do I volunteer?

July 26, 2017

I wish I knew where to volunteer, but you could start by contributing to this forum. Could you share your experiences here that would prove that Scots is a living language? State what your status as a speaker of Scots is. Did you grow up speaking it? Can you tell the difference between Scottish English (which we are all familiar with ) and Scots (Scots leid)? Is there a part of Scotland where there are more speakers of it? How similar is the modern version of Scots to the version in some of the poems of Burns? Do the speakers of Scots generally consider that they are speakers of a language which is separate from English? Are you aware of different dialects of Scots? What do the speakers of Scots call their language when speaking among themselves? Are there any speakers of Scots who are not speakers of English, or are all of them bilingual? Are there still young speakers, or is there a predominance of older speakers? Are people proud to speak this language? Does anyone ever write in the modern Scots language? When? In short, anything you could think of about Scots will be helpful, since I think this forum is monitored. Your comments will certainly all be of interest to me and other linguistically-minded readers. Thanks so much! Sincerely, Professor FP

July 26, 2017

Gin it gans brawly wi yersel ah'd a shottie reponin tae a wheen o yer speirins…

Could you share your experiences here that would prove that Scots is a living language?

The latest, most reliable data available on numbers speaking Scots are from the 2011 census. The total number of people who stated they could either, speak, read, write, or understand Scots was 1.9 million (38% of the population). Out of this figure the number of people who said they could speak Scots was 1,541,693 (30% of the population). My source for that information is the Scots Language Centre’s “Brief Analysis of the 2011 Census Results”, published in 2013, and which is available at

Can you tell the difference between Scottish English (which we are all familiar with) and Scots (Scots leid)?

Yes, absolutely. As most folk are no doubt aware, Scottish Standard English is very close indeed to Standard English. Scots, on the other hand, has its own grammar and vocabulary (see for detail on the grammar). To give a brief history, modern English and modern Scots have the same ancestor, namely Old English. Scots comes from a dialect of Old English called Northumbrian, while Standard English comes from a dialect called Mercian. Figure 1 at illustrates the evolution and divergence of the languages we now know as Scots and Standard English. Scots has also been influenced by other languages including Norse, French, and Gaelic (source: In day-to-day speech, most people are probably somewhere on the Scottish Standard English – Broad Scots continuum.

From a personal perspective, as a fluent Scottish Standard English speaker — with some knowledge of spoken Scots and limited knowledge of written Scots — I find that I can understand maybe about half of the Scots that I’ve read since I started taking an interest recently, be it prose (e.g. in Lallans magazine) or poetry (e.g. Burns or MacDiarmid). The more literary words that are used, the more I need to read with a dictionary to hand. Certain common words and expressions I’ve also found not to be obvious, e.g. gin (if), jalouse ([verb] suspect), ilka (each, every), forby (besides, in addition to, as well as). When writing, I also struggle with the correct form of verb to use, and normally have to look it up, despite having heard the words used every day growing up in the Scottish Borders.

So there is a degree of mutual intelligibility, but for me even replying to a simple email in Scots takes some effort. You can’t simply replace Standard English words with Scots words and be confident that it’ll make sense. The listing of idioms at gives some illustration of this.

You can judge for yourself the difference between Standard English (and, of course, Standard Scottish English) and modern Scots by comparing, for example, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Scots ( and English ( Also, there is a good summary comparing Scottish Standard English to Standard English at

Where is Scots spoken?

You can view an interactive map of the 2011 census results at Be sure to select Scots from the dropdown at the top-left.

Do the speakers of Scots generally consider that they are speakers of a language which is separate from English?

A Scottish Government survey conducted in 2010 found that 64% did not think of Scots as a language. (Source: paragraph 3.26 at The survey report does note, however, that “many of those who disagree [that it’s not a language] (30%) do so strongly (16% in total) highlighting the absence of a real consensus on this issue.”

From my personal perspective, I too would have taken the view that it was not a language until I recently became acquainted with its history, as well as the history of other languages which similarly share a common ancestor (e.g. Danish and Norwegian; Irish and Scottish Gaelic; Czech and Slovak). I was also completely unaware that it was once a language of state (e.g., I am in no way a linguist, and I didn’t realise that other languages could be as similar as Scots and English are. I do consider it very odd that, outside of reciting Burns poetry, we were taught virtually nothing at school about the “mither tongue”. I understand things are not quite as bad nowadays.

Are you aware of different dialects of Scots?

Yes. There are four main dialects: Insular, Northern, Central, and Southern. There are sub-dialects within these. Source:

Are there any speakers of Scots who are not speakers of English, or are all of them bilingual?

All are bilingual. In terms of spoken Scots, it’s probably fair to say that most people exist somewhere on the Scottish Standard English – Braid Scots continuum.

Are there still young speakers, or is there a predominance of older speakers?

Somewhat more common among older speakers. For data, please see Figure 3 (page 6) of “Scots in the Census: validity and reliability”:

Does anyone ever write in the modern Scots language?

Yes. Lallans magazine ( is written wholly in Scots, and has been published since 1973. It features a mixture of prose and poetry. There have been adaptations of popular works, e.g. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (, and The Gruffalo ( Matthew Fitt wrote an original science fiction novel, “But N Ben A-Go-Go”, in Scots ( The National newspaper publishes articles and letters in Scots, e.g., as does the Bella Caledonia website: Of course, poetry continues to be written in Scots, e.g., Lallans magazine. There’s also a Scots Wikipedia:

Update: I recently set up a blog to publish original Scots prose. It covers culture, politics, the arts and more. Hae a keek at!

August 1, 2017

I pit Scots doon on thon census but I meant Scots Inglis. Inglis bein the aulder name fur the leid amang spikkers in they days afore the high heidyins stairtet crying Gaelic Ersche and Inglis Scots. I jalouse a wheen o fowk hid the same perception tae masel.

August 2, 2019

I think that would be a fantastic idea! A wud luve tae learn Lallans :)

May 17, 2018

Also want to see this on Duolingo!

May 22, 2018

I would be VERY grateful to any Scots speaker in the Duolingo community to offer a course in this language. Its poetic qualities, cultural importance, and the beauty of its phonetics all call out for a course. Sound recordings would be essential. Thanks in advance!

May 24, 2017

Aye !

January 9, 2019

Ay, I'd love a Scots course

January 10, 2019

Would be great to see a Scots course

February 15, 2019

I would be interested in this course, then maybe I could understand my relations

May 2, 2019

The problem is that thurs nae wan wie o writin or speakin Scots and it kin mean oniething far Glaswegian Tae Shetlandic.

July 23, 2019

I would love to see a Scots course. Don't know that many people know its separate from scottish gaelic though.

December 30, 2017

I would love to see a Scots course!

January 31, 2018

I want this. I want to know what Scotsmen are saying when they use Scots. Should be easy to learn. Only small obstacle is it has no written standard.

June 8, 2018


January 10, 2019

I too would love to see a Scots course on Duolingo. It looks like we have a few native speakers on here already (unfortunately, I'm not one though). Lets get some more votes for Scots!

February 22, 2019

Oh please!

March 18, 2019

I would adore a course in Scots.

April 7, 2019

If they can do a multiple fictional language courses, you'd ken an actual used language would be ok to have on here too

April 7, 2019

I would definitely be interested in studying Scots on Duolingo in the future.

April 20, 2019

Yes, please! I would love to learn the grammar and pronunciation.

June 2, 2019

Me too! But I'm afraid this idea has already gone away, not many people comment on here :(

July 2, 2019

I would love to have a Scots course, not Gaelic but regular Scot. My forebears came from Dumfries and I would like to learn their language and talk to others.

July 7, 2019

We need to have Yogh (Ȝȝ) in the course, too.

July 26, 2019

Do you mean the letter that was used in middle English? How would that feature in Scots Leid?

July 29, 2019

Thurs monie fowk thit reckon Scots is a separit leid frae Inglis but gin it is or isnae, it his a affie muckle wheen o byleids siclike yell find in Yorkshire, Sooth Wast Ingland and ither sindrae airts tae. No tae mention Appalachian Inglis in the Soothren States, which is gey diffrent frae staunart Inglis and aiblins relaitit tae Scots byleids due tae maistlie Scots indwallers bydin thaur in the echteenth yearhunnert. Sib leids an byleids kin maistlie be fund ootwae the muckler launds whaur Inglis is the hamelie tung the day but they kintras wurnae whaur it first developped and dinnae gie varsity linguistic raikers a fair picter o its dialectologie. On the ither haund, ye micht hae a problem unnerstaunnin whit Jo Pesci says in gangster films sic as Goodfellas, but thons aiblins nearer tae an accent diffrence nor a byleid yin. houwivver thur are a few grammatical differences atween workin class Brooklyn and New Jersey speech and staunnart Inglis as spaken by uptown Manhattanites. The quaistion is whaur tae merk the pynt atween dialect and langage and thons nae an easy yin tae repone tae wayoot gettin intae a stramash wae ither bletherers on the maitter.

August 3, 2019

If you don't mind my asking, where are you from?

I'm from Jersey and have a few issues with the grammatical portion of your argument as it relates to the Jersey accent. Also, I object to the New York comparison but that's more a matter of state pride.

August 3, 2019

Cuild ye owerset thon quaistion intae Scots?

August 3, 2019
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