20th Edition



A language of United Kingdom


1,589,200 in United Kingdom, all users. L1 users: 89,200 (2011 census). 55,800 in Scotland, 33,400 in Northern Ireland. L2 users: 1,500,000. Total users in all countries: 1,599,200 (as L1: 99,200; as L2: 1,500,000).


Northern Ireland: Ulster dialect; Scotland from Shetland and Orkney islands to the counties of Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders, south and central Scotland dialect: Lallans; northeast Scotland dialect: Doric.

Language Status

5 (Developing).


Doric, Lallans, Ulster. Difficult intelligibility among dialects. Northern Scots on the Scottish Islands is considered by some a different language (Shetlandic or Orcadian). Lallans is main literary dialect. Scots is reportedly most similar to English [eng] and Frisian [fry].


SVO; prepositions; genitives, articles, adjectives, numerals before noun heads; relatives without noun heads; question word initial; 2 prefixes, 1 suffix; word order distinguishes subjects, objects, indirect objects, given and new information, topic and comment; affixes indicate genitive case of noun phrase; passives; comparatives; CVC; nontonal.

Language Use

Home, community. All ages. Also use English [eng].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L2: 97% in English [eng]. Ulster Scots has a development group. Literature. Periodicals. Dictionary. NT: 1901–1984.

Latin script [Latn].

Other Comments


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