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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Names in Scots - Personal

As one might expect, Scots speakers have traditionally had their own forms of first and family names, just like every language community. For example, though the name David was often written the same as in England, it was pronounced with a different sound on the ‘a’, while –d endings were commonly pronounced by Scots with a ‘t’ sound, hence the forms ‘Dauvit’ or ‘Edwart’(in this second instance the ‘d’ was even elided to give the form ‘Ewart’). In other instances we can clearly see a closer relationship between Scots and continental forms. Hendrie, for example, clearly owes something to Scandinavian Hen(d)rik and appears ‘half way’ between English Henry (taken from French) and Dutch and Scandinavian. Also, it is a common feature of Scots that it retains harder sounds where English has softened as in Katren (English ‘Catherine’) or Kirsten (English ‘Christine’). Because the Scots language was demoted in status after the Union with England (1707) the distinct forms of Scots names came to be regarded as ‘incorrect’ by the Anglicised elite. English forms came increasingly to be preferred. So much so that today the authors of name books will erroneously assume Scots as ‘pet’ forms of English rather than distinct forms which developed independently. In addition, officialdom in Scotland does not support the use of Scots names in a formal capacity but rather prefers the forms adopted from England.

The following is a list of more common traditional first names found in Scots-speaking Scotland. Like English, these are derived from a variety of sources including Celtic, Germanic, Greek and Latin. In each case the accepted English form is given first followed (where appropriate) by the pet form in English in brackets, and is then followed by the Scots form with its pet form also in brackets.

Adam - Aidom (Aidie)
Alison - Ellison (Ellie, Elsie)
Archibald (Archy) - Airchibald (Airchie)
Arthur (Art) - Airthur (Attie)
Alexander (Alex) - Alisaunder/Alexander (Alec, Eck, Sandie)
Andrew (Andy) - Andra (Andy, Dand)
Angus - Innes
Anne (Anny) - Ann (Annie)
Antony (Tony) – Antony (Nantie)
Alan (Al) - Aulan (Allie)
Barbara (Babbs) - Barbray (Babbie)
Catherine (Cate) – Katren (Katie)
Charles (Charley) - Chairles (Chairlie)
Christine (Chrissy) - Kirsten (Kirstie)
David (Dave) - Dauvit (Davie)
Douglas (Doug) - Dooglas (Doogie)
Edward (Eddy, Ned) - Edwart (Eddie)
Elizabeth (Lizzy) - Leezabeth (Leezie)
Francis (Frank) - Frauncis (Frankie)
Gavin (Gav) - Gawin
George (Georgy) - George (Dod, Geordie)
Henry (Harry) - Hendrie (Hairrie, Henders)
Henrietta - Hendretta (Hennie)
Hugh (Hughey) – Hugh (Hughoc, Hughie, Shug)
Isabel (Bell) - Isabel (Bella, Isa, Tib)
James (Jim) - Jeames/Jeems (Jamie, Jimmie)
Jane - Jean (Jeanie, Jessie)
Janet – Jenet (Jessie)
Jason – Jeson
Joan – Jean (Jeanie, Jessie)
John (Jack, Johnny) - John (Jock, Johnnie)
Joseph (Joe) - Joseph (Josey)
Julia - Jowlia
Kenneth (Ken) - Kenneth (Kennie)
Laura - Lowra
Laurence (Larry) - Lowrence (Lowrie)
Margaret (Maggy) - Magret (Meg, Peggie)
Marion - Merran
Martin (Marty) - Mairten
Magnus - Manus (Mansie)
Mathew (Mat) - Mattha (Mat)
Malcolm - Maucom (Maikie)
Mary (May) - Mary (Mamie, Mey)
Michael (Mike) - Mitchel
Marion - Merran
Olivia (Liv) - Oleevia (Leevie)
Patrick (Pat) - Paitrik (Pate)
Peter (Pete) - Paitrik (Pate)
Rebecca – Beckie
Richard (Dick, Richy) - Richart (Richie)
Robbin - Rabbin
Robert (Rob) - Robert (Rab)
Samuel (Sam) - Saumal (Saummie)
Susan (Suzy) - Shoosan (Shoosie)
Steven (Steve) - Steen (Steenie)
Thomas (Tom) - Tamas (Tam)
William (Bill, Will) - Weelum (Beel, Wullie)
Victoria (Vicky) - Victoary (Vicky)