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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Central Scots

The third of the main dialect regions of the Scots language is known as Central Scots because it covers all the central parts of the country. It is also the biggest dialect region because it has the biggest population. Scotland’s two largest cities, Edinburgh and Glasgow, are both in this region.

Because the Scottish government came to be largely based in this area it meant that Central Scots forms in the past were often preferred for writing official documents and for speech making. Although the dialects of this region have much in common, because it is a large region it also means that more local differences have developed over time. For this reason Central Scots is divided into four parts known as East Central North, East Central South, West Central, and South Central. At a very basic level, we can say that East Central North and East Central South are more like each other than West Central and South Central, so the region distinguishes between east and west which is true of Scotland generally.

Scots has also been spoken in some parts of Argyll since the 17th century and so Argyll is included in this region. To learn more about how the four dialects are distinguished from each other, and about their cultural background, please follow the individual links.