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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

The Leid Ower The Border

14th February 2013

The results of the census held in England and Wales in 2011 have for the first time revealed an official figure for Scots speakers in those countries. People were asked not only about their proficiency in English but also about their main spoken, or home, language. For the first time Scots was included among a number of other language options and 1,542 people replied that Scots was their main spoken language. This makes Scots the second biggest minority indigenous language of the British Isles to be spoken in England and Wales after Irish, by a narrow margin. Irish speakers amounted to 1,559, followed by Scots, then Scottish Gaelic with 58 speakers and then Manx with 38. Commenting on these figures, Director Michael Hance, of the Scots Language Centre, said “It is very exciting to see that over 1,500 people in England and Wales have said that Scots is their main language. Many people grow up speaking Scots and they never lose their attachment to the language even when they leave Scotland and live elsewhere. Data from the language questions in the Scottish Census will be released in June and we are confident that they will show that a significant proportion of the population can speak Scots.”