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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

  • Valerie

    writing for children

  • Sheila

    working in the bank

  • Nancy

    how Caithness people speak

  • Colin

    talks about what Doric means

  • Gavin

    the story of a farmer

  • Richard

    his father's job

  • Yvonne

    waiting for a delivery

  • Chris

    talks about the Yellowhammer

  • Alasdair

    the word 'souter'

  • Wullie

    the word 'jink'

The Main Dialects of Scots

Scots is the collective name for Scottish dialects
known also as ‘Doric’, ‘Lallans’ and ‘Scotch’ or by
more local names such as ‘Buchan’,
‘Dundonian’, ‘Glesca’ or ‘Shetland’.

There are four main dialect regions
sub divided into 10 sub dialects;
Insular (Orkney & Shetland)
Northern (Caithness, North East,
East Angus & Kincardine) ,
Central (East Central North, East Central
South,West Central, & South Central) 
Southern (Southern aka Borders)

View larger map & read more»


When using English, we say 'Shetland dialect' or just 'the dialect'. 'Shetlandic' is an English name used when writing in English read more


The term Orcadian is sometimes used in English but the dialect is known as Orkney in Scots.Today's Orkney dialect, like that of Shetland, is pervaded with Norse words and turns of speech.  read more


The dialect is generally known as Caitnes ('Kate-niss') which is the local form of the county name in Scots.Although Caithness (Caitnes) faces towards Orkney, it forms part of another, read more

North East

The dialect of the North East forms part of the wider Northern Scots dialect, known as The Doric in recognition of its strong association with farming communities read more


East Angus and Kincardine

People here have traditionally called their dialect Scots or Scotch, but if you live in the northern part of the region you might say you speak Mearns read more

East Central South

The dialect is known as East Central South to distinguish it from the related dialect further north. Speakers call their dialect Scots or Scotch  read more


South Central

Scots has been spoken here since the Middle Ages. The dialect is known as South Central Scots, because it is closely related to the other dialects of Central area. 
read more

West Central

This dialect covers a large area known as West Central Scots, though speakers usually call their dialect Scots or Scotch which are the traditional names for the language. With read more

East Central North

The dialect of this region has long been called either Scots (the traditional name) or Scotch. In the city of Dundee, which is on the edge of this region...   read more

Borders Scots

Borders Scots (Southern Scots) is spoken through a region that covers the greater part of the Borders read more