Scots has been spoken in Scotland for many centuries and is spoken today throughout the east and south of the country - the historic Lowlands - and also in Orkney and Shetland which form the Northern Isles.
In this period Scotland was joined in a new political union with England which had profound consequences for language and cultural identity. Scots was now commonly branded provincial dialect though there was a revival in Scots poetry.
The Scottish ruling class adopted English speaking to compete with their counterparts in London and the modern division between their speech, and those of the population generally, was born. Poetry in Scots continued its revival under notable figures such as Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns. read more
The traditional pillars of Scottish culture began to buckle under the pressures of industrialisation. Increased population mobility led to changes in traditional speech and ideas about corrupt urban speech and pure rural (Doric) speech became prominent. But the vast majority in Scotland still spoke Scots. read more
Taking its lead from an increasingly centralised state, the education establishment in Scotland began to attack the Scots-speaking community and push for English-only medium education. At the same time there was a relatively flourishing state of journalism in Scots.
The 20th century witnessed the most sustained attack on Scots-speaking through a combination of English-only education and mass media. As Scots declined in some places and settings some even began to question what Scots was. Others began to push for a literary revival in the language.
As the 20th century gave way to a new century, some began to take a greater interest in speaking and writing Scots, and in language rights issues, often aided by internet technology. Publications in the Scots language were once again in a relatively flourishing state while education began to open its doors to learning about Scots. read more