A Lecture About the History of the Scots Language … in Scots: How Much Can You Comprehend?

Dau­vit Hors­broch has served as the Lan­guage and Infor­ma­tion Offi­cer of the Scots Lan­guage Cen­tre since 2007, and has spent con­sid­er­able time liv­ing in North East Scot­land. Above, watch him give a 19-minute lec­ture on the his­to­ry of the Scots lan­guage … in Scots. For the first 20 sec­onds, you might think, no sweat, I can hang with it. Then sud­den­ly your com­pre­hen­sions fades out, only to return moments lat­er, before dis­ap­pear­ing again. And on it goes.

As you lis­ten, you can enter­tain the long-sim­mer­ing debate: Is Scots a dis­tant dialect of Eng­lish? Or is it its own dis­tinct Ger­man­ic lan­guage? Writes Slate: “Both mod­ern Eng­lish and Scots descend­ed from Old Eng­lish in the 1100s, and devel­oped sep­a­rate­ly for hun­dreds of years. When Scot­land and Eng­land joined to form the Unit­ed King­dom of Great Britain in 1707, Scots was wide­ly regard­ed as its own lan­guage, dis­tinct from Eng­lish. It is still one of Scot­land’s three offi­cial lan­guages (the oth­er two are Eng­lish and Scot­tish Gael­ic), but because it is most­ly mutu­al­ly intel­li­gi­ble with Eng­lish, it’s some­times regard­ed as a dialect of Eng­lish or slang.” If you’d like to see Scots writ­ten, as opposed to just spo­ken, spend time over at the Wikipedia Scots page.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

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Hear What Shake­speare Sound­ed Like in the Orig­i­nal Pro­nun­ci­a­tion

Learn 48 Lan­guages Online for Free: Span­ish, Chi­nese, Eng­lish & More

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