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The People of Scotland


Scotland is a country and once independent Kingdom that covers 31,510 square miles (78,772 square kilometres, about half the size of England. The capital town is Edinburgh. The majority of the population is based around the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee. The population of Scotland is over 5,000,000 people. Its currency is the pound sterling although the Bank of Scotland issues its own notes and coinage.


Almost all Scots speak English, but many speak various Scots dialects, which differ markedly from English and some speak Gaelic (pronounced Gallic).


About 2% of the population use Scots Gaelic as their language of every-day use, mainly in the northern and western regions of the country. Most Gaelic speakers also speak fluent English.

The Gaelic Language is spoken by around 86,000 individuals primarily in the North of Scotland and in the Western Isles (e.g.. Skye, Lewis, Harris). The vast majority of Gaelic speakers are bilingual Gaelic/English. Today there are very few people who do not speak English.

Gaelic (or Scottish Gaelic as it is sometimes known outside Scotland) has similarities to the other Celtic languages, and is particularly close to Irish (or Irish Gaelic) to the extent that a mutual understanding is possible.


At the time of James VI's accession to the English throne, the Scottish Court and Parliament spoke Scots, also known as Lallans.

Scots developed from the Germanic language in the Northumbrian kingdom of Bernicia, which conquered the kingdom of Gododdin and renamed its capital of Dunedin to Edinburgh, in the 6th century.

The Scots language is a Germanic language related to English. It is not a dialect but a language in it\'s own right. It is not Celtic, but has been influenced by Gaelic.

The Scots language has a wide range of dialects. In Shetland and Orkney, there is strong Norse influence.

Mainland Scotland has three main dialect divisions: Northern, Central and Southern.

Central is further divided into East Central (north and south of the Forth), West Central (Glasgow and surrounding area) and South-West (mainly Dumfries and Galloway).

Southern covers most of the Borders area. Scots is also spoken in Northern Ireland, the result of many crossings of the waters by populations over the centuries, in particular from the settlements of the early seventeenth century.

As well as being the everyday language of an estimated 1.5 million people in Scotland, Scots is "the classical language of Scotland", and many of the historical epics written in Scots, such as The Bruce, Wallace, The Complaynt of Scotland, etc