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Scots language sources point out that the Scots language developed from Old English, which is a Germanic language. It has been influenced over the centuries by a number of languages such as Gaelic, Old Scandinavian, French and Latin. It may be referred to as Scotch, Lallans, Doric and local dialects include Shetland, Buchan, Dundonian and Glaswegian.

Old English came to Scotland in the seventh century.  It was during the Wars of Independence in the 13th and 14th centuries that Scots and English began to diverge and Scots eventually became a separate language.   Although not a clear divide, Scots was generally spoken in the Lowlands with Gaelic being the dominant language of the Highlands.

Following the Act of Union in 1707, the use of English was encouraged and it became the dominant language, used in writing and by the wealthier classes in society.  However, versions of Scots remained in common use, particularly in the Lowlands.