An Introduction to Scotland's Languages

Gaelic and Scots are the indigenous languages of Scotland. They are protected under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, and Gaelic has official status as a ‘national language’ of Scotland under the Gaelic Language Act (2005). Both languages are part of our history and culture with rich oral traditions still very much alive in song, drama and storytelling. The literature of both languages dates back hundreds of years, and today talented writers are producing excellent new books for adults and children.


An Introduction to Scotland's Languages

View the Introduction to Scotland's Languages in pdf format.

Useful Links

The Association for Scottish Literary Studies

The Association for Scottish Literary Studies publishes a range of titles, including the Scottish Literary Review, ScotLit, Scottish Language, New Writing Scotland, and the Scotnotes study guides.


BBC ALBA is a Gaelic language digital TV channel and features news, sport, drama, documentary and entertainment, as well as children’s programmes.

Comhairle nan Leabhraichean / Gaelic Books Council

The Gaelic Books Council is the lead organisation with responsibility for supporting Scottish Gaelic authors and publishers, and for raising the profile and reach of Scottish Gaelic books in Scotland and internationally.

Fèisean nan Gàidheal

A major voice in promoting Gaelic arts and culture, Fèisean nan Gàidheal provides learning opportunities in Gaelic music, song, dance and drama to over 13,000 young people across Scotland. 

The Royal National Mòd

Celebrating Gaelic language and culture, the Royal National Mòd provides opportunities for people of all ages to perform and compete across a range of disciplines including Gaelic music and song, Highland dance, instrumental, drama, sport and literature.

Scots Hoose

Scots Hoose is a free online resource for children, young people and new Scots writers to inspire and support creativity in the Scots language. Here you can learn more about Scots language, improve writing skills, and discover poems, stories and songs.

Scots Radio

Scots Radio is a monthly podcast that speaks about the culture and news of people who use Scots in their working world. The site features interviews, videos, resources and news.

Scots Scriever

In partnership with the National Library of Scotland, Creative Scotland funds the Scots Scriever. This two-year residency has a focus on producing original creative work in Scots, and raising awareness, appreciation and use of Scots across the country.

Scottish Poetry Library

The Scottish Poetry Library is a unique national resource and advocate for the art of poetry, and Scottish poetry in particular.

Shetland ForWirds

Shetland ForWirds celebrates Shetland dialect in literary and oral material, and is also home to a Shetland Dictionary, a dialect map and teaching resources.

Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig

Stòrlann Nàiseanta na Gàidhlig coordinates the production and distribution of Gaelic educational resources throughout Scotland. Through their programme, resources are distributed free of charge to nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools and lifelong learning groups.

Theatre Gu Leòr

A contemporary Gaelic theatre company is committed to producing high quality Gaelic theatre through the use of multi-media and digital technologies.


TRACS represents the traditional arts in Scotland and is a collaboration between three forums: Music, Storytelling and Dance.