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Older Scots: A Linguistic Reader


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This book enables both students and more advanced scholars to develop a comprehensive understanding of Older Scots, the form of Scots which survives in records up to around 1700. It provides the means of understanding the language's essential characteristics, and enables readers to engage with the fascinating textual and linguistic problems which it presents. The volume contains an extensive set of annotated texts from the period, inviting closer engagement with the detail of the language, which are preceded by a comprehensive introduction to and discussion of the subject; it also looks at the linguistic detail (in the broadest sense) of the reception and afterlife of medieval and early modern Scottish texts. Those interested in literary form in Older Scottish literature will find it a "kit" for stylistic analysis; book historians will appreciate the detailed studies of processes of production and reception, and be reminded of the importance of integrating disciplines such as textual criticism, codicology, paleography and philology; and for linguists, there is access to an unrivalled body of up-to-date textual information, previously hard to find in a single place.

Jeremy J. Smith is Professor of English Philology, University of Glasgow.


Makes a vital contribution to Older Scots studies. [It] will be much appreciated by scholars and students alike.... The combination of high calibre scholarship, carefully selected texts, and a lucid, engaging written style, ensures that Smith's Linguistic Reader makes the Older Scots language come alive for students and researchers alike. INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF SCOTTISH STUDIES

An important tool and reference work for students and teachers who wish to study and teach this corpus. it is lucid, intelligent, and authoritative. MEDIEVAL REVIEW

A great step forward in the sheer availability of representative texts from the Older Scots period. [...] It will become the standard textbook for these matters in the foreseeable future, not only for students but also academics. JOURNAL OF IRISH & SCOTTISH STUDIES

[W]elcomed for presenting a linguistically and stylistically wide range of Older Scots texts in accessible form [...] this book will be welcomed by all teachers and researchers in the field. SCOTTISH LANGUAGE


First Published: 19 Apr 2012
13 Digit ISBN: 9781897976340
Pages: 266
Size: 23.4 x 15.6
Binding: Paperback
Imprint: Scottish Text Society

Details updated on 05 Jan 2016


  • 1  Preface
  • 2  About Older Scots
  • 3  Transmission
  • 4  Grammar and Lexicon
  • 5  Style in Older Scottish Texts
  • 6  List of Texts
  • 7  Editorial Principles
  • 8  Texts 1: Documents
  • 9  Texts 2: Letters
  • 10  Texts 3: On language and literature
  • 11  Texts 4: Poetry
  • 12  Texts 5: Prose
  • 13  Texts 6: Bible translation
  • 14  Appendix: Older Scots: the first hundred words
  • 15  Bibliography and references

Older Scots: A Linguistic Reader

Older Scots: A Linguistic Reader

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