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Cultural Contacts

Norse, as already noted, had a strong influence on Scots from the earliest times; it had an even greater influence in Shetland, Orkney and part of Caithness, where Norn, a language variety deriving from Scandinavian, was spoken up to the 18th century.

Other European influences came from Dutch through strong trading links, from which came mutchkin and pinkie; Latin, which was more widely used than in England, gave us legal terms such as homologate (ratify) and sederunt. French influence came from the Anglo-Norman aristocracy, from Central French arriving via English, and also from direct contact between Scotland and France during the period of The Auld Alliance. This was a series of treaties and diplomatic alliances between 1295 and 1560. Examples of French words in Scots are fash, ashet, leal and jalouse.

Gaelic also had a profound effect on Scots vocabulary and syntax (examples include ben, glen, clan, crannachan).