Languages of Scotland - Norman French, Ancient Greek and Latin

Norman French, Ancient Greek and Latin

Latin is also used to a limited degree in certain official mottos, for example Nemo Me Impune Lacessit, legal terminology (Ultimus haeres and condictio causa data causa non secuta), and various ceremonial contexts. Latin abbreviations can also be seen on British coins and in mottos etc. The use of Latin has declined greatly in recent years. At one time, Latin and Ancient Greek were commonly taught in Scottish schools (and were required for entrance to the ancient universities until 1919, for Greek, and the 1960s, for Latin), and Scottish Highers are still available in both subjects. Latin's presence is almost two thousand years old in Scotland, but it has rarely been a community language.

Norman French was historically used in Scotland, and appears in some mottos as well. Some works of medieval literature from Scotland were composed in this language. After the twelfth-century reign of King David I and the so-called "Davidian Revolution", the Scottish monarchs are better described as Scoto-Norman than Gaelic, preferring French culture to native Scottish culture. A consequence was the spread of French institutions and social values including Canon law. The first towns, called burghs, appeared in the same era, and as they spread, so did the Middle English language. These developments were offset by the acquisition of the Norse-Gaelic west, and the Gaelicisation of many of the noble families of French and Anglo-French origin and national cohesion was fostered with the creation of various unique religious and cultural practices. By the end of the period, Scotland experienced a "Gaelic revival" which created an integrated Scottish national identity.

The use of Ancient Greek is almost entirely gone in Scotland, but one example would be the motto of St Andrews University, "ΑΙΕΝ ΑΡΙΣΤΕΥΕΙΝ" (AIEN ARISTEUEIN) (English: 'Ever to Excel' or 'Ever To Be The Best')

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