Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots (HCOS)

The Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots was compiled as a supplement to the diachronic part of the Helsinki Corpus of English Texts. The Scottish texts were selected according to the same principles of sociohistorical variation analysis as the main corpus, and the computer format, parameter coding and editorial and typographical conventions are also the same. The corpus provides material for studying the last stages of the differentiation of the northern English dialect, the rise of a distinctive Scottish variety of English and the anglicization process of Scots.

Project leader: Anneli Meurman-Solin, University of Helsinki
Time of compilation: 1985–1993
Size: c. 834,200 words
Language: Scottish English
Number of texts/samples: 71 prose texts/samples and a collection of private and official letters
Period: 1450–1700
Released: 1995
Funding: The University of Helsinki; The Academy of Finland

Reference lines and copyright

The Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots (1995). Department of Modern Languages, University of Helsinki. Compiled by Anneli Meurman-Solin.

Reference works

Meurman-Solin, Anneli. 1993. Variation and change in early Scottish prose. Studies based on the Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots (Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae, Diss. Humanarum Litterarum, 65). Helsinki.

Meurman-Solin, Anneli. 1994. The Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots. In Merja Kytö. Matti Rissanen & Susan Wright (eds.), Corpora Across the Centuries. Proceedings of the First International Colloquium on English Diachronic Corpora, 53-63. Amsterdam & Atlanta, GA: Rodopi.

Meurman-Solin, Anneli. 1995. A New Tool: The Helsinki Corpus of Older Scots (1450-1700). ICAME Journal, Vol. 19: 49-62.

For coding conventions, see

Kytö, Merja (comp.), Manual to the Diachronic Part of The Helsinki Corpus of English Texts: Coding Conventions and Lists of Source Texts (3rd ed. 1996).

For a list of source texts, see

A complete bibliography of sources


Anneli Meurman-Solin


Professor A.J. Aitken (University of Edinburgh)

Technical expert

Merja Kytö

Student assistants

Kirsi Heikkonen, Arja Nurmi, Minna Palander, among others



Associated projects

The Helsinki Corpus of English Texts

The Corpus of Scottish Correspondence