Of the sources from which Standard English renews its energies we may first take under consideration the popular dialects. It should be held in mind that Standard English was itself in its origin but one of many dialects of the Middle English period. When, in the fourteenth century, the East Midland dialect emerged as the standard form for literary English, it overshadowed the rival dialects, but by no means smothered them out of existence. Among the uneducated folk, who formed a majority of the population, the influence of the literary standard was comparatively little felt, and the dialectal modes of speech native to various parts of the country have persisted to our day in the illiterate speech of the country folk. In fact, a dialect map of Great Britain is more complex in its divisions to-day than it would have been five centuries ago. In addition to the broad lines which in the fourteenth century marked the boundaries between the dialects of the North, the Midland, and the South, there have come into existence minor boundary lines marking a number of dialect districts in the British Isles almost as numerous as the county divisions, though not coinciding entirely with these. In the classification of dialects by Skeat there are distinguished nine dialect groups in Scotland, three in Ireland, and thirty in England and Wales.
The wealth of words in the different local dialects of Scotland has been made too familiar by such writers as Burns and Scott, to need illustration here. The local