Like I said in the title, I am aware that Scots is a sister language of Modern English. I am also aware that Frisian diverged from west Germanic, making it and it's modern variants sister languages, but is there a language, dead or alive, that diverged after Latin and the romantic languages influenced English(middle English)?

Edit: Made the question clearer.

Edit: There's some confusion with the definition of dialect vs language. I would assume the definition in this case would be a language that diverged from English between the early late English period to the late middle English period.

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    There's no authoritative difference between dialect and language, and it's something linguists will debate endlessly over particular cases, but there are no obvious candidates other than Scots that aren't extinct (are you accepting extinct languages?). It's also not very clear exactly when Scots diverged, whether it was late Old English or early Middle English. And literary 16th century Scots was very different from current Scots due to the English influence. This is not something for a short answer but Wikipedia has a lot of info e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Frisian_language
    – Stuart F
    Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 7:58
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    Scots (Lallans) is at the extreme end of the English dialect continuum, and it's not unreasonable to consider it a separate language. As John McWhorter puts it: "Dialects are all there is. Language is a political term". Commented Sep 13, 2021 at 16:32
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    Refer to the taxonomy of Anglic languages, all languages that have been used on the British Isles and may be considered a kind of English. It presents a view that Scots is not as much a language separate from English, but more so a member of a dialect continuum. Scots may never have diverged from the other dialects in a complete sense, as you suggest, but rather evolved alongside them, changing in many of the same ways and from the same pressures.
    – brainchild
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 1:15
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    For more info see Why Frisian
    – Mitch
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 1:22
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    Frisian is the closest extant language to English that may not reasonably be considered a dialect or variation of English. The divergence occurred during the Germanic invasion of Britain. English appears to be roughly a derivative of various Germanic dialects, prominently Saxon ones, heavily modified by local innovations, and important events such as the Norman Invasion, the Great Vowel Shift, and others.
    – brainchild
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 6:44

1 Answer 1


According to this chart, the sister language to English is Frisian...


Conclusion: unless you precisely define what the term "sister language" means, there is no way to answer.

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    The clarification given is that a "sister language" is to be understood as a language descended from Middle English but not included in Modern English. (Other definitions of the same term are more expansive.)
    – brainchild
    Commented Sep 14, 2021 at 0:58

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