A campaign by an author in Moray to have the Scots language included on the 2011 census may succeed.
The draft questionnaire, which has to be approved by the Scottish Parliament, includes the additional question about competency in the Scots language. Until now, people have been asked only whether they can read and write in English and Gaelic.
Margaret Cruickshank, from Keith, has been campaigning for the last nine years for the question to include competency in Scots - but she wants the census question to be more specific and ask householders "do you speak a Scots dialect", because she believes many people do not know what the Scots language is.
"My generation were not aware that it was a language in its own right. We were educated to believe that it was a corruption of English," she said. "People need to understand what they are being asked and that wording makes it clearer."
There are an estimated 1.5 million active Scots speakers with many more using the language passively, understanding Scots and using a number of Scots words in their daily discourse. It is increasingly becoming part of classroom learning, particularly in primary.