The first government-funded research on public attitudes to the Scots language shows that 85 per cent of respondents say they speak Scots - but only 56 per cent think there are benefits in teaching it in schools.
Just over two-thirds of those who took part (67 per cent) consider it important that Scots continues to be used in Scotland; they regard the language as integral to Scotland's culture, heritage and local identities.
The report said: "Whilst there is particularly widespread agreement that learning Scots can contribute to a sense of national cultural identity (73 per cent of the sample agree with this view), the proportion agreeing that learning Scots has educational benefits for schoolchildren is much lower, at 56 per cent. Just over half are in support of teaching Scots in schools (55 per cent), 29 per cent are opposed, and 14 per cent are unsure."
When asked if children in Scotland should be encouraged to speak Scots, 64 per cent agree, with one-third in favour. There is a fairly large minority against (31 per cent).
The findings are expected to inform the work of the Scots Language Working Group, which will make recommendations to ministers in the summer on how to raise awareness and promote the use of Scots in a variety of settings, including schools.