Scot To Be Fun: Scottish Accent

The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Scotland is that you might not understand a word the Scots say. Don’t worry; it’s not your proficiency in English but their accent! So what do you have to know to understand them, and what would you have to do to blend in and speak like […]

The first thing you’ll notice when you arrive in Scotland is that you might not understand a word the Scots say. Don’t worry; it’s not your proficiency in English but their accent! So what do you have to know to understand them, and what would you have to do to blend in and speak like a real Scot?

As in all countries, the accent and dialect changes from area to area. In Scotland, the Glasgow accent is completely different from what you hear in Edinburgh, and in the Highlands or Dundee or the Borders it’s different again.

But as a general rule – and just to get you started – firstly roll the r’s at the tip of the tongue (try with bright red). Generally, there is no distinction between long vowels (as in pool) and short vowels (as in pull) in Scots English (they are all pronounced short), and the vowels in bath and laugh are the same as in trap and man. Another peculiar thing that you’ll notice are vowels that in other accents combine two vowels in the same syllable. Mostly, they glide from the written vowel to a “u” (as in rope and house) or to “i” (e.g. the letter or pronoun I). In Scots, they don’t. You will hear them pronounced as rop and hoose and ah. One of the most prominent features of Scots, which it shares with some other English accents, is the glottal stop. Intervocalic t is often not pronounced. Thus Scottish and water turn into Sco’ish and wa’er. Even t in final position is lost (as in bright and spot).

Scots also use words that are completely different in other accents, for example wee for little (a wee beer), nae for not in negative constructions (have nae) and ken for know (ah dinnae ken = I don’t know). dinnae fash yersel’ meens don’t bother yourself, they say lads and lassies for boys and girls, and since the weather in Scotland is a subject on its own, dreich is the best way to describe it.

If you bear in mind all of these sound effects, and say no’ for not and aye for yes, you will sound like a real Scot!
Team Curso/CTR Edinburgh, AH

Seit 2007 absolvieren junge Leute mit hohem Interesse an journalistischem Schreiben und der Verbesserung der Fremdsprachen- und Kulturkenntnisse die Curso/CTR Praktikumsprogramme Reisejournalismus in Barcelona, Berlin, Edinburgh, Lyon sowie Madrid.

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