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Speaking "Scots"

Updated on November 27, 2017

Professor Caledonian & Tam

Introduction

Are you planning on moving to, visiting, or passing through Scotland? Or are you just curious about the Scottish dialect? If so, to help you on your journey I have produced twelve lessons (plus a special Friends’ Requests edition) to give you a basic understanding of some of the different pronunciation and meaning of Scottish slang.

You will discover in these lessons the different spelling of the same word between English and Scottish slang. It should be known that the spelling of slang words are used in the spoken language only and not written that way except to verbalise in a sentence.

The format for each lesson is the same. Each one covers a particular subject and will start with some words and phrases in English and then Scottish slang. Then we will put some of these words and phrases into sentences so that you can see how they are used in everyday life.

You will learn straightaway from the concise responses in the Speaking “Scots” lessons that compact statements are preferred to babbling on incessantly. An insight well worth remembering!

It is also vital to remember that correct pronunciation is the key to blending in with others who are Speaking “Scots”. Mispronunciation is the key to getting a pummelling.

I do hope you enjoy the lessons and start practicing the word pronunciations. You could even begin making up your own sentences or phrases. If you are, please let us know. We would love to hear from you.

You can either view the videos, then the written lessons, or vice-versa. Whichever way you personally find easiest.

Whichever way you choose I hope you enjoy learning to be a Speaking “Scot”.

Contents

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 1) An Introduction

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 2) Words in the 1st Person Singular

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 3) Insults and Fighting Talk

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 4) Hygiene, Cleanliness and Health

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 5) Questions, Enquires and Requests

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 6) Feelings or Personal Conditions

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 7)

Establishments Vending Alcoholic Beverages

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 8) Domestic and Residential Life

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 9) Negative, Positive and Indecision

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 10) Random favourites of mine

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 11) Criminal Activity and some Rubbish

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 12) Little Words with Big Meanings

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 12A) Friends’ Requests

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 1) AN INTRODUCTION

WORDS AND PHRASES

ABOUT is pronounced ABOOT

ALL is AW

AND is AN’

DO is DAE

FOR is FIR

FROM is FAE

HEAD is HEID

HOME is HAME

HOUSE is HOOSE

I AM is AM

NO is NAE (or NAW)

NOT is NO

OF with one F is OAF

OFF with two FFs is AFF

OLD is AULD

ON is OAN

ONE is WAN

OUR is OOR

OUT is OOT

OVER is OWER

SMALL (or LITTLE) is WEE

THE is RA’

TO is TAE

YES is AYE

RANDOM SENTENCES

So for the very first sentence, in reply to a question;

“No chance of that happening Thomas”

NAE CHANCE TAM

NAE can also be used in a positive way;

“It is no trouble to do that”

IT’S NAE BOTHER

For the word NO we can also use the word NAW. Which is used when a more firm and final negative response is required!

“No, I guarantee it will never happen in my life time”

NAW, IT AIN’T HAPPENING, EVER

“All for one and one for all”

AW FIR WAN AND WAN FIR AW

“Would you like to accompany me over to old Tam’s house?”

FANCY GOIN’ TA AULD TAM’S HOOSE?

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 2) WORDS IN THE 1ST PERSON SINGULAR

WORDS AND PHRASES

AREN’T I? is pronounced AMEN’T AH?

DID I? is DID AH?

I AM is AH UM (or AH AM)

I AM NOT is AM NO (or AH AM NAE or AMURNY)

I’M ALL RIGHT is AM AWRITE

I DON’T KNOW is AH DINNAE KEN (or I DUNNO)

I KNOW is ANNO (or AH KEN)

I WAS NOT is AH WISNAE

NO I AM NOT is NAW AH UMNAE

RANDOM SENTENCES

“I am rather hungry at the moment”

AH UM (or AH AM) STARVING

“I am not returning to that place ever again”

AM NO (or AH AM NAE or AMURNY) GOING BACK THERE, EVER

“I was not present at that location”

AH WISNAE THERE

“I’m a good friend, aren’t I?”

AM A GOOD PAL AMEN’T AH?

“I know the meaning of life”

ANNO (or AH KEN) EVERYTHING

“I don’t know anything about that”

AH DINNAE KEN (or I DUNNO) HEEHAW

“No I am not best pleased about that situation”

NAW AH UMNAE HAPPY ABOOT THAT

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 3) INSULTS AND FIGHTING TALK

This time we are looking at; insults and fighting talk. Nobody does insults or gauntlet throwing better than the Scots.

WORDS AND PHRASES

TELLING SOMEONE TO GET LOST is AWAY AN’ BILE YER HEID

WHEN YOU DON’T BELIEVE SOMETHING YOU ARE TOLD in a sarcastic voice you respond AYE RIGHT!

AN IDIOT OR UNHINGED PERSON is A BAMPOT (or HEID-THE-BAW)

SOMEONE ACTING LIKE AN IDIOT AND ANNOYING EVERYONE is A BAWBAG (or A BAWHEID)

A CHALLENGE TO A FIGHT this is well worth being aware of as it is quite a short invitation; MON THEN

THE FIGHT ITSELF is A RAMMY

YOU'RE NOT BEING TRUTHFUL is YER AT IT

A SYMPATHETIC TERM FOR A LOVABLE IDIOT is NUMPTY

RANDOM SENTENCES

“I require that in this instance you get lost”

AWAY AN’ BILE YER HEID

“That chap over there seems to be an idiot and acting like an unhinged person”

THAT’S A BAMPOT OWER THERE STAY AWAY FAE HIM

“Why are you acting like an idiot and annoying everyone?”

YOU’RE A BAWBAG PACK IT IN

“Based on your attitude towards me I challenge you to a fight”

MON THEN (as stated earlier this is a short request but with far reaching consequences)

“I have to disagree as I consider you are not being truthful”

YER AT IT

Remember that concise responses in compact statements are preferred to babbling on incessantly.

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 4) HYGIENE, CLEANLINESS AND HEALTH

WORDS AND PHRASES

DIRTY (as in a person) is CLATTY

VERY DIRTY is MAUCHIT (or MANKY)

HORRIBLE, (DIRTY or SMELLING) is MINGIN’

SMELLY (or DIRTY) can also be BOGGIN’

AN INJURED SECTION OF THE BODY (usually a limb)is GAMMIE

A SORE PART OF THE BODY is said to be GOWPIN

A VERY SORE PART OF THE BODY is LOUPIN

SOMEONE UNWELL, LACKING NATURAL COLOUR OR EXPOSURE TO SUNSHINE is said to be PEELY WALLY

A DAY OR A PERSON THAT IS VERY WARM (or BOILING) is said to be SWELTERING (This word is very rarely used here in Scotland so it is unlikely you will hear it used)

RANDOM SENTENCES

“See that young man over there he is emitting a rather unpleasant odour”

SEE HIM OWER THERE HE’S MINGIN’

“This room of yours is rather untidy”

YOUR ROOM IS MANKY

“That chap has a rather dirty and smelly attire on”

SEE HIM, HIS CLAES ARE BOGGIN’

“I’ve sustained a small painful injury to my leg”

AH’VE GOT A GAMMIE LEG AND IT’S GOWPIN

“You look rather unwell and pale today”

YOU’RE AWFY PEELY WALLY LOOKIN’ THE DAY

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 5) QUESTIONS, ENQUIRES AND REQUESTS

WORDS AND PHRASES

ALL THE BEST is spoken as AW RA’ BEST

CAN NOT is CANNAE

GIVE IT TO ME is GIES

GOING TO NOT DO THAT, PLEASE is GONNAE NO DAE THAT

HOW ARE YOU DOING? is HOU'S IT GAUN?

ISN'T IT? is INT IT (or INT IT NO?)

LET'S GO or PLEASE TALK SENSE is CUMMOAN

STOP TALKING or BE QUIET is HAUD YER WHEESHT (or in some senarios only WHEESHT is required to obtain silence)

WHAT ARE YOU UP TO? is YUPTAE

WHY NOT? is HOW NO'?

RANDOM SENTENCES

“All the best to you”

AW RA’ BEST

“Give that item of clothing to me”

GIES IT

“Going to not do that, please, it’s annoying”

GONNAE NO DAE THAT

“And how are you doing today?”

HOU'S IT GAUN?

“Could you please talk sense, I cannot understand your point”

CUMMOAN

“I would like you to stop talking and keep quiet”

HAUD YER WHEESHT

“What are you up to today?

YUPTAE

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 6) FEELINGS OR PERSONAL CONDITIONS

WORDS AND PHRASES

IF YOU ARE ANGRY (or IN A BAD MOOD) then you are CRABBIT

A BIG SOFTIE is a SOOK

FEELING DISGUSTED (or BORED) then you are SCUNNERED

IF YOU ARE DRUNK then you are SMEEKIT (or STEAMIN’)

BEING SLY (or UNTRUSTWORTHY) you are being SLEEKIT

SOAKING WET (or DRENCHED) is DROOKIT

TO BE SCARED is to be FEART

TO CRY is to GREET

BEING VERY ANGRY you are BEELIN’

BEING VERY DRUNK one would be seen as BEING BLOOTERED

IF YOU ARE VERY VERY DRUNK then YER OOT YER FACE

RANDOM SENTENCES

“I can’t believe how angry he is today. Normally he’s such a big softie”

AMAZED AT HOW CRABBIT HE IS THE DAY. NORMALLY HE’S SUCH A BIG SOOK.

“One is feeling so bored today”

AH’M REALLY SCUNNERED THE DAY

“I think he is rather scared and he has now started to cry”

SEE HIM, HE’S A BIG FEARTY. NOO HE’S GREETING AS WELL.

“He’s just so sly and totally untrustworthy”

AYE HE’S A SLEEKIT WAN THAT WAN

“I got caught in a rather heavy rain shower and now I’m soaking wet”

AH’M DROOKIT

“That young man over there appears to be very drunk”

SEE HIM HE’S BLOOTERED

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 7) ESTABLISHMENTS VENDING ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

WORDS AND PHRASES

A MEASURE OF WHISKY is a HAUF

SERIOUS INSULT being called a PIE

DRINK is BEVY

FULL is HOACHIN’

A GAMING MACHINE is a PUGGY

A LUCKY PERSON, USUALLY UNFAIRLY SO is someone who is JAMMY

A SILLY, FOOLISH PERSON (but said in an affectionate sentimental way) is A DAFTY

TO TALK NONSENSE (or GIBBERISH) is to HAVER

SOMEWHERE THAT IS VERY BUSY is HEAVIN’

TO GET A TAKE AWAY OF ALCOHOLIC DRINK (or FOOD) is a KERRY OOT

WATER is WA’TER

RANDOM SENTENCES

“Barman could I have a whisky please?”

A HAUF MATE

“This establishment is rather busy”

THIS PLACE IS HOACHIN’ (or HEAVIN’)

“He’s been very lucky on that gaming machine”

SEE HIM OAN THE PUGGY HE’S BEEN REALLY JAMMY

“Sorry you are not making any sense”

SEE YOU, YOU’RE HAVERING

“I’m going to get some wine and beer from the off licence”

AM AWAY TO GIT A KERRY OOT

“Could I have some water please?”

GIES SOME WA’TER... QUICK (please be aware that this is only ever requested in a Scottish bar if there is a fire)

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 8) DOMESTIC AND RESIDENTIAL LIFE

WORDS AND PHRASES

A DOG is A DUG

A SANDWICH is A PIECE

ANY HOUSING ESTATE is known as A SCHEME

CLOTHES are CLAES

DUST is STOOR

ELECTRICITY is LECKY

FOOTBALL is FITBA

GLASGOW is GLESGAE

THE JOB CENTRE is THE BROO

MOVE HOUSE is to FLIT

POTATOES are TATTIES

REFERRING to SOMEBODY'S HOUSE is THEIR BIT

SHOPPING is the MESSAGES

SOMEONE FROM GLASGOW is a WEEGIE

STAY (or LIVE) is to BIDE

WINDOW is a WINDAE

RANDOM SENTENCES

“When you go for your interview at the Job Centre remember to wear some respectable clothing”

IF YIR GOING TO THE BROO PUT OAN SOME CLAES THAT URNAE COVERED IN STOOR, LIKE USUAL

>> “I’m going for some shopping would one like anything?”

AM AWAY FIR THE MESSAGES DAE YOU WA’NT ANYTHING?

>> “Yes, can you get me a nice sandwich for my lunch break, some potatoes and food for the dog please. Oh and can you pay the electric bill as well”

AYE, GET ME SOME PIECES FUR MA WORK, SOME TATTIES AND DUG FOOD. YOU MIGHT AS WELL PAY THE LECKY WHILE YIR OOT.

>> “Would you like to come with me to Thomas’s house?

WANNA GO TAE TAM’S BIT?

>> “Where does Thomas stay?”

WHERE DOES TAM BIDE?

>> “He has recently moved house and is now living in Glasgow although he says he is definitely not a Glaswegian”

HE’S FLITED TAE GLESGAE ‘THOUGH HE DISNAE LIKE BEING CALLED A WEEGIE

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 9) NEGATIVE, POSITIVE AND INDECISION

WORDS AND PHRASES

DON'T is DINNAE

IS NOT is ISNAE

MORE is MAIR

MOST is MAIST

MAYBE (or PERHAPS) is MIBAY

NOTHING (or EMPTY) is HEEHAW

REMEMBER? is MIND?

UNDERSTAND? is UN’ERSTAUN?

WANT TO? is WANTAE?

WHAT? is WHIT?

WE ARE is WUR

RANDOM SENTENCES

Some short questions to start with….

“Remember when we went to the Isle of Skye?”

DAE YOU MIND GOIN’ TO SKYE?

“Would you want to go out for a meal tonight?”

WANTAE EAT OOT THE ‘NIGHT?

“What are you saying?”

WHIT’S THAT?

“Please don’t ask again. Do you not understand that I have nothing at the moment to give you as we have no ready cash available?”

DINNAE ASK AGAIN. AH’VE GOT HEEHAW, AN YOU NO WUR SKINT. UN’ERSTAUN?

“Perhaps it’s not the most enjoyable meal I have ever eaten, but it is reasonably priced”

MIBAY IT ISNAE THE MAIST TASTY GRUB BUT IT’S CHEAP

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 10) RANDOM FAVOURITES OF MINE

This time we are looking at; random favourites of mine, and hopefully yours, once you have read them.

WORDS AND PHRASES

SPIN is to BIRL

TO MESS ABOUT WITH SOMETHING is to FOOTER

A QUICK AND SHORT WAY OF GETTING SOMEONES ATTENTION is HAW

HOLD (or STOP) is HAUD

WOBBLY is SHOOGLY

TO STAND is to STAUN

TO BORROW MONEY FROM SOMEONE is to TAP

REFERENCE TO A TOP SUCH AS A FOOTBALL SHIRT is A TAP

TOPS OFF DUE TO THE SUN MAKING A RARE APPEARANCE is the rarely heard TAPS AFF

AN ARTICLE (or WHEN YOU REFER TO SOMEONES NAME YOU HAVE FORGOTTEN) is THINGMAE

SMALL (or TINY) is TOATY

TOMORROW MORNING is THE MORRAS MORN

RANDOM SENTENCES

“Will you stop messing about with that thing? What ever it is, and please stand still”

HAW HAUD ON. STOP FOOTERING ABOOT WAE THAT THINGMAE AND STAUN STILL

“It’s just a tiny bit wobbly but it will need repaired tomorrow morning at the latest”

THAT’S A TOATY BIT SHOOGLY IT’LL NEED FIXED THE MORRAS MORN

Now I will relate to you a true story…

During a court case the defendant said that he went round to Tam’s house for a “TAP”. The judge asked why he went to someone’s house for a faucet.

The defence lawyer then said light heartedly that the reference to a TAP was not in this case a faucet but translates to “borrow money”.

The defendant interrupted and said “It wisnae that kind of TAP”. Puzzled looks all round the court. Then the judge asked “what kind of TAP was it then?” The defendant replied “A went roon’ tae Tam’s to borrow a fitbaw TAP to wear to the match”

I have mentioned this tale to demonstrate to you how the same slang word can have a number of different meanings. Something you should remain very aware of.

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 11) CRIMINAL ACTIVITY AND SOME RUBBISH

WORDS AND PHRASES

A GRASS OR TELL-TALE is a CLYPE

BEATING SOMEONE UP is A DOIN’

BREAK OR DISFIGURE is to PAN

KNOCK OVER (or a LANDFILL SITE) is a COWP

RUBBISH PILE (or A TIP) is a MIDDEN

THE POLICE are the POLIS

TO BE ARRESTED BY THE POLICE is to be LIFTED

TO BE DRUNK (or to VANDALISE) is TANNED

TO BEAT UP is TO BATTER

TO SMASH WINDOWS is to TAN

RANDOM SENTENCES

“That chap over there is well known for informing on people to the police”

SEE HIM OWER THERE HE’S A POLIS CLYPE

“I think that your house could do with a little light cleaning”

YOUR BIT IS A COWP

“You have accumulated a rather large pile of rubbish in your front garden”

YER GERDAN’S A MIDDEN

“You know that you better leave quickly or you are going to be arrested by the police for smashing all those windows”

WATCH OR YUR GONNA BE LIFTED BY THE POLIS FOR TANNING IN THEY WINDAES, YOU BETTER VANISH MAN

“I would caution that if that chap does not quieten done then he will be on the receiving end of a battering”

IF HE DISNAE SHUT UP HE’S GETTING A DOIN’

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 12) LITTLE WORDS WITH BIG MEANINGS

Sadly the last of twelve easy learning guides to Speaking “Scots”.

WORDS AND PHRASES

AWFULLY is AWFY (or AFFY)

COLD is CAULD

DEAD is DEID

DOWN is DOON

GOING (or GO ON) is GAUN

GOOD is GID

GOT is GOAT

HAND is HAUN

HEAD is NAPPER

PUTTING is PITTIN’

TO SLEEP (or to NAP) is to HAVE A KIP

TO SMELL BAD is to REEK

RANDOM SENTENCES

“That’s a rather good looking hat that he has got on his head”

SEE HIM HE’S GOAT AN AWFY GID LOOKING HATON HIS NAPPER

“Those flowers give off an awfully powerful aroma”

THEY FLUERS REEK SOMETHING AWFY

“He’s a rather dirty unhygienic person”

SEE HIM HE’S CLATTY

“Does one need a hand putting together that self assembly wardrobe?”

NEED A HAUN PITTIN’ THAT AW THE ‘GETHER?”

“His body temperature is rather low do you consider that he may be dead”

HE’S AWFY CAULD DO YOU THINK HE’S DEID?

“Do you wish to go for an afternoon nap, mum?”

ARE YOU GAUN FIR A KIP MA?

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

SPEAKING “SCOTS” (Lesson 12A) Friends’ Requests

A wee special friends’ requests episode in addition to the previous twelve learning guides to Speaking “Scots”.

WORDS AND PHRASES

A BAD ONE is A BADYIN

A HUNDRED is HUNNERS (you will be more likely to find this used as an exaggeration for any number over 15)

A TURNIP is A TUMSHIE

HAVE NOT is HUVNAE

IN (as in being at home or being in a room in the house) is BEN

NICE (or GREAT) is BRAW

AN OLD PERSON is AN AULDYIN (be aware that this is normally used to relate to anyone over 35)

OWN is AIN

THE BACK OF ANYTHING is THE BACK A’

THERE IS A is ERRA

TO DROP is TO DRAP

TO HANG is TO HING

TO KNOW is TO KEN

TO WALK SLOWLY is to DAUNER

TOLD is TELT

YOU is YI’

YOUR is YIR

RANDOM SENTENCES

“I already advised you that if you carried it that way that you would end up dropping your turnip”

SEE, TELT YI’ IF YI’ KERRIED YOUR TUMSHIE THAT WAY THAT YI’ WID DRAP IT.

“Is one aware that at the back of the kitchen door there is a small arachnid hanging from its web?”

DID YA KEN THAT AT THE BACK A’ THE SCULLER DOOR ERRA TOATY SPIDER HINGING FAE ITS WEB?

“I have told you a hundred times that I have not got all day to wait for you so please stop walking so slowly”

TELT YI’ HUNNERS OF TIMES A’ HUVNAE GOT AW DAY TO WAIT FIR YI’ SO STOP DAUNERING.

“That old person standing at the bus stop is known locally as a rather bad chap”

STAY AWAY FAE THAT AULDYIN STAWNING AT THE BUS STOP HE’S A BADYIN.

“Has one ever frequented that museum? It is rather grand”

YOU BEEN BEN THAT STOORY PLACE? IT’S BRAW.

Thank You, and until we speak “Scots” again. Aw ra’ best.

An Invitation

If you are watching some of our Speaking “Scots” videos on our oldwolfcottage channel on YouTube whilst on the channel please also watch and listen to our songs; “Old Friend” (by Arctic Wolf), “My World, Our World, One World” (by Forevermore) “Mama Used to Say” (by Christmas Past) “The Last Question” (by Arctic Wolf) “Rainbow Obsidian” (by Arctic Wolf). Thank You. Brian and Valerie.

Copyright

The contents of this article were written by BH McKechnie and VHM McKechnie who equally own the literary copyright and have the sole authority and rights to licence and allow: copying, issuing, lending, renting, performing, showing, or broadcasting of this publication. The stated owners of the content also have the right to equitable remuneration.

An Invitation

We would appreciate it if you would please let us know what you think of this article. Thank You. Brian & Valerie.

BH & VHM McKechnie © 2017/2018

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