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Scottish dialects and accents

Updated on July 17, 2011

A trip through Scotland and the different accents.

The Scottish accent has been made famous by many different sources. in the world of cinema we have Sir Sean Connery,and of course Ewan Mcgregor and the latest heartthrob Gerard Butler.

But pride of place here must surely go to the character with arguably the best-loved Scottish accent in TV history – The Simpson's school janitor and flame-haired Scotsman, Groundskeeper Willie.

I have often been accused of speaking too fast by non Scots trying to understand me,,which reminds me of a story I heard.

The gamekeeper on a highland estate comes across a man scooping water with his hand out of a burn..“Dinnae dae that mon the waiter is fu oh coos piss and authing” said the gamekeeper.The man replied”sorry I am an american tourist could you speak slower and in English so I can understand you”.I said use both hands you get more water that way” replied the gamekeeper.

I will start the trip in Aberdeen,home of the Doric dialect

Aberdonians are more affectionately know to Glaswegian as sheepshaggers due to there unhealthy likening of fore mentioned animal.

In Aberdeen a boy is called a loon and a girl a quine.So when you hear the phrase fit like mae loon ? it translates as how are you..

If someone asks you Furry boots dae you bide? It means where do you come from?

If you are met with the phrase.That’s a braw quin yiv got.You are being complimented on how nice looking your partner is.

Here are some words and translations.

Aabody everybody

Aathing Everything

Aff Off

Affa Awfully

Aifter After

Baith Both

Bairn A baby or young child

Banter To gossip or chat away or have a friendly tease

Black Affrontit Embarrassed

Doon aboot the mou Fed up, depressed

Douche Kind or gentle

Dreich Cold, wet and windy

Drookit Drenched, soaking

Far Hiv Ye Bin? WhereHave you been?

Fit Like? How are you?

Fitya dee'in? What are you doing?

Mockit Needs a good wash

The practice of adding a "y" to virtually any word or description is also recognised as very Aberdonian, eg I am going to the shop, becomes I am going to the shoppy,

Each year there is a Doric festival which celebrates the Aberdonian accent and Doric dialect.

Next we move to tayside.

I have added a video clip which gives an example of this accent.

Now for the Glesga patter

The stereotypical scot is always portrayed as drunk and aggressive.This is partly due to the aggressive nature of the Glasgow accent and humour.

Glaswegians,or weegies are they sometimes called from citizen of other parts of this great country have a mixed and varied dialect of there own.

The late great Stanley Baxter did a hilarious tv sketch, called parliamo glesga. Which gives an exaggerated insight into the Glasgow dialect.The video below is an example.

Some glesga phrases and words

You have no doubt heard of cockney rhyming slang,well Glesga was its own version .Often the second word which makes the rhyme is not spoken, but is understood by the listener. Here are a few example.

donald duck luck

Would be shortened to Donald.Example It,s just your donald if you don,t get a ticket.

Gregory pecks Specs-spectacles

Time ah wis gettin tested fur a new perr aw gregories.

Man from cairo Giro

Unemployment benefit was paid out by giro cheque

.Am goin fur a swally, wance the postie brings mae man fae cairo.Translates I am going for a drink after the postman brings my giro cheque

Some phrases and saying you may hear in Glesga.

Ahve lost merr running fur a bus,or ahve threw merr at a dug when ah coudnae fun ah stone. Used to dismiss a small amount of money.

Dae yu think mae heid buttons up the back?

Do you take me for an idiot?

Wouldny gie ye

These words are used in a range of phrases about being mean or tightfisted.

He wouldny gie ye the steam aff his pish.

He wouldny gie ye a fright on a dark night.

He wouldny gie.a blind dug a bone.

I could go on for ever,so I will finish with a video about the ned dialect.

Is the glesga dialect hard to understand

See results


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    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

    • lyndre profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Scotland

      Glad you enloyed my hub.Yes Scotland is a wonderful country to visit.My dream is to visit San Francisco

    • oceansnsunsets profile image


      7 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Lyndre, this hub made me smile, I loved it. Thanks for sharing. I have always wanted to go to Scotland, and hope to make it there one day.

    • lyndre profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks Steph.

      Hope your friend can translate for you

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 

      7 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      I have a great friend with a Scottish background. I can't understand it to save my life, but I'm sure she'll appreciate this hub. ;-)


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