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Scottish words: the Glasgow accent

Chewing the Fat stars Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphil whose catchphrase was 'Gonna nae do that'. Picture: BBC l

Chewing the Fat stars Ford Kiernan and Greg Hemphil whose catchphrase was 'Gonna nae do that'. Picture: BBC l

  • by Stephen Emerson
 

For a relatively small country Scotland is blessed with a plethora of varying dialects and accents that, while contributing to the country’s culture and identity, can leave visitors somewhat baffled. Even Scots making the journey along the M8 between Edinburgh and Glasgow can have trouble bridging the language gap upon arrival.

The Glasgow dialect is heavily influenced by the city’s industrial past and by waves of Irish immigration in the 19th century. Words are spoken fast and sometimes at a furious pace with expletives used to give added emphasis on many occasions.

Glaswegians lower the pitch of their voices when they speak and string and slur their words together in one sentence - for example byrreway (by the way).

Glasgow speech or patter also includes colourful double negatives such as ‘Gonna nae do that’ (Please don’t do that!) and double contradictions such as “Come oan, get awff!

Glasgow words

Auldyin - an old person

Buckie - Buckfast Tonic Wine

Gallus - bold and confident

Geggie - mouth

Laldy - to make a big effort

nippy sweetie - sharp-toungued or bad-tempered woman

Rammy - argument

Randan - drinking spree

 

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