Outlander voice coach hopes to boost Scots languages

Voice coach to the stars Carol Ann Crawford hopes hit US TV show Outlander will fuel a growing interest in the Gaelic and Scots languages.

The second series of Outlander returns to TV screens across the US soon. Picture: Contributed

Ms Crawford believes the broad appeal of the popular show could be just the thing to get the languages known by a wider audience.

“I feel a wonderful spin-off would be if it did spark interest in Gaelic and Scots, Old Scots,” she said.

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“Those languages deserve to be heard. I think what is great is that Outlander reaches a very wide audience, so hopefully it’s reaching people who perhaps wouldn’t be likely to encounter Gaelic and Scots.

“We try not to be obscure but it’s great that we are using some of these older Scots words (in Outlander) because it’s only by using them that you keep them alive. What a loss it would be if those words were no longer alive.”

The dialect coach primarily spent the first season training the show’s actors to get their tongues around Gaelic, Old Scots and the type of English spoken in Britain the 1940s.

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But with the action moving to France in the second season, she had a very different kind of tutoring on her hands.

Speaking on set in central Scotland, she said: “Season two was very different for me. Because the action moves to Paris, to Versailles, we have quite a number of French cast on board.

“My work with them has largely been about helping them with pronunciation, for those who are less familiar with the English.”

Jokingly, she added: “I have to say they are fantastically good, the French cast, and sometimes we have to try and persuade them to be a little more French.

“Maybe there’s a bit of pride in the fact that they want to speak English perfectly. We have some difficulty sometimes persuading them to be more French, which is kind of ironic really.”

Ms Crawford also told how the show’s main leads Sam Heughan and Caitriona Balfe excelled at the language work.

“Cat is really astonishing and has required very little input from me,” she said.

“She’s just got it. She’s captured that 1940s speech where everything’s a little bit crisper. You can definitely tell that she’s from another world than the Highlanders, it’s got that period feel to it.

“Sam is fantastic to work with, an incredibly hard worker. He has embraced the Gaelic and loves the sound of it. He’s from Dumfries but what he’s done with his accent is just make it softer, a bit gentler.”