Thursday, March 4, 2010


Samantha M. wanted to know more about the Scottish dialect, so I decided to give a bit of information on how the Scottish language has changed through the centuries. This is only in the written aspect, though I would imagine that the accent itself has not changed very much. Only for the fact that different words have been used just like in any other language.

The first example I have, is an excerpt from Blind Harry's epic The Wallace about William Wallace. This dates from the 1400s

"Bot I hereof can nocht rehers thaim aw.
Wallace statur, of gretnes and of hycht,
Was jugyt thus be dyscreciounn if rycht,
That saw him bath discevill and in weid."

As you can see, it is kind of hard to understand. But I assure you, after you read it for a while, you do  get used to it!

The next one I have is a while later actually, from one of Robert Burns's poems dating late 1700s

To a Haggis

"Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great Chieftan o' the Puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As land's my arm."

Burns usually writes in this dialect, normally called Old Scots. Some of his poems are not quite as thick, but I think the ones that are add more flavor.

This next one is an excerpt from Sir Walter Scott's Rob Roy 1817

"Aha, lad!" said the Bailie, laughing, and putting his finger to his nose. "ye think ye hae me there. Troth, I wad advise ony friends o' mine to gree wi' Rob'; form watch as they like, and do what they like, they are sair apt to be harried when the lang nights come on."

This was the typical writing of Old Scots you would see during this time period. Robert Louis Stevenson, in his book Kidnapped also uses a similar dialect. Now to show you what it's  like to just write in a Scottish accent, that is how I will end this post.

Scotland has a very distinctive accent, an' tha' the truth o' it. Everyone kens a Scottish accent when they hear it. Ye canna miss it! Sae, Ah, hope ye all enjoyed this wee post an' Ah'll talk tae ye again soon!

Slainte, Hazel


  1. I've been trying to hard to take on a bit of a Scottish lilt since I moved here, but it is difficult. I can say a few words convincingly but my Canadian accent soon kicks in. If you have not yet read Buddha Da, it is fantastic and written in a Scottish dialect. Also a book from Stanley Robertson called Reek Roon a Campfire. Brilliant stuff.

  2. Haha, aye, the Scottish lilt is a hard one. I have been writing Scottish historical fiction for the last several years (not yet published though) and you almost find yourself thinking in the Scottish dialect :) One of my friends and I like to have discussions in the Scottish accent sometimes just for fun. I just think it's one of the nicest sounding accents in the world!