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Last go Scotland. This is the ninth report about Scotland and its people. During my stay in Glasgow I have been fascinated both by the charm and variations in Scottish speech although I have found it difficult to analyze. I have at least discarded some of my misconceptions and misinformation about dialects in Scotland today and in the following program. I would like to share with you some information about Scottish speech and language as recorded in conversations with some of my Glasgow friends who have a special interest in this subject. How does a Scotsman really talk. And is his language any different from our own. Let's begin our consideration of these questions by getting in tune with the
sound of Scottish voices by listening to a series of brief unrelated excerpts from recorded conversations or talk by native Scotsman Thomas Smith they had one of the classic Cathedral and it gives me great pleasure to talk about this ancient building here which has been here almost 700 years. It was started by Bishop Justin about 81 and of course finished about 1750 which took one hundred and fifty years to complete. Get out and gather nuts and how do they keep it well you know I do well I do that all on occasion do face up but with the 19th hole in the Gulf Coast and quieted with the end and I think fine. Never thought of it held was held in the birthplace of the poet may be laid by the
Scottish as we know it today. This was done not by an organized club but by a few people in the city. We decided that what a memory of bombs that's fashion. And used to have to accept the Gold Mine was the only one who can. I am Heimdall the science and I'm one of the players kick up kick the ball through and we get a mark. The girl kicks a ball. Let me start again to try to call and you may ask why it was such a great poet why you say you are popular. It makes things much easier for me if you do watch this. So no good to tell you who I will try to tell you I will give you some suggestions. My name is that I haven't Robert Patterson of Kings Park parish church here in
Glasgow this is the largest congregation in the city of Glasgow with over 3000 members. I'm a native of Darva or in earshot but police officer Alexander Fleming. The discovery of penicillin. I was then transferred to a little fund and from there to gook that I was minister for some seven years. Fifteen years ago I became the minister of a parish church here in Glasgow. Were you able to identify the variable characteristics of Scottish dialects in the previous samples. Well that is only the beginning. And so let's continue our exploration of the subject by hearing the comments of a Scottish educator Dr Jeffries who is one of Her Majesty's inspectors in Scotland's system of education. Although a scientist he has had a continuing interest in Scottish dialects and language.
It was during a pleasant evening in his home that he recorded the comments which are to follow. Dr Jefferies first spoke about some of the misconceptions concerning the relationship between Scottish and English speech. He sees that as a great similarity between Scots. And English and a lot of people seem to have the idea that it's the same language. Simply mispronounced and misspelled. In Scotland. But in point of fact the language is really two separate entities. Stemming from the same root with the result that. Instead of being the one mis spelt or mispronounced. In fact both as correct they pronounced and as correctly spelt as they ought to be in their own areas. It's
a very useful little article and a recent Scotsman which puts this point very well by saying it's as much as saying that your game is the same language as Spanish. But just misspelled in most pronounced. And this is really the relationship between English and Scots. They both stem from the same root. By and large you have the same external influences upon the result that you have produced a similar language. But Scottish Scots has got Gaelic attached to it which the English didn't have and the Scots has had much more in the way of French influence than English has had with the result that they have grown apart. And another very interesting point in all of this. There is a general move towards moving the Scots speech from Scotland today for many reasons. For one thing there's a bit
of class distinction and one begins to think that if one has a marked Scots accent This is something one has to get rid of. Because of this misconception that it's simply English badly pronounced and one therefore tends towards mimicking the English rather than keeping one's own speech. One interesting point is that. In the time of Boswell for example. Johnston Fein. The language of the high courts in Scotland was still broad Scots. And it was only after that time that this mimicking of the English began to become normal popular and in some ways all pervading. Dr. Jeffries then spoke about the influence of the mass media on Scottish dialects. One aspect of Scots and English which is causing some concern to a fair number of people is the
effect that mass communication is having on speech and English which one hears in Scotland by means of mass communication coming either from the BBC radio television or from the Independent Television Authority. Well for that matter for many of the pirate radio stations that one has I don't know. One of the standard English speech rather than Scots speech. And the result is that with pet you are listening and this is as much a disease in this country as it is in any other country. The child becomes more and more attuned to English pronunciation then to Scottish pronunciation and in many areas the dialect with the local accent is beginning to disappear. And more and more children are finding difficulty in school and understanding the Scots poetry and the Scots prose
that they are asked to read one of the more interesting aspects of Scottish dialect is the wide variation within a small area of the country. People living in cities only a few miles apart display sharply contrasting speech. Dr Jefferies now illustrates this point. We've had some very interesting little events centered around different dialects. My wife being English those Scots who really do speak strong dialect have a tendency to tease her by saying. Possibility of understanding at all. And usually saying them and I draw a broad dialect which simply isn't true. And one of the standard little tricks is to produce something like a Yorkie creates. Simply means at your ankles. But if a man from Aberdeen says to a woman from the center
of England man when you've got your cake and eat it as you can imagine then she hasn't got the vaguest notion what the man is talking about. Now there's an interesting tradition in pronunciation the words are the same as you come down the coast of the east coast of Scotland and the accent which I used in the beginning was in fact a fairly reasonable example of Aberdeenshire speech but in speech. But as you come south and you only have to go on something like 30 miles south of that area then your game becomes Yuki and it creates becomes quite. So that in and out of Angus it would not be Yogi quits but it would be. You keep quite. And it meaning exactly the same thing. If you cross the tape. In other words if you come another 30 miles farther so that most of the Yogi has changed to UK and then to yucky so that in fact if it is yucky
and the other has become great and yucky tweet is fight for exactly the same thing as you'll get quite as in about being you know you have good travel only 60 miles altogether. And yet you have had three entirely different pronunciations of precisely the same set of what. What about dialect. In this big industrial city of Glasgow one thing is certain there is a great variety and here are Dr. Jeffress comments on the Glasgow situation for musical comedy. Probably the most commonly spoken dialect if you can call it a day late has brought Glasgow. In fact this isn't a dialect at all in many respects. Glasgow is a very large time Glasgow has a population of something like a million and a quarter.
And like roll large toe it's what you get isn't so much. I dialect that's just pure slovenly speech. It's as slovenly in Glasgow as it is in London Cockney London is slovenly speech. The nasal Qatar accent are lovable as slovenly speech is not good dialect and this would be equally true of Glasgow That's not to say that the Glasgow people aren't inventive in language they are but that Nunciature is not a dialect so much at least a lot of what they say and how they say it is so over larded with these glottal stops. They say instead of saying bottle but the tea has never surrendered at all. And tired of the stones that come through the nose when they ought to be coming from the pilot or from the most itself. They
produce our sound which is like nothing else. It's common to our large tones but it's not specific to Scotland and it isn't a Scottish dialect or a Scottish accent. That is pure from we talk about regional dialects. This is perhaps something that one might say a little about. We had a very small and very tight knit community. I think. That is in fact a regional difference in speech in America. I mean one can tell someone from the Deep South from someone from the New England states it's quite obvious that the late John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson come from two entirely different parts of the world. But I would think that it wouldn't be very easy at all to distinguish Let's say someone from Boston on the run and with someone from Cambridge Mass. On the other hand and yet centers what 10 miles apart perhaps
it would be perfectly possible to do this in Scotland. There would be quite marked differences in accent. I don't think I could pick out quite as clearly as this but perhaps let me try just a little bit. Let's take the very simple three words for words. Where are you going. If you were in Aberdeen what you would get for that is very gun. If you can what 25 30 miles further south what you get instead is Friday again. And if you can another twenty or thirty miles farther so this is changed completely and becomes where you go wrong. And not only the actual words pronounced differently but I don't know whether you can detect it or not but that is in fact a quite marked difference in the inflection for you and where you go. Neither one is uppity in the other's face.
And if you measure the distance as the crow flies it's fifty miles at most. In fact in places like Angus it is quite possible for someone brought up in that area to tell immediately whether a man comes from Britain. From Suffolk and they are 12 miles apart or whether one comes from Britain one throws and then only nine miles apart. I without a man comes from and throws it out a bit off and then on the 13 14 miles apart. These accents are so marked and so different that it's not easy. Let me give you another example of this because this is probably even closer. When I was a small boy I was brought up in Britain and I'm going to say something which would which were to a part of something else that I'm going to say I'm going to say that I live in Britain but I'm not going to tell anyone.
I debate in Britain but I can't bear anybody. Now if I go to dun de which is 25 miles away I would say instead bad and I know a lot and I won't. These patterns of speech continue to change as one moves about this small country and into the offshore islands. For example I am told of one travels to Orkney or the Shetland Islands off the northeast coast of Scotland. It is like going into a foreign country. Even native Scots on the mainland have difficulty understanding these islanders whose speech has a strong Scandinavian influence. The difference is not only in dialect or accent but in vocabulary. And then if you move right around the top of Scotland and come down to the Western Isles you have an island accent as a contrast with the Highland accent. And it is very clearly marked
by the Gaelic influence. In fact there are a considerable number of people who still speak the Gaelic language and a few thousand speak only Gaelic. If we then move across to the mainland to Inverness the capital of the Highlands we find a rather unique situation where the speech pattern is considered to be the best and purest English spoken in the entire United Kingdom. Having spent several days in this area I would agree that the speech of Inverness is probably the most intelligible of all speech patterns in this country. The only recorded example of which I have from this area is that of a guide on an observation train travelling from Inverness in northern Scotland to the west coast and incidentally through some of the most picturesque scenery in all of Scotland it is a trip recommended Dalton tourists who are lucky enough to be in this part of Scotland.
The guide cooperated fully by permitting me to record his commentary for the entire journey. Let's listen to a brief excerpt now primarily to hear the speech of one who is a native of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. Looking up again on your left palm side you will see the little village blocked. We come up quite close to a shot. Play on the Johnnie. Cochran is an old time fishing village and quite a lot of retired people live there. Doctrine is famous for its great goddess. I think every second passion and a village old boy of some description. To see one of the goddesses on one side. Scotland has quite a lot of very deep
and charted long. Loch Ness for example an international underground. Which in some cases I'm not going to see this man I can't find the Loch Ness Monster. We now move again to the northeastern part of Scotland to Aberdeenshire where many persons speak what is known as the buck an accent and I would like you now to hear some comments on this accent by Roddy Maclean formerly a BBC TV producer and now director of television at Glasgow University. Now the back annex and. Canada stick and the mail. That's left Chris you get it you get a female back in action as well but it's most kind of dust in the middle because it's a company voice.
But kindly voice could be taken as as a harsh and is given is nothing harsh about the back and acts and it is an accident but right there on the menu and a bit of a soup of the wind in it. And also this doesn't get out really quality that is so well marked it matches the style of the area but it's a kindly a cootie. I want Maxim with all and that is absolutely distinctive you could turn love back in man if you met him and categorise it wouldn't be the slightest question that he was a black man and he could actually never mascot. I think for example of the man who is now a principal of King's College in London born in Bakken. And I would do it down to Oxford where he was a most distinguished scholar. Back to Leeds where he was Professor of humanity. Back to
Aberdeen. Professional humanity down to Kings and on there for a few years back to have it in but the way down to Kings College just principle and you only have to meet them to see back and it's there and it'll never be the mood because as vice as much as anything else. From Aberdeenshire they're on from the Bakken exit to Aberdeen city. And particularly to the city center and the top all around the Fisher and the port and market area and you get a quite different action happening in city X and there's a distinct from the accent of the couple they had learned about it. Aberdeen city is really rather unpleasant calculating kind of acts and. Not a fishwife accent if you like. I don't profess
to be good emitting it but. I can't help remembering an occasion on which going onto a tram car in Aberdeen I had to turn round at the top of the stairs and say is that on. And it was half a mile down the road that they worked out what she'd said is I your own means is all use the ones on are you all on. Is I using zone. I described it as as a bit harsh a bit fishwife Yeah I think that's true it certainly is the impact it makes on the other hand. And as I want to do it. I remember interviewing a little girl. Well she was 12 or 13. Or about things in general and she knew she was telling me shut up by friendship from a special boyfriend. She was very fond of the done some dancing being done seen it first
but he was a bit scared for the dance and Leonard was his name and she recounted to me how at a dance the other night and he had said what dinner time if he did talk to me and I said Mrs. I think this is I get drunk this is I'm not going to tell you I'm the words which translated means don't turn me from there. Yes soft on you. Or don't tell me that you have a time when you have. But it doesn't really make any point except to counterbalance the impression that Aberdeen's it is necessarily harsh is necessarily unkind and mean to convey that. And finally Mr. McLean comments on the comparative accents of Scotland's two main cities Glasgow and Edinburgh Glasgow a person is a complete amalgam of facts and although it has its own
very distinctive accent and it has been influenced a lot by Irish and flux and so on most kind of touristic thing about Glasgow it's I'm really glad it all stopped in the act instead of down the water and simply drop out of there. The kind of the average Glasgow man. I don't think this is this is just because an article as we can is up that is that it found by comparison the average it in that accent has. Is broadly equivalent to what in Glasgow we would call the kill than say the x and killed inside X and we know because they're refined over refined accent of their. Residential district and we're stuck to you in kind of their lives
until probably go back to America were killed and say the extent to which the next best thing is they haven't but I couldn't which is I'm running say the accent and since their average but absent can be equated to Glasgow Scotland side you can imagine just how refined the Morningside accent is. From Glasgow down to where you're moving into what many people would call their real Scots accent. There are real broad Scots whether this is a legitimate claim. I wouldn't profess to know but there is no doubt that it because the roots of likely in mind the fact that it's Brown's country they don't and they wish you you got the Scots that made the point that as bands put in it's recognized as being nationally Scots. People back up to number things I would claim that Charles money is poetry
written at the time of the century and brought it back and is just as typically Scots as the stuff that times are sometimes let's be honest. Many of us think it's rather pseudo Scots from the left I know whether down under the borders. Right across the borders you find that there might for right left thing accent which has all the farmyard truthiness. Of back in the north. But but none of the harshness none of the godliness. It has and it has a beautiful lot. Which of course. Leads naturally long to the actions we associate us with Northern England and the trade I've missed out at least 50 lookalikes because that is just the observation of somebody who has wondered about Scott and a great deal and that concludes our ninth report from Glasgow Scotland. Day's report on the current dialects in Scotland. We'll be following the next
program. With a discussion of the older forms of Scottish speech used in the time of Robert Burns and prior to that time. Our special guest will be an authority in the field of Scottish speech and linguistics. This is where you're hearing among the Scots.
This program was distributed by national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
Amang the Scots
How do the Scots really talk?, part 1
Producing Organization
WOSU (Radio station : Columbus, Ohio)
Ohio State University
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the first of two parts, explores variations of Scottish speech and language, old and new.
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A documentary series about modern Scotland.
Race and Ethnicity
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Host: Goldovsky, Boris
Producing Organization: WOSU (Radio station : Columbus, Ohio)
Producing Organization: Ohio State University
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 67-26-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:28
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Chicago: “Amang the Scots; How do the Scots really talk?, part 1,” 1967-08-04, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 20, 2024,
MLA: “Amang the Scots; How do the Scots really talk?, part 1.” 1967-08-04. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 20, 2024. <>.
APA: Amang the Scots; How do the Scots really talk?, part 1. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from