I am currently in Glasgow on a short surprise trip to visit my little granny and have been thinking quite a bit about the language. Not the accent but the actual words used. The dialect in Glasgow, the vocabulary and terminology they use is pretty distinctive.
Language is something that I have always found fascinating, not that I can speak anything other than English (know some very basic German and Turkish) and the UK is beautifully diverse in its regional dialects. Having spent many summer holidays in and around Loch Lomond, and my mum being Scottish I never really understood that there was such a difference until I was starting talking to Londoners (friends and colleagues) that they maybe didn’t understand what I was talking about!
A great example of this is ‘what would you call this?’
The suggestions are: Roll, Bap, Morning Roll, Cob, Bread-cake, Tea-cake, Bridie, Bun, Barm, Bread-Roll, Batch, Muffin, Stottie and I am sure there are many more names!
Some of the words that have Scottish origins that I use in my daily vocabulary are listed below (and yes, I have had to explain or translate all of these phrases at some point!)
Bahooky – Backside, bum, bottom ‘move ya big bahooky out the road.’
Blether – a talkative person or to have a chat ‘she is a right blether, can’t get a word in.’
Chap – a knock at the door ‘you chap the door like the police.’
Crabbit – used to describe someone who is cranky, miserable, moody or dour ‘Och, you are real crabbit when you wake up in the morning.’
Dreich – frequently referring to the weather, bit grey and miserable (typical Scottish weather). ‘it’s a bit dreich outside today.’
Dug – dog ‘aww look at that wee scruffy dug.’
Eejit – idiot
Gallas – used to describe someone who is self-confident, cheeky, has the bit of a swagger ‘he is pure gallas’
Greet – crying ‘stop your greeting.’
Hoachin’ – somewhere very busy ‘Luss was hoachin’ with midges in the summer.’
Messages – shopping ‘go the messages’
Mince – used to describe someone who is talking rubbish or nonsense ‘Dinnae talk mince.’
Numpty/Numptie – generally used to describe someone who has done something a bit stupid, and idiot ‘look at that numpty, couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery.’
Ouse – fluff ‘my trousers are all covered in ouse.’
Peely Wally – Pale ‘have you put on sunscreen; you will get burnt because your so peely wally.’
Phish – rubbish ‘that film was pure phish.’
Piece – sandwich ‘want a piece and jam?’
Poke – an open portion of chips from the chippy (can also be used to describe an open bag) ‘want a poke of chips?’
Shoogle – Shake ‘shoogle it like a Polaroid picture.’
Skelp – Slap ‘I’ll give ya skelp round the ear.’
Taps aff – describes the weather when it is nicer than usual, can go about without a shirt on ‘tops off.’
Tugs – knots in your hair ‘my hair is so tuggy.’
So next time you are in Scotland, hopefully, this will prepare you with some necessary translation! The Scots are a ridiculously friendly and hospitable bunch (despite the stereotypes) who love a sing-song and a drink. Whenever you are in Scotland, speak with the locals, they enjoy a good blether.