When English is a different language in Scotland


One of the most common challenges in traveling, for anyone, is overcoming a language barrier. Not hearing people speak your native language is difficult, but it can be overwhelming when you’re lost and you don’t even know the alphabet of the words on the street signs. So when we returned to the United Kingdom to attend the Scotland Highland Games in Aberdeen, I was excited to be traveling in an English-based environment.

Aberdeen Highland Games, Scotland
Aberdeen Highland Games, Scotland



I was totally wrong.





We began traveling from the Edinburgh airport to follow in the footsteps of William Wallace, being true cheesy Braveheart tourists. So we drive to Stirling (an exciting trip, as Dusty was driving stick on the left hand side of the road for the first time) and stayed in a surprisingly handicapped accessible B&B. When we went to the William Wallace pub for dinner, I was finally able to stop and pay attention to the conversations of the more rural Scottish men and women around me. And I couldn’t understand a word of it.

“Aye, lass, wood jay be wuhntin anudder glass uh dat?”

“Um, yes. I mean, no. I mean, It’s just a coke. What?”

Dusty would then have to cut in and save me, as he for some reason could translate Scottish.

At the Highland Games in Aberdeen, it’s such a low-key atmosphere that we had the privilege of talking with some of the young men competing in the caper toss and hammer throw events after they were finished. I asked one burly fellow how he felt about his toss (he had come in second and had been expected to come last). How he replied to my question sounded something like this:

” Aye ain’t nerva threwn aye toss so fah, aye mustav bin doe-in suhmthin roight!”


I still don’t know if that’s English.

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1 Comment

  1. I found this hilarious, I’m from Stirling sometimes even I find it difficult to understand the accent in different areas of Scotland especially the Aberdonians!
    Thankfully I have a ‘proper English’ telephone voice to avoid any confusion.

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