Scottish accent – phonetics, examples, differences between it and Standard English.

Scottish accent – phonetics, examples, differences between it and Standard English.

Hello everyone!

How have you been?

It’s holiday time now, and we usually go abroad in summer, but this year most of us are obliged to stay in their own country of residence. I must admit that I thought it would be a splendid idea to present some appealing hints about Great Britain and its multi-cultural diversity. Feel yourself as you are on a round-trip across the UK, even without going outside! In this post, I intend to partage with you some clues about the Scottish accent!

The Scottish accent

Before Scotland and England united, Scots had been using its own language. In 1707 Scotland had to cease speaking this dialect. It was said that the Scots’ speech is for the ‘uneducated people’. Nowadays, the Scottish accent is the combination of Gaelic, English and Scots. Some words have changed their meaning or form. The Scottish accent is truly awkward, and – perhaps – strongly tough to pronounce and understand. We are able to differentiate some vowels and consonant sounds between Standard English and this dialect.   

A widely-known distinction between Standard English and Scottish speech is the rhotic /r/ sound. A consonant ‘r’ is similar to Swedish hard ‘r’. It is pronounced at the end of a word and before the vowel.


  • wear /wɛə/ (Received Pronunciation) – wear /wer/ (Scottish accent)
  • bar /bɑː/ – bar /bar/ 
  • hear /hɪə/ – hear /hiər/

Another tip is the comparison of words: ‘where’ and ‘were’. In Standard English, both terms are vocalized in the same manner. In the Scottish accent ‘where’ is pronounced /hwer/. We may hear the consonant ‘h’ at the beginning.

The letter ‘s’ is vocalized ‘sh’ and, more often than not, the digraph ‘ch’ is said as harsh ‘h’.

In colloquial speech, we are able to observe the glottal ‘t’.

For example: butter /’bʌtə/ – butter /’bɛʔə/.

Whereas the letter ‘t’ is not said at the end of a word, before ‘c’ and ‘p’.

Moreover, in the Scottish accent, many doubled vowels are shortened.

To support my point: good /gʊd/ – good /gʉd/; goose /guːs/ – goose /gʉs/.

The Scots pay attention to the articulation of long and short ‘o’. (pour – short ‘o’, poor – long ‘o’).

This dialect has got some distinguishing and eminent words, phrases. The most world-famous ones are ‘aye’, which means ‘yes’, and ‘naw’ – meaning ‘no’.

In particular, ‘guid morning’’ signifies ‘good morning’, ‘loch’ is ‘lake’, ‘dinner’ expresses ‘lunch’, or ‘haud yer wheesht’ means ‘be quiet’.

In this accent, we are to distract some contrasts in a plethora of grammar structures. The Scots use ‘the’ before the days of the week and months (the April, the Thursday). A possessive pronoun is said to be replaced by the article ‘the’ (my dog – the dog). Furthermore, they prefer making use of irregular forms in the plural.

For instance: ‘shae’ – ‘shoe’, ‘shuin’ – ‘shoes’.

What’s more, the pronoun ‘you’ in the plural is written and is said as ‘youse’.

As we are able to spot, the Scottish accent has got plenty of rare but eye-catching phrases or words. It is also a valuable alternative for people who learn English and are full of the boredom of the standard speech.

Scottish dialect – The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
Scottish English accent – Kuramelfrio

What do you reckon about this dialect? How are your feelings? Have you ever talked with a Scotsman? Share your experiences in the comments below!

See you next time!


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