How To Speak – Scottish Accent Glaswegian Part 1

To start off with the basics of Scottish, with common Scottish words, I feel that it’s the best way for anyone to get a ground and basic understanding of Scottish. A lot of the words in Scottish are pronounced very differently to that of common English. In various different parts of Scotland, there is different dialect and words.

This first part video I made, (‘Scottish Accent Video Glaswegian Part 1′) should definitely give you a ground for these common words we use in Scottish. Too often I find that when people try to impersonate Scottish Accents, they get it all wrong, because they use words in the wrong way. Like the confusion of the word ‘my’ in Scottish is actually ‘ma’, whereas I’ve noticed people who impersonate Scottish, say ‘me’. I think they’re thinking of Irish to be honest. Another one that’ll often confuse impersonators, are the words ‘ye’ and ‘ya’ that both mean the word ‘you’. However ‘ya’ tends to be used when someone tends to call someone a name, like they may say “Ya idiot” whereas ‘ye’ tends to be used commonly in sentences like, “Aye a get whi’ ye mean”.

So here is the video:

Okay so from the video, allow me to explain the words in textual form, to help you understand, and of course, I’m more than happy to help anyone who has questions.

  • To = Tae

For the word to, we say ‘Tae’, like ‘tae’ go some where, pronounced ‘tay’, so in a sentence, “a wan’ tae go doon tae the shoaps.” Meaning, “I want to go down to the shops.” Note that this is very basic, you may hear me sometimes chop the ‘t’ off the word ‘tae’ in some sentences, like for example, I might say:

“Whi’ (what) djae (dae ye / do you) wa’ae (want to) dae (do) ‘e (the) noo (now).”

That may look complicating to you at first, but I’ll get around to explaining the other words in sentences at a later point, all you need to know is that in common Scottish, you will hear the word ‘Tae’. In that sentence I gave as an example, you can see where I said “wa’ae”, in common Scottish, they would say, “Wan’ tae”, for “Want to” but because am an east ender and I speak slang, I take the ‘n’ off the “wan'” and I take the ‘t’ off the word ‘tae’, to get “Wa(nt)(t)ae”, which is “Wa’ae”.

It can become complicating, but when you get used to hearing the word tae used in sentences, you begin to understand. If impersonating however, your best bet is to stick with basic Scottish words, like explained, you would probably say “wan’ tae”, stick with that, and it’ll become second nature to you.

  • Do = Dae
This word ‘dae’ meaning ‘do’ is pronounced similar to the word ‘tae’, only with the ‘d’. It sounds like the word ‘day’ and is pronounced exactly the same. Perhaps you’re wondering how you can tell the difference, well it all depends upon the sentence. You know someone is talking about the word ‘day’, when they say “whi’ day is it?” whereas ‘dae’ would be, “whi’ dae ye wan’ tae dae the noo”, meaning “what do you want to do the now?” Again, it’s really all down to carefully listening to what the person is saying in a specific sentence, as there’s a difference between, “it’s a nice day ootside” to “Whi’ dae ye wan’ tae dae the noo?” 
  • Doing = Daen
The word ‘Daen’ meaning ‘Doing’, sounds like the name of a ‘Great Dane’, the name of a specific type of dog. So if someone says to you “Whi’ ye daen the noo?” they are saying, “What you doing the now?” Another example, “Yer daen it wrang”, meaning, “You’re doing it wrong.”
  • For = Fur
For the word ‘For’ it is simply ‘Fur’, same pronunciation to the word ‘Fur’ of an animal. Again don’t get confused between the word ‘Fur’ of an animal to the word ‘Fur’ when describing ‘For’, it’s really a case of listening to the specific sentence, like “Whi’ ye daen tha’ fur?” meaning “What you doing that for?” as opposed to, “Aye, there’s a nice fur aff that coat.”
  • For = Fu’
Sometimes you may find the word ‘Fur’ meaning ‘For’, has a slang term, “Fu’ ” like for example, when speaking slang and fast, I may say “tha’ was fu’ the burds” or “Whi’ ye daen tha’ fu’?” it sounds like “fuh”. If any questions, feel free to ask, but most commonly, this is slang, you may stick to common Scottish, with the word ‘Fur’ meaning ‘For.’
  • From = Fae
There is actually two ways that you can say the word ‘From’ in Scotland, there is ‘Fae’ and ‘Frae’, neither is wrong, but of course, ‘Fae’ is slanger than the word ‘Frae’. Example, “Aye a come fae Scotland” or “Aye, am frae Glasgow.”
  • Say = Siy
Again, not all Scottish people speak the same way, many different parts of Scotland speak different from one another. I think the word ‘Siy’ for ‘Say’, tends to be  Glaswegian dialect, I’m pretty sure other parts of Scotland may just say the word like common English, in their own accent of course. So it is common in Glasgow that you may hear someone say, “Whi dae ye wan’ me tae siy?” meaning, “What do you want me to say?”
  • Way = Wiy
Similar to the word ‘Siy’ only ‘Wiy’, referring to the word ‘Way’. Someone may say “Which wiy ye gaun?” meaning “Which way you going?” It is very important to note though, which may confuse people, in Scottish, we say ‘Way’ for ‘With’, I’m sure it’s mainly Glasgow that says ‘Wiy’, which helps you differentiate between ‘Way’ for ‘With’ and ‘Wiy’ for ‘Way’. In other parts of Scotland, you would be having a laugh with this one, because they probably say the word ‘Way’ as common English in their own accent. So again, it’s important to listen carefully to the sentence being used. Examples are, “Which wiy ye gaun?” or in common Scottish “Which way you gaun’?” as opposed to “Where ye gaun way that?” meaning “Where you going with that?” You could always have a laugh with sentences like, “Where ye gaun way that, ye gaun doon that way?” basically saying “Where you going with that, you going down that way?”
  • With = Way
As explained, the word ‘With’ we do not use, instead we say the word ‘Way’, as in “Way another example”, instead of commonly saying “With another example.” Again, like noted previously, it’s just about carefully listening to the sentence, that way you won’t get confused between ‘With’ and ‘Way’ in Scotland.
  • Same = Syme
An example of the word ‘Syme’ for ‘Same’ is, “It’s the Syme Wiy”, meaning “it’s the same way” or “Ir ye gaun the syme wiy as last time”, which is “Are you going the same way as last time?” Again, in common Scottish, the word same perhaps maybe pronounced differently, I’m pretty sure ‘Syme’ is Glaswegian, you may find the rest of Scotland perhaps may say, ‘Same.’
  • Ball = Ba’
  • Call = Ca’
  • Fall = Fa’

The words ‘Ball,’ ‘Call’ and ‘Fall,’ you don’t pronounce the double ‘L’ at the end. They are pronounced like ‘Baw,’ ‘Caw’ and ‘Faw.’ There are however several words like ‘Pull’ and ‘Full’ where perhaps the one ‘L’ is pronounced, and said very differently, like ‘Puhl’ and ‘Fuhl.’ Again, in regarding the word ‘Roll’, because of the letter ‘o’, it’s pronounced differently, which I’ll get around to explaining at another point. You tend to find words with ‘all’, the double ‘L’ becomes silent, which is why for the word ‘all’ itself sounds like ‘aw’ with the apostrophe.

Examples of these words used in sentences would be, “A bough’ a new ba’ fae the shoap.” Meaning, “I bought a new ball from the shop.” Another example, “Whi’ time dae ye ca’ this?” Meaning, “What time do you call this?” or “Watch ye don’ fa’ aff tha’ ‘hing.” Meaning, “Watch you don’t fall off that thing.”

  • What = Whi’
As you know, we tend not to pronounce our letter ‘t’ in Scotland, only in certain circumstances does the letter ‘t’ become forced to be used, like at the start of words. Most commonly, at the end of words, the ‘t’ is dropped. With the word ‘What’, it becomes ‘Whi’, as the ‘t’ is silent. Example of the word ‘What’ being used, “Whi’ time did  ye ge’ yer dinner a’?” Basically saying, “What time did you get your dinner at?”
  • Called = Ca’d
To say the word ‘Called’, we often drop the double ‘L’, so the pronunciation of the word ‘Called’, becomes ‘Ca’d’, which sounds like ‘Cod’, of a ‘Cod Fish.’ Again, some people perhaps may speak more proper than others, and other parts of Scotland may say ‘Called,’ the reason I note this is because, you wouldn’t want to get this word confused with ‘Cauld.’ People in Scotland often say the word ‘Cold,’ as ‘Cauld.’ So they may say, “A’, it’s pure freezin’ cauld oo’side.” Again, it’s really all about listening to the specific sentence, in this circumstance, if a Scot says, “Aye, a ca’d ‘im earlier.” Meaning, “Yes, I called him earlier.” You can see what I mean by telling the difference by the sentences used.
  • Gived = Gie’d
  • Give = Gie
  • Give Us = Gie’s
In Scotland we don’t say the word ‘gave’ which is proper English, we say, ‘Gived,’ this word can be heard in back country America, which is Scottish. Instead of saying ‘Gived’ in Scotland, we say it with slang, so we say ‘Gie’d.’ So to use this in a sentence, a Scot may say “Aye, a gie’d ‘im it earlier.” In other words, “Yes, I gave him it earlier.” The word ‘Gie,’ is to simply ‘Give,’ so you might hear, “Gie tha’ tae yer pal.” Meaning, “Give that to your pal.” Again very similar to the word ‘Gie’d,’ we say ‘Gie’s’ for ‘Give us.’ So in a sentence, you may hear a Scot say, “Gonnae gie’s tha’ yin o’er.” Meaning, “Going to give us that one over.” I will go more into detail with the other words, all you have to really concern yourself with, is that ‘Gie’s’ translates ‘Give us.’
  • Gave = Gived
As explained, proper English is the word ‘Gave,’ and in Scotland, we say ‘Gived.’ Back country Americans used the word ‘Gived.’ In Scotland however, our slang term for ‘Gived’ is ‘Gie’d.’ So we say, “A gie’d ‘im his present, he loved it!” Translating, “I gave him his present, he loved it!”
  • Told = Telt
For the word ‘Told,’ we say ‘Telt,’ although we don’t really pronounce the letter ‘t’ at the end, so it’s “Tel’.” So in an example sentence, instead of saying, “Yeah, I told her off.” You’d hear, “Aye, a tel’ her aff.” Again, important to note is that, not all Scotland speaks the same, so it might be Glaswegian, you may hear the word closer to English elsewhere in Scotland, it depends. Then again, go in certain parts of Scotland and I’ll guarantee you, they speak martian to me lol but it’s a martian that I bloody love! Being serious though, I don’t know how most of Scotland talks, I’m very limited to their dialect, someone from those certain parts could tell you. Although at some point, I may do my research, because it’d be interesting to find out.
  • Yellow = Yella
‘Yella’ again is a word you may hear in back country America, I know because I’ve heard certain Southern Americans in the United States, use the word ‘Yella.’ The word translated is ‘Yellow.’ I’m pretty sure this is a very common Scottish word throughout Scotland, I could be corrected if am wrong, but I know that is certainly how we say ‘Yellow,’ as ‘Yella.’
  • Red = Rid
‘Rid,’ “Ye shidda seen his face, it was pure rid.” Which translates to, “You should’ve seen his face, it was pure red.” Again, this maybe a very common Scottish word used throughout Scotland.
  • Brown = Broon

The word ‘Broon’ is actually heavily Scandinavian influenced, I’m sure in Scandinavian countries, like Sweden for example, they pronounce the word very similar, with the spelling ‘Brun.’ I could be corrected on that of course, but it’s definitely Scandinavian influenced. ‘Broon,’ is how we say ‘Brown.’

If you have any questions, feel free to comment and ask, and I can surely help you the best that I can. As I say, I’m from Glasgow, every part of Scotland speaks entirely different from each other, so most of what I give may often be Glaswegian. But there are common Scottish words thrown in there like ‘tae’ and ‘dae,’ that are often used commonly throughout Scotland. I hope this blog is of great use and help to yourself, and it is my aim to give people the real way us Scottish speak, not from what a false media claims.

11 thoughts on “How To Speak – Scottish Accent Glaswegian Part 1

  1. I really like your blog! I’m actually writing a book (fiction) that takes place in Scotland. It’s such beautiful country!
    Looking forward to reading more posts!

    • Hi KenzieKay, thanks for the comment, much appreciated. Because I love vlogging and it’s one way for me to promote my YouTube channel, I thought I would run this blog to coincide with my channels. I’ve always said, my passion is for putting right what the media often puts wrong, and if I help anyone like yourself in the process, then it’s an absolute bonus to me. Like I say, if you are writing a fiction book, in terms of Scottish words, feel free to ask me anything if you need help. I would never really use words like ‘wa’ae’, but you’d definitely get away with ‘want tae.’

      And like I say, thanks again,
      much appreciated,


  2. Pingback: Scottish Accent – Glaswegian Translation Part 2 « thescotandscotland

  3. I have always loved the Scottish accent, and always wanted to be able to emulate it as best and closely as possible. I can honestly say this has been the most brilliant, thorough, and easy to follow explanation on the internet. Thank you kindly!

    • And thank you, it is always nice to hear that it is of help to people. My main aim to accomplish was to put out there our dialect and accent what the media doesn’t give. And also it does help people to become familiar with how we talk, so when they hear or read it, they can understand better. Of course I wouldn’t expect people to pick up everything, but it’s some foundation :)

  4. Hi there!

    I just watched your Youtube channel and I’m writing to congratulate you for doing a great job! I am thankful that you spoke slowly (I’m from Malaysia) as now I can pretty much make sense of all the words. I have been to Edinburgh once and I got a massive headache trying to understand a single direction to the train station. Still I do miss the good old days and I dream to travel again. Currently I’m listening to Kevin Bridges and both of you sounded the same. Beautiful :)

    • Hi, thanks for the comment!
      I’m not long back from Rome as I had been over there on holiday for the two weeks, got back last night and had tons of email, so have been sorting through all of that. Just this moment got around to responding to your comment. And thank you, very much appreciated, I think that is what is wonderful about YouTube, it has allowed me to put myself out there visually to who I am, my mind and share videos with people, and it’s something I can look back on and say I remember going there and enjoyed it. Well it’s great that people such as yourself grasp that understanding of the words.

      I think what is most important about it, is like if people come to Scotland, they are more prepared for the different way we speak, thus it helps them better understand what people are saying. And yes it’s often very difficult understanding people when giving directions, but when you get to understand the words and hearing them, it starts to become second nature, and that was probably my main reason for doing those videos, to help people that way. Too many would get our accent wrong as well or they would say they couldn’t understand us.

      As for Kevin Bridges hahahaha that is because he’s from my city, he some what speaks in his own manner but he has the same accent :)

  5. I love this blog. My grandparents were from Scotland and are since gone now. Loved their accent. Would love to learn to speak the way they did. So blessed to have grown up around them.

  6. Fascinating. I was in Edinburgh, St. Andrew’s and Glasgow many years ago. I had no trouble understanding the Scottish dialect (I’m American) until I reached Glasgow! There was about a ten second delay in comprehension. :-) This is a fun lesson. I looked it up because I am going to a Robert Burns poetry night and I want to do my reading justice. ;-)

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