How to Learn the Scottish Accent

Written by noreen wainwright
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How to Learn the Scottish Accent
People from the highlands sound much different from Glaswegians. (Scotland image by John Hofboer from

Speaking in a Scottish accent might seem like a fun thing to do, but if you need to learn it in order to fit in with your new environment, or maybe you must learn it for a part in a play. Whatever the reason, the first thing to understand is that there are many Scottish accents. In fact, a person from one part of Scotland might have difficulty understanding a fellow countryman from another area. The city accents are quite different from the more rural accents, which generally seem softer and less pronounced.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Visit Scotland, if possible. You will notice that Glasgow has arguably the strongest accent. Learn as much as you can about the Scottish culture. In addition to English, Scotland also has its own language, Gaelic. This is similar to Ireland's native language. Over the years, Gaelic has come to influence the way English is spoken in Scotland. Immersing yourself in the native tongue will help you pick up the accent, more easily.

  2. 2

    Read books written using the vernacular. A modern example is "Trainspotting," by Irvine Welsh. A well-written book that uses accents can help you "see" the word as it would be pronounced by a native. Watch Scottish films, though beware of those with "Hollywood" interpretations of the Scottish accent. Research Scottish expressions, such as using "wee" for "little."

  3. 3

    Learn some of the variations of accents found in the different parts of Scotland. A film like "The Pride of Miss Jean Brodie," will bring the more select Edinburgh accent to life for you. Do not forget to watch

    Scottish TV shows, soap operas and comedies. Rab (Rob) Nesbitt is a well known Scottish comedic character who has an extremely strong Glaswegian accent. You can find a You Tube clip of this character. Listen to BBC Scotland on your radio.

Tips and warnings

  • Record a Scottish voice, listen to the accent and repeat it, until you are confident you have got the accent mastered.

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