Scotland might appear to have one simple accent known as "Scottish," but in fact there are regional variations and dialects that can make a difference in the way words are pronounced. The west side of Scotland has the broadest accent, while the east side has a slightly softer version. The Highlands have an extremely soft accent that is almost like English with a slight Scots drawl. Depending on which region you prefer to imitate, there are ways to teach yourself how to pronounce words to get the best accent.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Be aware that the Scottish accent uses quite a bit of tongue movement toward the front of the mouth. By placing the tongue more toward the front of the mouth when enunciating words, you will create a broader accent. The word "Scottish" is a good place to start. In American it might sound like "Scuttish" but the Scots would say "Scortish" but without rolling the "r."
Listen carefully to Scottish people, such as Sean Connery, James McAvoy or David Tennant. Their accents may sound similar and some words will be the same, but the way they pronounce other words may be subtly different according to the region they're from.
Practice talking with a Scottish accent by using words that are associated with the language. Use words such as "I have not," which, in a Scottish accent, would sound like "ah have nae." Say the words "I cannot come" as "ah canny come."
Note that the Scots also use replacement dialect words, which could be construed as another language. For instance, "the little baby" translates to "tha wee bairn," and "I don't know" translates to "ah dinny ken."
Use Scottish words to accentuate the accent. If a Scottish word is used with a Scottish accent it can authenticate it a little better than just speaking a Scottish word with an American or English accent. For example, the sentence "I am going to the take the baby to the river for a picnic" might sound like "Ah'm gonny teak the wee bairn te the rivr f'r a pucnuc" if spoken in a Eastern Scottish accent, but in an West Scottish accent it might sound more like "Um gunny tak the wee'un ta the ruvur fe a pucnic."
Practice regularly using Scottish accents as your source. Watch movies with real Scottish actors as well as listening to American or English actors who have learnt the accent for a part in a show or a movie. How they learnt can help you to enunciate Scottish accents better by hearing the way they say their lines.
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