Tuesday, 6 January 2009


If you missed part one of your lesson, please go here.

Okay! Hopefully you're all caught up and ready and raring to go? (Rhetorical question. You made it here, you're obviously eager to learn.) So what now? What else do you need to know if you want to fit in with us Scots? I have more important teachings to impart, don't you worry . . .


First of all, it's probably essential for you to know a bit about the language. Like I said in my previous post, we DO speak English up here (well, some people speak Gaelic too, but I know bugger all about that, so let's stick to English, shall we?) But it may not entirely be an English you understand . . .

1) Right, so why don't we start with that old classic - "Och aye the noo!"

I can honestly say I have never heard a Scottish person say this with a straight face. There seems to be this perception we're walking about all over the place spouting that shit.

We're not.

It is, however, acceptable to say "aye" instead of "yes".

Not always considered POLITE though . . .

2) Occasionally, words will be pronounced in a COMPLETELY different way from what you would have expected. For example the verb "standing" all of a sudden becomes "stawnin'", much as the noun "hands" transforms itself into "hawns". "Now" is "noo". "Cow" is "coo".


a)my parents were teachers
b)I had five years of elocution lessons as a teenager and
c) frankly, I feel a bit stupid talking like that because it's not really natural to me . . .

. . . I personally don't actually talk like this. But I can just about UNDERSTAND it when other people do.

Hopefully, EVENTUALLY, you might too . . .

3) The word "bawbag" appears to be fairly popular. I've never been entirely sure what it actually MEANS though. Because I've heard it used in several different contexts and calling someone a "scrotum" seems to me pretty offensive in terms of insults . . .

4) Something I've noticed in both myself and several of my friends, is a tendency to use the word "pure" a lot in places it really doesn't fit. For example - "it was pure amazing." There is absolutely no need for the word there - it is completely redundant (much like the second half of this sentence). Yet we use it anyway. Don't judge.

5) A few insults you may like to fling at people? (apart from the aforementioned "bawbag", of course!) "Numpty". "Muppet". "Nugget". None of them are particularly offensive (in theory). But you'll get your point across. Oh, and my own personal favourite with sums up a particular breed of irritating (but harmless) person? "Fanny".

6) And since you'll probably be drinking a lot, what with all the whisky, how about some words to describe your drunken state? "Blootered." "Steamin'". "Moroculous." "Smashed". "Pissed". (Or, my own personal favourite - "passed out on the bedroom floor". Hold on, that's not Scottish, that's just me . . . )


Football (not the american kind, I'm talking soccer) is big in Scotland. But Glasgow has its own little - er - SITUATION you should be aware of . . . The Old Firm. More often than not in my living memory, Celtic and Rangers have battled it out for the top spot in the Premier League. Unfortunately, it's so much more than that. Due to all this history shit that I can't be arsed to go into (mainly because I really don't care enough to go and look it up) a big deal of the rivalry isn't so much to do with the skill of the footballers but instead a bit of a religious war between the Catholics and Protestants. So when someone asks which team you support, beware of your answer. Because it's not always a good idea to proclaim you're a Celtic supporter in the middle of a pub full of Rangers fans. ESPECIALLY if your team won that day. (Now THAT'S just suicide!)

There's loads of sectarian crap that goes on, and various people have told me how some Celtic fans refuse to wear blue and some Rangers fans hate green purely because they are the other team's colours (which apparently means the colour itself must be biased to the other religion as well, of course!). My mum works in a Catholic school and says that some of the kids refuse to use blue stationery. I mean, COME ON!!! It's going a bit far there, right?

You might notice the subheadings in this post are green. That's because yesterday the subheadings in my post were blue. So I don't want to be biased.

(Go Celtic! Ooops, pretend I didn't say that . . . )


As a schoolkid who didn't particularly like Physical Education, this was the bane of my life. In the run-up to Christmas every year, our P.E. classes would be devoted to Scottish Country Dancing. Which meant - ew! - dancing with BOYS! Which meant - even worse! - lining up against the wall waiting to be PICKED by a boy. And occasionally - nightmare of all nightmares! - having to go and pick a boy ourselves, which usually resulted in rumours that you fancied them. It was truly horrifying. And there was no way to escape!!!

I'm not very good at dancing as a twosome, in any sort of style. And I'm REALLY not a fan of ORGANISED dancing. So Scottish Country Dancing is NEVER something that has appealed to me. Some of the dance NAMES are kinda funny - "The Gay Gordon", for example? But the actual dancing itself??? No thank you!

For some unknown reason, ceilidhs (a grown up version of PE class) seem to be very popular here. I always avoid them like the plague. Why would anyone put themselves through this as a grown-up . . . WHEN THEY DON'T HAVE TO??? It truly mystifies me.

Although maybe it's more fun when alcohol is involved? I'm not really planning to find out.

That's me for now. But there's still more to come, for sure. The strange breed of Scot that is the NED, for example. Why our meal's names may confuse you. And, speaking of food, how about some of the strange things we eat . . . apart from haggis???

And if there's anything you've always wanted to know about Scotland . . . feel free to ask. I can't promise to know the answer (I've already proved I'm probably not REALLY an authority on my own country) but I'll certainly try my best to answer you!


  1. I love this so far Paula! The insults are awesome, rather confusing though "Hi,can I have chicken McNuggets please?" that would be a great insulting nickame then.."mcnuggets"..right? no? :(
    Regarding "aye", I have a friend from Glasgow who uses it when we chat, but I think he does it on purpose..I don't know :D

  2. The strange breed of Scot that is the NED, for example

    I've just read both of your guides and I was wondering how you could have let the NED pass you by! But, can't wait to read your take on them! :p

    And I have a question - is "Scottish Country Dancing" the same as reeling? I know reeling and ceilidhs are different (I think?!), right? Ceilidhs were big in St A ... naturally, with alcohol. I avoided.

    I'm pleased to say I have also avoided haggis!

    Great posts - I feel nostalgic now (although not about the weather; I'm sure it's freezing up there right now!)

  3. This is so fantastic! I definitely like the idea of calling someone a 'muppet'. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. My Scottish friend says 'bawbag' a lot, I think it's ace...basically 'ballbag' which is also funny. I think I might adopt it!

  5. No scottish terriers talk??


  6. Thrice - Hmm, yeah "McNugget" would probably be more suitable, coming to think of it, haha.

    Elle - not sure to be honest. but when i've unwillingly been subjected to ceilidh stuff (like when they've thrown it into the middle of an otherwise perfectly good night out) I've definitely recognised some of the dances from my SCD days!

    Brandy - Thank you! And please keep us updated on what happens after you throw the muppet insult! :)

    Pinkjellybaby - You definitely should! ;)

    Andy - I will try and investigate scottish terriers especially for you. :)
    I don't think they can talk though...

  7. FASCINATING. Personally, my favourite scottish word is 'havering' which I learned from a Proclaimers song. Can't wait to visit. I actually find the scottish accent a bit sexy...

    -Miss Em x

  8. haha I loved the bit about blue stationary. and now I feel so much more knowlegeable about the scottish lingo!

  9. Great terms. My very Scottish granny likes to say "I'll brain you" when mad. I'm not sure if that's a Scottish thing or a weird tea chugging Granny thing.

  10. bawbag and fanny just made me laugh :o) If i was called a fanny, I would be deeply offended!

    I think scottish people have a great sense of humour as a whole... Providing you can understand what they're saying!

    p.s if you want to take part in the "BS" thing on my blog, let me know when you're ready xx

  11. Ha.... " Muppet " is one of my favourite petty insults! It comes in really well when you have road rage " You CAN'T cut me off at the roundabout you freaking muppet!! "

    Also, it is completely acceptable to call someone a "bawbag". Although, down here in Australia, its just plain old " scrotum ".

  12. Brilliant, i might do an English person living in Scotland version....!

    My favourite term is bawheid... which im told means your head looks like a football rather than a scrotum! If not to be too rude i also love 'fud' as an insult too.

  13. Loving these posts.

    My grandmother (a MacIsaac) spoke some Gaelic. But all I ever learned how to say is "kiss my ass." Which won't surprise anyone that knows me.

    Especially like the football stuff. I feel like I'd be a Celtic fan.

  14. Haha, what I find particularly funny is that I read all those lingo words allowed in an attempted scottish accent. Made me giggle.

  15. miss em - in theory the scottish accent is sexy. once you hear a "ned" speak though (more info in my next post), you may rethink that.

    laundramatic - glad to be of service!

    meghan - i think it might be both . . .

    emmie - i think "fanny" is such a great insult, cos it's really not that offensive. but i do know a few people who would be offended by it anyway! (I'll send you a message about the BS thing shortly)

    amy - you call people "scrotums" in australia. why have i never heard THAT on "home and away" or "neighbours"???

    wee h - you should do a post on that, yeah! also, i love the word "fud" as well. forgot about that one!

    peter - how do you say kiss my ass in gaelic? i can't say ANYTHING in it, so you're three words ahead of me!

    LCT - that's the correct way to do it. and the funniest! :)

  16. Pogue mahon = kiss my ass.

  17. Paula - you've never heard that term on " home and away " or " neighbours " because the people on those shows are polite.

    I never claimed that I, nor my family, nor my friends are polite....

  18. "aye, ur pure fit min! Hae ye ge msn?"

    Aberdonians are a breed to themselves. The Glasgow accent is starting to sound very sophisticated to me..

    I love using the word "fanny".. "pap" is quite good as well. Scottish people are quite good at insulting people without actually insulting people. :D



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