How to do a Scottish Accent. Probably Part 1, but I maybe won’t bother with part 2. Who can say?
Today, or was it yesterday, I didn’t “get” a joke, this is until I re-read the joke in an English accent. (Tilly, this is no criticism of you, only of me and my slow brain. Love your work). It was based on “morning” and “mourning” being homophones. Just like how that Joseph song doesn’t rhyme very well north of the border *drew back the curtain…ah-ah-ah… to see for certain…*
Not long after, a (Scottish-but-living-in-England) friend was lamenting her child’s school’s efforts to convince her child that the sound “or” should be pronounces “aw”.
You see, “aw” has no r in it. How can it be a representation of “or”?
Ah, you don’t pronounce the “r”. So, what’s the point in the “r”?
ANYWAY For the benefit of all people wanting to put on a good Scottish accent, here are the basics:
1. The Scottish Vowel Length Rule aka Aitken’s law (I think)
Although I don’t know what the rule is, as such, it manifests itself in the following quirks. In Scots the word “greed” is said with a short “ee” sound, whereas in the word “agreed”, the vowel length is longer, as in the rest of the English speaking world (except perhaps Canada). The same variation can be seen with “tide” where the vowel is short and “tied” where the vowel is long, unlike in other accents where these words are identical to the ear.
2. The Glottal Stop
Or should that be glo’al? If you miss out “t” in the middle of a word, it helps with the Sco’ish accent, particularly if you are going for a casual, informal one.
3. Pronounce the ‘h’ in ‘wh’
In most accents, the ‘h’ has been lost. So that Wales and Whales become the same thing. Alarming. And if you whine about wine, you might as well be wining about whine, which would make no sense. You pronounce it by kind of blowing a bit. Makes “whisper” a bit more onomatopoeic, I reckon.
4. Preserve the x phoneme
It is the ch in loch, Pitlochry and Auchtermuchty. It does not sound like ck. Ever. Except, sadly it is fading out a bit. To make the sound, open your mouth, raise the back of your tongue up and exhale, making a noise like a hiss of a gas lamp, over your tongue.
And now to practise, use these:
Which witch whined about the wine?
As the tide came in I tied my shoelaces.
Bottle of white wine.
To finish, I leave you with this song from The Proclaimers. Sing along now… (please suffer the few seconds of advert that precedes the quality Scottish singing)