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Posted on September 14, 2014 · Posted in Linguistics

Scotland votes on independence on September 18th, 2014.

While businesses both sides of the border fret about the economic implications of an Independent Scotland, here at Teck Translations, we can see only a blossoming opportunity. If the English can fight hard enough, the Scots may be forced to drop English as their mother-tongue, create a new Scottish language, and we will be inundated with requests for cross-border translations.

You Can’t Have Our Pound Or Our English

Central to the Scottish Independence debate is the issue of currency. In the interests of simplicity and economic stability, an Independent Scotland would like to keep the British pound. This bold request is being fiercely contested by the English, who think it would be in both nations best interests if the relationship break-up was a clean one and Scotland took the trouble to find their own currency.

But what if the possessiveness extends beyond the tangible, into the realms of linguistics? Be warned Scotland. England may want its English back!

Speaking Scottish

A true Scottish patriot can eliminate a large chunk of the English words that pollute their daily conversations by adopting language made up entirely of words and phrases peculiar to Scotland.

Most Scottish words are English words written down in a way so as to reflect the accent, like ‘nae’ for ‘no’ and ‘auld’ for ‘old. However, there are a wealth of words in regular use in Scotland, with no direct English equivalent.

It would seem in Scotland, you can never have enough put downs. An idiot will be called a bampot, galoot or numpty. Something that is very dirty is ‘boggin’, ‘clorty’ or ‘manky’. Why use one word of criticism when you can so easily make up some more?

Some words are downright confusing. A ‘greeting’ is surely a good thing. A warm welcome, a friendly ‘hello’? Nope. If someone, especially a bonnie bairn (beautiful baby) is ‘greeting’ it means they are bawling, blubbing, crying.

‘Messages’ are in fact nothing to do with email, posts, texts or any other form of communication. If someone pops out to fetch the messages, it means they’ve gone food shopping. Messages are groceries. But food is also called ‘scran’. So you can only scoff some scran once you’ve fetched the messages.

Sterling-Lingo Negotiations

In the interests of cross-border harmony, let us put forth the following proposition: The English share their Sterling in return for a few stylish Scottish words.

Masters of poetry and expression that they are, the Scots have a wealth of words that if donated to the English language, could spruce up even the dullest memo, pamphlet or lecture.

There’s too many to list, and without prior approval from Scottish authorities, we could be in danger of linguistic thievery, so we’ve limited ourselves to a small selection of favorites:

Fusty: this of course means moldy. Say it out loud. It even sounds moldy.
Hoachin’: a very busy crowd. The word conjures an image of a wintery High Street packed with Christmas shoppers.
Keech: a bird poo. Scots must encounter a lot of this to designate it its very own word.
Stookey: a plaster cast for arm or leg. How much more enjoyable would a broken leg be if your doctor examined the x-ray, then declared "You’ll need a stookey on that".

Seriously though...

We aren’t really anticipating an influx of Scottish to English translation requests. But if you regularly communicate with clients or partners from English-speaking countries other than your own, we can help you make the transition between variations of the English language. Our cultural localization service handles all the quirks in spelling, grammar, meaning and cultural norms that arise when dealing with text from another country.