Since this summer we’re having our language immersion program in Edinburgh, Scotland, let’s talk a bit about “Scottish English” and learn a few words.
The majority of Scots these days speak English, or ‘Scottish English’ which is just a variety of English with a particular accent as well as with some distinct words and grammar turns.
Obviously, some Scots speak Scots, their native local language that some believe to be either a dialect of English or a different but closely-related language. It has been spoken in the area since the original Anglo-Saxon invasions, so in this regards, it could be said that it is as old as English itself. Most people who speak Standard English can overall understand something said in Scots.
Moreover, Edinburgh, or “embra” as it is colloquially called, is known for its great contrasts. There is the famously middle-class Morningside but also some traditionally working class neighbourhoods. Consequently, the emergence of a local dialect is no surprise.
These are just a few words that you are very likely to hear only in “embra.”
radge (n) – a wild, crazy, or violent person.
“We’d better stop and turn around. There’s a total radge standing on the corner looking for trouble.”
Scooby (n) – clue / idea
“He didn’t know anything about it. He didn’t have a Scooby.”
nash (v) – go away, move quickly, run
“Sorry, mate. I’ve got to nash. I’m late for the date.”
Edinburgh is also synonymous with culture, and of course, music. Many internationally-known musicians come from this city and from them all, Shirley Manson, the lead singer of the American alternative rock band Garbage may be one of the most famous ones. They have been active since 1993 and are still headlining major festivals worldwide. “Only Happy When It Rains” is a song they wrote and produced for their 1995 self-titled debut studio album. You can listen to it in the clip below and do the following gap-filling exercise to hone your listening skills! When you’re done, check here how well you did!
And if you want to listen to some colloquial Edinburgh accent, check out Trainspotting, the 1996 British black comedy crime film directed by Danny Boyle and starring Ewan McGregor among others. It is based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh and it shows the life of a group of heroin addicts in an economically depressed area of Edinburgh.
Hope you enjoy it.