Go Back   Scotland Discussion Forum > Culture > Language


Help with Scottish town/place names

LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
  #1 (permalink)  
Old 2nd February 2015, 06:22
bendmac's Avatar
bendmac bendmac is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Bend/Central Oregon
Posts: 5
Help with Scottish town/place names


So as to not sound like a complete eejit when we come over for a visit in August, I was wondering if one of you kind "in country" folks could help me out with some name pronunciations. Tried to find some info on the internet but didn't find much...

I consider myself pretty good at English, but on our last trip, I quickly learned that the rules we normally apply to English don't apply to "Scottish"...I called Loch Lomond just as it's spelled (with the 'D'), entirely screwed up Smithwicks (pronounced it like it's spelled and was gently corrected to "Smitticks"). I DID get Edinburgh and Glasgow right, though! Had a lot of fun when someone asked us if we'd seen "Hamish, the wee orrey elan coo"...it was only when we actually SAW him that some of the language became a bit more manageable for our Americanized ears....


Oban...O (long O) bawn? O (long O) ban? O (long O) ben?
Mallaig..."ma-log", "mal-ig" or something else?
Portree..."por-tree" or "port-ree"?
Nairn...nair (like 'hair') with an 'n' on the end, or nairn (rhymes with darn)?
Elgin...I was corrected on this from "El-gin (like the drink) to "El-gin (hard 'g'), yes?
Lasswade...loss-wade? Loss-wad-e?

Thanks much for the advice...in no way do I want to embarrass myself by trying to "talk like a local" (complete with my version of a fake Scottish accent), but by at least pronouncing thing correctly, perhaps folks will know I cared enough to do my homework!


Reply With Quote
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 2nd February 2015, 09:51
lostinnz lostinnz is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: NZ
Posts: 118
Your not too bad with your translation at all.

I guess a lot of it depends on where you come from in Scotland. There are us common working class folks, then there are your upper class ones who pronounce everything differently.

As an east coaster I would pronounce them as follows:

Oban - O bin, emphasis on the O
Mallaig - well just m' laig as in M'lady.
Portree - same as you thought. Por treeee
Uigg (on Skye?) - yoo ig
Nairn - as in the hair removal cream with an n
Elgin - correct. Hard g.
Cupar - coopir
Lasswade - just as it sounds. lass wade. (though happy to be corrected on that one)

Just as well you are not visiting other places in Fife apart from Cupar (although no idea why you would visit there - go to medieval Falkland instead, its just along the road) -
Anstruther - enster
Yetts o Muchart - yets o muchart but you need to practice that clearing of the throat noise for the ch....none of that english K as in lock lomond.
Kilconquer - pronounced kinnucher.

But don't worry. You will be fine with your american accent. Prounouncing our towns incorrectly with an English accent is slightly different.
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 17th February 2015, 15:25
tig's Avatar
tig tig is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Glasgow, Scotland
Posts: 2,014
stay away from Milngavie though
Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 17th February 2015, 17:53
ANDY-J3 ANDY-J3 is offline
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Grangemouth.
Posts: 1,751
I'd avoid Torphichen and Ecclefechan as well.
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."

- Martin Luther King Jr.
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 14:52.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.0.0 RC4 © 2006, Crawlability, Inc.