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  • Help with Scottish town/place names

    Greetings...

    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....

    So...

    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"?
    Uig...wig?
    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?
    Cupar...coo-par?
    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!

    TIA...

    Neil

  • #2
    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.

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    • #3
      stay away from Milngavie though

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      • #4
        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.

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