Why Learn to “Speak Scottish”?

If you’ve read What is “Speaking Scottish”?, you should now have an idea of what we mean when we talk about “Scottish”. But now the most important question: why is this relevant to you, and what are the benefits of learning about the different ways people speak in Scotland?

1. Understand the World Around You 

Let’s start with the most obvious thing: if you are more able to understand what the people around you are saying, you’ll find it much easier to get around Scotland and engage with local people or communities.

Just like with anywhere else in the world, being able to understand and use language the way it is commonly used locally can make your life a lot easier. For example, many people who have just arrived in Scotland may struggle with communicating in situations such as:

  • Getting the bus
  • Making themself understood at the supermarket
  • Ordering food
  • Socialising with new flatmates, colleagues or other locals
  • Following Scottish comedy or sense of humour

Being able to communicate in these kinds of situations is of course very important if you are living in Scotland. Without being able to understand other people, you may find it difficult to get as much out of your life in this country as you might want.

2. Delve Deeper into Scottish Culture

On a broader level, an understanding of types of Scottish language can also help you to better get to grips with the culture of Scotland. This could include:

  • Common types of greetings and social interactions
  • Scottish celebrations and traditions
  • TV and film
  • History
  • Music
  • Literature and poetry
  • Regional differences between parts of Scotland

As in any country, the more you understand the culture that is happening around you, the more likely you are to start feeling part of it and be able to participate in the types of activities that interest you.

Even if you are not in Scotland, you may be interested in learning about a culture and place in the world that you are otherwise not familiar with. Learning about a new country and its customs is always an interesting and rewarding experience, and Scotland certainly has its own unique quirks for you to discover!

3. Improve Your Language Skills

If you’ve read this far, we’re going to assume that you already know a bit of English. Whether you are a confident speaker, speak English as a first language or still have a lot of study ahead of you, you may be wondering whether learning about Scottish language practices is worth your time. 

So far, we have talked about practical and cultural reasons to learn about how language is spoken in Scotland. But what if you are thinking purely about your language skills? 

Especially if you don’t plan to live long term in Scotland, you may wonder how helpful it would be to understand more about speaking “Scottish”. Part of the answer is: an important aspect of learning a language is understanding different accents and dialects. If you are aiming for advanced fluency, it is worth remembering that there are all sorts of varieties of language out in the world which you won’t find taught in a typical classroom. Learning to speak “Scottish” may take your language skills to the next level!

What’s more, familiarity with Scottish accents and dialects may help you understand other language varieties. For example, for historical reasons, the way that many people in Northern England and Ireland speak often overlaps with what you will hear in Scotland.

If you tend to travel less by foot and more via a screen, you are also sure to find Scottish voices appearing in a lot of media – even that made outside of Scotland or the UK. Being able to recognise and understand these ways of talking could potentially transform your enjoyment of a film or TV series, and will certainly be a mark of your improved language skills!

4. For Fun!

Finally, and the most important reason in our opinion, is that learning to speak “Scottish” is fun! There is so much to discover about living, breathing language which you would be unlikely to find in your textbooks or traditional English lessons. And, as you build your knowledge of the ways that people talk here, you may find a whole new way of looking at the English language, and at language learning in general. Or maybe you’ll just learn about tattie scones and Highland coos. Either way we’d like to think you’ll have gained something valuable and had a good time doing it!

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