Document 1411

Interview 10: Orkney woman talking about languages in Scotland

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): Dr Holger Schmitt, SCOTS Project

Audio transcription

M865 Okay, eh now you've got many languages and dialects and accents in Scotland //um//
F948 //uh-huh//
M865 all of Scotland. Eh what languages and dialects do you know of?
F948 Mm well you get the, in Aberdeen you the ehm //is it the Doric?//
M865 //Uh-huh yeah.//
F948 Doric [inaudible] and then there's the Gaelic,
M865 mmhm //yeah, yeah.//
F948 //Scottish Gaelic and there's Irish Gaelic,// [throat] eh but it'll just be the a local dialects like ken different parishes have different //sorta accents.//
M865 //Yeah.//
F948 No not pacific dialects, but just ken no a name for the dialect but just different
M865 Yeah, okay. //Well what, Shetlands.//
F948 //accents like Shetland's completely different fae Orkney.//
M865 Right yeah, wanna go there tomorrow, well tonight really //to the Shetlands, catch the ferry tonight, yeah, see what it's like//
F948 //Right? Yes, mmhm, yes, mmhm, yeah//
M865 ehm so you've mentioned Shetlands, Orkneys
F948 mmhm and like the north islands o Orkney are different sorta fae the //mainland o Orkney,//
M865 //Yeah,// //okay, okay the, the north isles would be different, okay//
F948 //yeah, yeah [inaudible] Westray, S-, Stronsay, Sanday,//
M865 yeah?
F948 there's different, //they've got different sorta dialect.//
M865 //mm//
F948 Westray's quite strong.
M865 Right. //What about mainland Scotland?//
F948 //mmhm// //yes,//
M865 //You've mentioned the Doric in Aberdeen,//
F948 mmhm //I think, eh I ca- I can't think o any other ones but there's different, I suppose just different areas have a different//
M865 //Any other uh-huh okay, mm mm// //yeah that's right, yeah.//
F948 //different sorta accent.//
M865 Ehm do you think there's any typical Scottish accent er or any any accent or dialect that represents Scotland best where you would say, okay this is typical Scot- Scotland or Scottish.
F948 Ehm I don't know, I suppose your Glaswegian's quite a, quite a distinct one //I think.//
M865 //Yeah, yeah.//
F948 I think most o folk would recognize //Aberdonian or Glaswegian accent.//
M865 //uh-huh, okay// Ehm what about your own accent, how would you describe your own accent?
F948 Just typical Orcadian, //yes, yes.//
M865 //Yeah? Okay.// Well I can't tell the difference eh //not,//
F948 //I know.//
M865 you know, my ear's not f- fine-tuned enough,
F948 No. //[cough] You probably would, yeah.//
M865 //ehm but if I lived here I, I would probably be able to tell, yeah.//
F948 There's, the Orcadian accent and the Welsh accent are supposed to be quite similar, //yes, mmhm, mmhm, yeah.//
M865 //Everybody tells me, well many people tell me, it's interesting, yeah.//
F948 An we had, we actually had friends here from Australia aboot a mon- six weeks ago,
M865 uh-huh
F948 and he was actually Welsh originally.
M865 Right.
F948 And eh he certainly had the sorta, //bit o the sing-, ken sing-song accent like what we have//
M865 //uh-huh// Yeah, that might be an interesting research topic [laugh], //to find out the differences and similarities between Orkney dialect and, and Welsh, Welsh dialect.//
F948 //Yeah, yes, mmhm, mmhm, mmhm, mmhm, yeah.//
M865 Mmhm. Ehm what dialects do you like best? Is there any dialect where you would say, "Okay I enjoy listening to that"? //uh-huh//
F948 //I like listenin to Shetland ones.//
M865 Right, why's that? Can you //ah//
F948 //I don't know, it's just// y- I think you'll notice it when you go there, there is, there's just a, I don't know what it is; it's just got a nice
M865 mmhm //mm mm//
F948 //a very broad an I just, there's just got a nice accent, I don't know what it is, it just seems to appeal.//
M865 mm Any accent or dialect or language in Scotland that you don't particularly like, where you'd say, "mm, no, I don't enjoy listening to that", or, "It puts me off", or something?
F948 No I don't think so.
M865 mm
F948 Mm no, I don't think so, no I think you would get, be parts o England I think would have a accent that you wouldna like,
M865 Yeah, //yeah, no//
F948 //like Liverpudlian and, and Newcastle, I wouldna be so keen on that but no, no, I think most o// //Scottish [inaudible] I suppose it's similar to Orcadian anyway, a lot o the words//
M865 //huh, huh.// Yeah.
F948 [cough]
M865 Ehm you've mentioned both accent and dialect, //what's the difference for you?//
F948 //mmhm// //[laugh]//
M865 //Or is is, does it mean the same?//
F948 well I suppose it means the sameehm [tut] [exhale] couldna really explain it, there's certain weys that ken that we would say something maybe slightly different fae what Shetland people would say //like oh//
M865 //[inaudible]//
F948 an like oh probably you would say 'small' //we say 'peedy'//
M865 //Uh-huh, uh-huh, yeah.//
F948 but Orc- Shetland they say 'peery'.
M865 Okay //Right, so//
F948 //Or some places in Scotland would say 'wee'//
M865 uh-huh //yeah that's right, I, I know 'wee', yeah.//
F948 //[inaudible] that would be, yes, mmhm, mm//
M865 So that would be examples for a different //dialect? Okay, right.//
F948 //mmhm, I would say so, different, yes, yeah.//
M865 A different accent would be just a matter of //pronunciation, is that?//
F948 //mmhm I think so, yes// //yeah, mmhm.//
M865 //Yeah, okay.// Right ehm now you've got your own parliament in Scotland now since nineteen ninety-nine,
F948 mmhm
M865 and you can determine language political issues as well, ehm first of all talking about schools uh what, what do you think, what languages, foreign languages should be taught at school?
F948 well I think, I think they aa should be, or as many as, I think they'll do they'll do French, German, it's just sort of //understood that they do French, German.//
M865 //mmhm, mmhm//
F948 I think they should do as many as, because I find, find that I don't speak any foreign languages masel but I find that people comin here, //ken it doesna matter where you go//
M865 //mmhm// //mmhm//
F948 //Spanish, [inaudible]// //they can all speak English, they seem to be far more//
M865 //mmhm, mmhm, yeah// //Yeah.//
F948 //educated that way than what we are,// //so I think they should all be, as many//
M865 //That's right, yeah.// //Yeah.//
F948 //languages as it's, well, s- sens- ken,// //within reason I suppose.//
M865 //Yeah.// What, what about ehm Gaelic, should Gaelic be taught //in Scotland//
F948 //[exhale]// Well I think it wouldna hurt tae r-, //to rev-, it wouldna hurt to revive it I wouldna think.//
M865 //Sorry? Okay, uh-huh// yeah, //okay, mmhm, mmhm.//
F948 //So it's more kinda, Gaelic is more the west coast// ken [inaudible] a lot o people assume because we're //in the north o Scotland that we speak it as weel, but we don't, it's just the l- doon the west coast, yeah.//
M865 //Mm, mm yeah, that's right, yeah.// //Some remainders in in the Highlands but mainly in the west coast,//
F948 //In the, yes.// //Yes, that's right, that's right.//
M865 //We- Western Isles, yeah, mm// //mm//
F948 //I think wouldna hurt to, to learn them it,// I mean we used to learn Latin, I mean they used to teach Latin at school so I'm sure it'd be more like sense to teach //Gaelic wouldn't it?//
M865 //Yeah,// well I mean Latin is, //in, in Germany at least if you want to study medicine or history or something you would, you would need to, to know Latin//
F948 //Yes, you need it then, yes, yeah, mmhm// //that's right.//
M865 //eh,// but ehm okay. Ehm what about teachers, eh what language or dialect or accents should teachers use in class and encourage in cla- in class?
F948 Well we were aw encouraged tae speak //what was supposed to be proper English,//
M865 //mm//
F948 but I think it's gaun to come that's it's gaun tae die, like, well Orcadian's gaun tae die oot.
M865 mm
F948 It's too, ye ken, nothing against incomers or anything like that but I think it is gettin that it's //kinda really strong Orcadian accent is gettin less//
M865 //mm, mm// //so//
F948 //but eh I don't know what ye would// what would be the best for that, I don't know.
M865 mm //So, well I mean//
F948 //I really don't know.//
M865 you could say that teachers should use and encourage the local dialect. //Yeah.//
F948 //I think so,// //I think so, yeah,//
M865 //mm//
F948 because I think it is gaun tae die oot //g-//
M865 //mm// //yeah//
F948 //ken, as, as generations go doon//
M865 mm //yeah, yeah//
F948 //and o- I wouldna like to see it die oot either, ken?//
M865 mm
F948 But don't know.
M865 mm Have you ever heard the term 'Scots' not referring to the people but referring to your language, the Scots language?
F948 mmhm, mmhm
M865 What do you mean by that?
F948 [laugh] Eh I suppose, it means Scottish language, as opposed tae English like, oh [tut] oh like how do you explain that? [exhale] //There is words, Scotch words that are not in the English//
M865 //mm// //mmhm, mm, mm//
F948 //in, in the English language.// I can't think o anything though, can't.
M865 Mm well who speaks Scots? Does everybody in Scotland speaks Scots or
F948 I would say so,
M865 uh-huh //Yeah, yeah.//
F948 //people that are born an, born an brought up in Scotland? Yes.//
M865 Okay, ehm actually linguists would say that Scots or label Scots eh as the variety that was used by, for example, Robert Burns, //and//
F948 //mmhm//
M865 way before that eh and which todie- today survives in a number of dialects,
F948 mmhm //mmhm, mmhm, mmhm//
M865 //for example Glaswegian, Aberdonian, Orcadian, Shetlandic, er// so it would be an umbrella term really for, for all thesedialects that survive
F948 Yeah //I would say so//
M865 //today from from// //well say sixteenth, fifteenth century ehm//
F948 //mmhm, mmhm, mmhm//
M865 so that's what linguists think of, of Scots. //Now there's, there's people ehm in the government and also private people//
F948 //yeah//
M865 ehm who would like to eh give Scots greater prominence in Scotland, //eh be it in the media, eh be it in, in writing//
F948 //uh-huh// //uh-huh//
M865 //ehm// maybe even, you know, reviving Scots, inventing new words for Scots ehm what do you think of that?
F948 I think it's got, yes I think it it should be encouraged. //I think if//
M865 //mm//
F948 them that want tae do it I think they should be //yes, yes, I do.//
M865 //Okay, yeah// okay. Ehm how should this be done? What should people do, //in order to encourage it?//
F948 //[laugh]// //[laugh] Yeah, I know, I don't know, but ehm.//
M865 //[laugh] I mean all these difficult questions! [laugh] Yeah.// I mean there's so many suggestions eh it's really hard to know what to do,
F948 I know, I know //ehm//
M865 //um// for example eh people could produce more writings in Scots, publish in Scots //use it on, on radio and television.//
F948 //Yes but yes and on which is on// //on the media I suppose would be//
M865 //Yeah, yeah.//
F948 [exhale] yeah, //I would say that would be the best way would be through the media,//
M865 //mm, mm// //Okay.//
F948 //sort of.//
M865 Right, can I just show you something? //[cough]//
F948 //mmhm//
M865 This is a, a children's books, book by a publisher called Itchycoo, //ehm and they do, yeah,//
F948 //Right, ne- "Blethertoun Braes".//
M865 they do all kinds of children's books eh and all in Scots, what they think Scots is, so maybe you can just take a look at any of the story and then //tell me what you think about it.//
F948 //[tut] oh yeah [laugh]// I would say that's s- sorta Aberdonian, sorta
M865 mmhm
F948 [?]Poor wee[/?] [inaudible] [laugh] That seems, that would seem kinda more like wur plants //rows an rows o neeps.//
M865 //mm// Joe dug //so that's more like//
F948 //yeah// //an some of it would be kinda like the gairdner, that's what we would say as well//
M865 //which, yeah// mm
F948 "he pulls them oot an stuffs them doon his breeks", we would say that as weel That is really strong Scotch, //Yes.//
M865 //'[inaudible] faimly', yeah,// //uh-huh faimly, yeah.//
F948 //Faimly, that's what we would call it, a faimly.// [inaudible] Yeah I would say that's very strong Scottish.
M865 mm In general do you think this is a good idea, to publish something like that? //mm//
F948 //Yes, there's, yeah,// nothing wrong wi it, I would say.
M865 mm Would you like your children to read something like that if they were //this age, mm//
F948 //Yeah, [inaudible], yeah.// But yeah we've got eh peedy grandbairns an I think it's fine if you, like some folk if they're brought up oot in the country
M865 mm //mmhm, mmhm, mm//
F948 //an he's really quite, quite broad an a lot o folk are quite tickled at him ye ken, cause he speaks.// No I think there should be more o this //but, yeah,//
M865 //Okay// //yeah, good.//
F948 //that's quite good.// Quite good. [cough] 'efternuin', that's what we would speak aboot too, 'efternuin', //yes, that's quite good//
M865 //[laugh]//
F948 [inaudible] quite tickled at that.
M865 mmhm
F948 [cough]
M865 Ehm this is a printout from the Scottish parliament website //ehm//
F948 //mmhm//
M865 you can find it on the internet, maybe you can just also take a look at this one and say what you think about this one.
F948 [tut] [inhale] I don't know if I'm so keen on that,
M865 mmhm
F948 mind you you have to re- sit an read it an think aboot it //[laugh] whauras if it's written in proper English ye, ye just o- ye ken it's easier.//
M865 //[laugh] yeah, yeah// So
F948 I think if I do- oh I don't know that does seem a bit kinda stupid, encouragin the Scottish but I'm no so keen on that //type o thing written in Scottish.//
M865 //Mmhm, okay.// So many, actually many people react like you, //they like this one//
F948 //mmhm// //mmhm//
M865 //but they're rather critical about this one,// //now why is it,//
F948 //Yes.//
M865 that you, you like this one but you don't like this one? Is it the language? Is it the fact that it's published by the, the Scottish Parliament?
F948 No it's no because it's Scottish Pa-, no I think it's //that's more a fun thing if you ken what I mean//
M865 //mmhm, mmhm, okay//
F948 [exhale] I'll tell you what it is it's cause we don't see any kinda government papers written //in the Scottish language.//
M865 //Okay.//
F948 I think we're used to that, all that kinda, ye ken?
M865 Yeah. //mmhm, yeah//
F948 //Any kinda legal paper, bank thing or anything like that, it's aways written in proper English, an I think that's what it is is that's cause that's new.// //Yes I know but//
M865 //Okay, yeah, but that's new too isn't it?// //This is low-key [laugh] uh-huh.//
F948 //[inaudible] yes, mmhm, mmhm//
M865 Would you like the Scottish government to publish papers, official papers in Scots as well?
F948 [laugh] I don't know. //It's kinda difficult one I think, yeah.//
M865 //[laugh] Yeah I know I, it's, it's completely new to most people// Eh I think so far nobody has s- no- no- nobody has ever seen this one //mmhm//
F948 //I think it would be okay once you got used to it.//
M865 yeah.
F948 I think it's just the fact that it's ehm //you don't expect it to be written in Scottish I think that's what it is, isn't it?//
M865 //Mm, yeah, yeah, that's right, yeah.// Now ehm we've taken a look at two modern texts in Scots, //now, the children's books and the Parliament website,//
F948 //Right, uh-huh// mm.
M865 ehm if you could take a look at this one ehm now at the moment Scots define as the language spoken by some people in the Lowlands and also in the, in the northern ehm islands, //comprising various dialects like for example Glaswegian and Orcadian,//
F948 //mmhm//
M865 Doric is almost only used for private conversation. In which of the following language situations would you also welcome the use of Scots?
F948 Well it wouldna h- be wrong in the new, road signs,
M865 Sorry, it would be? //Okay.//
F948 //it would be okay on the road signs I would say,// private letters an emails,
M865 mmhm
F948 books ehm, as a medium at teachin a school eh subject.
M865 Mmhm well you could use Scots //well basically that's what you said at, early on eh I mean that teachers should use the, the local dialect//
F948 //Yeah, that's right, yeah, mmhm// //mmhm, mmhm, mmhm//
M865 //and if they speak eh Doric they should use Doric at school,// eh that would be the medium of teaching, //or you, you could make it the subject of teaching eh but you actually teach Scots grammar,//
F948 //yeah, yeah, mmhm// //No.//
M865 //cause Scots grammar is not the same as English grammar for example.//
F948 ehm [inaudible] academic texts would be [tut] //What like would that be unless you had it in both because like if you have foreign students comin to Glasgow and Edinburgh,//
M865 //mmhm, mmhm, mmhm, mm// //mm definitely yeah//
F948 //they might struggle wi that would they no?// Ye ken, whauras //so you would need to have both I think//
M865 //yeah, yeah// //mmhm//
F948 //for that.// Same wi oh where is, maybe wi the names put first you, I don't know ehm I don't know, wh- trav- travel guides would be
M865 Well travel guides would be for Scots people travelling for example to Spain //eh you could write a s- travel guide for Spain in Scots, mmhm, yeah.//
F948 //Oh yeah well that's true, oh yes, yes, you could do that, yeah// //yeah but that'd be just like havin a travel guide in French.//
M865 //mm//
F948 Yeah.
M865 mm //So you said road signs in Scots would be fine, private letters,//
F948 //yeah, yeah// //yeah, mmhm//
M865 //children's books, I mean you've seen this one// eh travel guides, non-ficti-, fiction books in, in general, //websites of companies and government bodies//
F948 //mmhm//
M865 you're a bit critical?
F948 That's a kinda iffy one that, //I'm no sure aboot that one,//
M865 //Yeah, yeah// //okay,//
F948 //yeah.//
M865 formal official speeches?
F948 Well yes if they're, yeah, company announcements, //yeah, I would say//
M865 //mmhm//
F948 yeah but see if you're gaun to be teachin [inaudible] as a subject at school as weel I think you'll need to have aa this, will ye no?
M865 Sorry, you, you would
F948 Ye would need to hiv, I don't know, you know the official speeches an that would need to be in Scotch as weel, would it no? //I think so, yeah,//
M865 //mmhm// //Okay, right okay.//
F948 //yeah.// I think so [laugh], //[laugh] [inaudible] yes//
M865 //[laugh] I know it's a hard challenge, this hour, okay,// //but can we just finish off with a brief questionnaire concerning yourself//
F948 //uh-huh// //oh right//
M865 //an then that's it [laugh]// and so that's just to get some background information, could you give me the decade of your birth, //please? Okay.//
F948 //In the forties, nineteen-forties.//
M865 Where were you born?
F948 In Harray, that's a parish in Orkney.
M865 Oh right, okay ehm how long have you been living in Scotland? //Okay.//
F948 //Eh aa me life I've been in Orkney, yeah.// //mmhm, mmhm.//
M865 //And also all your life in Orkney, in Orkney? Mmhm okay.// What's your occupation?
F948 Eh just a cleaner.
M865 Okay, ehm you married? //Yeah,//
F948 //Yes.// //He's a//
M865 //what's your husband's occupation?//
F948 eh depot supervisor //for B.P.//
M865 //Okay// okay eh and finally how strongly do you feel British, Scottish, English and any other from zero meaning 'not at all' eh to four meaning 'very much or very strongly' //Okay.//
F948 //Weel I would put a two for that bein British,// eh Scottish I would say aboot a three
M865 Okay.
F948 English not at all.
M865 Okay.
F948 But I would be an Orcadian very much, number four [laugh]. //[laugh]//
M865 //Most Orcadian- Orcadians would agree [laugh].// //Okay thank you very much.//
F948 //[laugh]// Is that okay? //[laugh]//
M865 //Yeah, that's brilliant.//

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Information about Document 1411

Interview 10: Orkney woman talking about languages in Scotland


Audio audience

Adults (18+)
For gender Mixed
Audience size 1

Audio awareness & spontaneity

Speaker awareness Aware
Degree of spontaneity Spontaneous

Audio footage information

Year of recording 2005
Recording person id 865
Size (min) 22
Size (mb) 85

Audio setting


Audio relationship between recorder/interviewer and speakers

Speakers knew each other N/A

Audio transcription information

Transcriber id 631
Year of transcription 2005
Year material recorded 2006
Word count 3238

Audio type



Participant details

Participant id 865
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1960
Educational attainment University
Age left school 18
Occupation University teacher / researcher
Country of birth Germany
Place of residence Bridge of Allan
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Engineer
Father's country of birth Germany
Mother's occupation Housewife
Mother's country of birth Germany


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work
German Yes Yes Yes Yes Mother tongue


Participant details

Participant id 948
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1940
Educational attainment GCSEs/O-Grades
Age left school 15
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Housewife / part-time cleaner
Place of birth Harray
Region of birth Orkney
Birthplace CSD dialect area Ork
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Kirkwall
Region of residence Orkney
Residence CSD dialect area Ork
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Stone mason
Father's place of birth Harray
Father's region of birth Orkney
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Ork
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Shop assistant
Mother's place of birth Sanday
Mother's region of birth Orkney
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Ork
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes