Speaking Scottish is a project started in 2020 with the aim of providing an online resource for anyone wanting to learn about how people speak in Scotland.
Through interactions with people living in Scotland as learners of English as an Additional Language (EAL), Speaking Scottish founders Thomas Flower and Elly Darrah noticed that although such speakers had already learnt a great deal of “standard” English in the classroom, they still struggled to understand Scottish variations of English as well, of course, as Scots.
When trying to find online resources to help break down this communication barrier, much of what was available was either quite formal in approach or did not give the kind of context or explanations necessary for learners to feel confident using new language in their daily lives.
Speaking Scottish was therefore born out of a desire to fill this gap, creating an accessible, interactive online resource to help people to engage with the language and communities around them.
Why the Name “Speaking Scottish”?
We chose the name “Speaking Scottish” with the aim of being as inclusive as possible when it comes to different varieties of language spoken in Scotland. We do not aim to focus on any one specific language practice, be it Scottish English, Scots or any particular dialect. Furthermore, we recognise that there is a huge variety of language spoken in Scotland, including of course Gaelic. In our minds, any variety of language spoken in Scotland by those living here could happily fall under “Speaking Scottish”, and the further this project progresses, the more we hope to reflect this.
As we do not claim to be an authority on the way that language is – or “should” be – spoken in Scotland, we hope that no one will interpret any of our content as trying to set in stone what it means to “speak Scottish”. Language is a living, changing thing, and we will try to reflect this in our descriptions and depictions. In particular, we aim always to stress that variations apply, and that something being common in one place or among certain groups of people does not necessarily make it universal.
In growing this project, we hope to connect learners with materials which reflect the genuine ways that language is used and spoken in their areas. However, that does not mean that we won’t make mistakes or have oversights along the way. If you see something which you think we have covered incorrectly, or failed to cover, feel free to let us know. We are always keen to expand our own knowledge of how language is used throughout Scotland, and to share this with others.
We hope you find this website, and the resources available on it, useful and informative, and that it helps you to appreciate the varied and exciting ways that language is spoken throughout this country we share!