An Introduction To The Glaswegian Dialect

It might seem a bit odd to be talking about a different dialect in the specific context of the city of Glasgow, but if you’ve ever paid a visit to this area you will no doubt have clocked that the local language is noticeably different from other parts of Scotland. If you’re from elsewhere in the UK and you’ve only just gotten used to the Edinburgh dialect, or the Aberdeen dialect, then you now have another one to get your head around! In Glasgow, however, you will find the locals very pleased to help out any tourists struggling to find their way around the city, or looking for recommendations on what to eat, see and do. So that you can understand what you’re told by friendly locals looking to help out, here’s a brief introduction to the Glaswegian dialect.

The Glasgow Patter

Also known as ‘The Glasgow Patter,’ Glaswegian is spoken in and around the city of Glasgow. The dialect is a combination of Highland English, West Mid Scots and Hiberno-English, and has recently begun to also show elements of London cockney and other Anglicisms. The locals (or ‘weegies’ as they have named themselves) have also incorporated a whole range of street language, rhyming slang, local cultural references and nicknames into Glaswegian, all of which can present quite a challenge to an outsider trying to find somewhere to get a cup of tea. As a starting point to getting to grips with the Glaswegian dialect, here are a few words and phrases that might come in useful.

Popular Colloquialisms

“Gonnae..” – are you or will you
“Hiya hen, how are ye?: – hello love how are you (usually to a woman)
“Kin ye..” – can you
“Kin ah get a poke a chips please?” – can I have a bag of chips please?
“The Toon” – the centre of Glasgow
“Nae Borra” – no trouble at all
“Gonny no dae that” – stop doing that
“Gimee a gobble” – can I have a beer please?
“Stoatin Aff The Grun” – it’s raining very heavily (and bouncing off the ground)
“A wee donner round the park” – a walk around the park
“Shoot the craw” – leave in a hurry
“Ah huvnae a Scooby” – I’ve got no idea
“Wheesht!” – shut up
“A’m fae…” – I’m from…
“Haud on please” – hold on please
“Ho ye!” – excuse me
“Whit’s yer name?” – what’s your name
“A’im sairy.” – I’m sorry
“A dinna kin!” – I don’t understand
“A pure like it.” – I really like it
“Coorie up!” – hurry up
“Whit’s the time?” – what’s the time


Visiting Glasgow can prove tricky even for English speakers

Glasgow Slang

In addition to these basic words and phrases, below is a (non exhaustive) list of words that are commonly used by weegies: Cludgie – toilet
Wean – child
Maw and Paw – mum and dad
Muckle – big
Wee – small
Braw – brilliant
Baltic – very cold
Ane – one
Twa – two
Fower – four
The day – today
Guttin – hungry

Although it can seem pretty daunting trying to get to grips with Glaswegian, after a little while in the city your ears will soon get used to the different way of speaking. In fact, you might even start picking up a few of local words and phrases – Lang may yer lum reek!

John wrote this guest post on behalf of National Car Hire Glasgow.

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