Fear at not being able to understand strong Scottish accents

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Anonymous #1
#1
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#1
Hi everyone, first time posting here so massive apologies if I selected the wrong forum!

I've lived in Cambridgeshire for most of my life and have a fairly generic accent for here, I tend to think of it as watered down RP. I've applied to five Scottish unis for a myriad of reasons; I prefer the politics up there, the climate, and in general think it's a much more interesting place than England.

My grandparents live on the west coast of Scotland and occasionally have an old friend of theirs over when I visit, the problem being that I often find it incredibly difficult to understand what he's saying. His accent is so thick (and the deepness of his voice doesn't make it much easier)...

I have a very strong fear that when I go up to Scotland in September, I'll need to ask people to repeat themselves a lot and be incredibly awkward in conversation because of it... I have anxiety & autism so social situations are already difficult enough 😭

Is this fear warranted? Is there anything I could do to improve my comprehension of the stronger accents? Any media I should binge to fully get my head around it? Any slang I should know before I head up?
And also, will people view me weirdly for my accent?

(If it helps, the unis I've applied to are Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, & Strathclyde)

Thanks!
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ReadingMum
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#2
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#2
No one is going to mind whatever accent you have. If you want to immerse yourself in some Scottish accents take a look on iPlayer for BBC Scotland programs
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Stumpy1001
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Anonymous)
Hi everyone, first time posting here so massive apologies if I selected the wrong forum!

I've lived in Cambridgeshire for most of my life and have a fairly generic accent for here, I tend to think of it as watered down RP. I've applied to five Scottish unis for a myriad of reasons; I prefer the politics up there, the climate, and in general think it's a much more interesting place than England.

My grandparents live on the west coast of Scotland and occasionally have an old friend of theirs over when I visit, the problem being that I often find it incredibly difficult to understand what he's saying. His accent is so thick (and the deepness of his voice doesn't make it much easier)...

I have a very strong fear that when I go up to Scotland in September, I'll need to ask people to repeat themselves a lot and be incredibly awkward in conversation because of it... I have anxiety & autism so social situations are already difficult enough 😭

Is this fear warranted? Is there anything I could do to improve my comprehension of the stronger accents? Any media I should binge to fully get my head around it? Any slang I should know before I head up?
And also, will people view me weirdly for my accent?

(If it helps, the unis I've applied to are Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, & Strathclyde)

Thanks!
Undestandable it is hard
But with time you will get used to how people talk .
Contrary to what some people seem to believe, it is not rude to ask somebody to repeat themselves or even to speak slower.
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Anonymous #1
#4
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Thank you both!
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University of Strathclyde
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#5
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#5
(Original post by Anonymous)
Hi everyone, first time posting here so massive apologies if I selected the wrong forum!

I've lived in Cambridgeshire for most of my life and have a fairly generic accent for here, I tend to think of it as watered down RP. I've applied to five Scottish unis for a myriad of reasons; I prefer the politics up there, the climate, and in general think it's a much more interesting place than England.

My grandparents live on the west coast of Scotland and occasionally have an old friend of theirs over when I visit, the problem being that I often find it incredibly difficult to understand what he's saying. His accent is so thick (and the deepness of his voice doesn't make it much easier)...

I have a very strong fear that when I go up to Scotland in September, I'll need to ask people to repeat themselves a lot and be incredibly awkward in conversation because of it... I have anxiety & autism so social situations are already difficult enough 😭

Is this fear warranted? Is there anything I could do to improve my comprehension of the stronger accents? Any media I should binge to fully get my head around it? Any slang I should know before I head up?
And also, will people view me weirdly for my accent?

(If it helps, the unis I've applied to are Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, & Strathclyde)

Thanks!
Hey Anon!

I love this post! Our accent is something that can be thought of as quite unique in Scotland, and we certainly do have quite a distinctive one! I promise that you will become quickly very used to our accents- and they're not as bad as you may believe right now!

One thing I'd definitely say is not to take your grandparent's friend as an example, particularly if they're older. I'd say that the older people are, the broader the accent can be - and older generations tend to be a bit more 'lazy' in a way with their pronunciation. As a student in Scotland, you'll come across a variety of accents from all over the place, as well as meeting other students from around the UK and internationally as well. As I say, you'll become used to the accent very quickly and you'll start to pick up little words and phrases that you might not have before.

Honestly speaking, we are such a friendly country and more often than not- we'll love that you're not always sure of things we say and we'll enjoy teaching you a wee bit of Scotland as you settle in I think rather than being apprehensive, see it as a funny thing that you can get involved in! From speaking to our students that have moved from England, they've had similar fears to you but have ended up laughing it off and loving the accent after they're settled.

A few tips if you want a bit of exposure to the Scottish accent:
- Watch the series Outlander if you have access to Amazon Prime! This has very stereotypical Scots accents, as well as some English characters too so you'll have a nice balance. I think this is the sort of programme that can get people really excited to come and experience Scotland too so will get you excited for your studies.
- If you're in to Instagram- look for social media influencers or accounts from Scotland They'll get you a bit more familiar with accents as well as the areas you're considering moving to if you find ones local to Glasgow, Stirling, Dundee etc...
- Another nice Instagram page I know of is @yer_awrite - a really funny, sometimes cheeky and uplifting account with lots of Scottish content and a podcast too
- Similarly, look for Scottish podcasters!

Hope some of this helps! I truly think you'll loooooove Scotland, and the accent will grow on you once you've been here a while!

Give me a shout if you've any questions about studying in Scotland, or at Strathclyde

- Caitlin
Official University of Strathclyde
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Caitlin245
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#6
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#6
Hey, I’m also in a similar position to you. I’m a Canadian with Asperger’s and Social Anxiety applying to Scottish universities. I’ve been in Scotland for about two years now and I still can really struggle with understanding broad Scottish accents. I’ve found that the majority of people Im around do not have very strong accents (they’re easy enough to understand even though I am foreign) so Im usually not put in a position where it’s difficult to understand. I find typically NED’s or individuals who speak with more slang to be a struggle to understand but the majority of people I’ve came across there hasn’t been this problem, so I wouldn’t worry! Ive applied to 4/5 universities you have so if you have any concerns related to ASD and moving to uni (eg. Accomodation) or just want to chat to someone in a similar position, feel free to pm me
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username5402638
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#7
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#7
Hiya! I moved to Scotland when I was younger and have a relatively posh English accent (was originally born in Scotland though!) and have literally always struggled and still struggle but I’ve always found people are so understanding. It happens everywhere in the world, and I know telling you not to worry won’t stop you worrying, but honestly it’ll be okay! I’ve applied to University of Glasgow too! Have you got any offers yet?
People always think my accent is cute around here (I don’t think it is!) so I wouldn’t worry about people viewing you weirdly. There will be so many accents around. If you’re really worried about not understanding the accents just watch YouTube videos made by people with thick accents, but it will be okay! Good luck! J x
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StriderHort
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Caitlin245)
I find typically NED’s or individuals who speak with more slang to be a struggle to understand
Oh that's normal, even for natives. If God wanted us to talk through our noses they would have a tongue and teeth.
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ClaraFangirl
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#9
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#9
Some places and people have a lot stronger accents than others. And it may be quite hard to understand thick accents. But if you ask them to repeat it or slow down, most people will say aye and do so. If they don't then think do you really wan tot be around them. I would suggest asking in banter-y way. It just sorta eases the languages problems, tho obvs its not a must

There is a lot of slang and words that you aren't going to know, and it will take time to understand it. Scots is almost another language.


Onto how people will view you. Mostly they won't. especially in bigger cities. But if you go to smaller towns and villages, you will most likely get asked about your accent, and obvs this doesn't apply to you but kids tend to tease a kid with an English accent. But i wouldn't worry about it now it is uni age. People have matured and you'll probably find people that love your accent.

There's a lot of slang words, if you want a little list, pm me

also there's a lot of cultural references that you might not get, but in time you'll understand them

good luck when you come up! go to a ceilidh when you can
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essierei
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#10
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#10
(Original post by Anonymous)
Hi everyone, first time posting here so massive apologiies if I selected the wrong forum!

I've lived in Cambridgeshire for most of my life and have a fairly generic accent for here, I tend to think of it as watered down RP. I've applied to five Scottish unis for a myriad of reasons; I prefer the politics up there, the climate, and in general think it's a much more interesting place than England.

My grandparents live on the west coast of Scotland and occasionally have an old friend of theirs over when I visit, the problem being that I often find it incredibly difficult to understand what he's saying. His accent is so thick (and the deepness of his voice doesn't make it much easier)...

I have a very strong fear that when I go up to Scotland in September, I'll need to ask people to repeat themselves a lot and be incredibly awkward in conversation because of it... I have anxiety & autism so social situations are already difficult enough 😭

Is this fear warranted? Is there anything I could do to improve my comprehension of the stronger accents? Any media I should binge to fully get my head around it? Any slang I should know before I head up?
And also, will people view me weirdly for my accent?

(If it helps, the unis I've applied to are Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dundee, Stirling, & Strathclyde)

Thanks!
i have a similar fear! i am coming from america (colorado), and we don't really have a distinctive accent. i'm concerned it's gonna be a bit of a culture shock and that lectures are going to be a bit confusing. i'm scared about missing out on content and falling behind.

watching tv shows and listening to scottish podcasts have helped a bit thus far; i'm either going to aberdeen or stirling (more likely stirling), and i'm hoping that being there will make them easier to understand. best of luck!!!
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Anonymous #1
#11
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#11
Sorry, it completely slipped my mind to check back! Thank you all so much for the help! And good luck to everyone else who's just applied to uni!
(Original post by username5402638)
I’ve applied to University of Glasgow too! Have you got any offers yet?
I have! From everywhere apart form Strathclyde so far. My current plan is for Glasgow to be my first choice (although they've given me fairly high entry requirements: AAB...) & I'm still mulling over whether Dundee or Aberdeen will be my second.
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