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Slightly cringey question about foreign [EU] accents in Scotland

(107 Posts)
Dutchwithflowers Sat 15-Oct-16 14:10:24

I am from the Netherlands originally. Although I have lived in England for over 15 years I have not been able to, and probably will never, loose my native accent.

Dp and I are considering a move to Scotland, probably Glasgow, Edinburgh or St Andrews. People here in England have made comments about my accent in the past and I must say I am getting a bit self-conscious about it.

My question is how easy is it to adapt to local accents in the places I have listed, at least to a degree, and how tolerant are the Scots in general about foreign accents. I speak very fluently it's just that you can detect I am one of those from the EU and therefore not terribly popular here at the moment.

I appreciate it is a bit of a silly question but any thoughts would be much appreciated.

ayeokthen Sat 15-Oct-16 14:14:27

Glasgow, Edinburgh and St Andrews are all really diverse, because of the universities and just generally being great places to live. I don't think you'll have any problems, I lived in Edinburgh for many many years and loved meeting people from different countries, I felt it was a positive aspect of where I lived. DP works in Glasgow and feels the same. I'm not saying there aren't thoughtless twats up here, there are of course, but the 3 places you've listed are a lot less likely to have them.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 15-Oct-16 14:14:44

People will probably ask with no malice where you are from. It will be noticed, but not negatively IYSWIM.

A strong Glasgow accent is pretty unintelligible until you get your ear in, but mostly you will get used.to it. An awful lot of people don't have a really strong accent - I tend to have most difficulty understanding friendly drunks at bus stops grin

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sat 15-Oct-16 14:14:45

People will be interested but there would be no negative backlash.

Where you are from is common small talk, one I'm guilty of defaulting to if I meet new people.

Glasgow is my city. It's very multicultural, but we like a chat. So people might ask but it's out of niceness/noseyness.

ayeokthen Sat 15-Oct-16 14:15:00

Also, we voted to Remain so the general consensus is that EU migrants are more than welcome (that's what I've found anyway)

LoisWilkersonsLastNerve Sat 15-Oct-16 14:21:36

I would be very surprised if you get any negative comments up here op. Scotland is generally very welcoming and tolerant imho. You will get lots of nosey questions though! grin

Dutchwithflowers Sat 15-Oct-16 14:24:15

"People will be interested but there would be no negative backlash" I don't mind at all being asked where I'm from, especially if it leads to pleasant chit chat.

In England, it feels like having a 'EU' accent marks you out. One woman recently said "oh my, how long have you lived here? And you haven't lost your accent?" One of my neighbours commented on my accent as "solo cute", which sounded patronising hmm.

Out of interest, do you know any foreigners who have managed to adapt to the various Scottish dialects at least a little bit?

Dutchwithflowers Sat 15-Oct-16 14:24:46

*not solo but soooo

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Sat 15-Oct-16 14:26:00

I think it is unlikely you will pick up much of a Scottish accent, but you will probably start usinh Scottish words eg wee for little.

ayeokthen Sat 15-Oct-16 14:27:04

Loads! We have friends from France, Belgium, Poland, Romania, Spain and Bulgaria who have all managed to pick up the local patter and use it in conversation, sometimes the odd word sounds Scottish but I think that's how they've heard it so that's how they say it if that makes sense.

Keeptrudging Sat 15-Oct-16 14:27:43

You won't have problems in Scotland re accent, we're very welcoming. You might find your accent 'blends' well with the local accent as a lot of the sounds are similar, e.g. you can make the 'ch' sound in loch smile.

TrollTheRespawnJeremy Sat 15-Oct-16 14:29:04

Well, Glaswegian is a funny old accent in itself.
My Canadian friend has a glorious mix of Canadian/Weegie which confuses the life out of people back home.

Come on up and do a bit of sightseeing, maybe check out some housing districts within your budget- and keep a close ear out for local accents!

Fwiw, there are some Scottish accents I can't understand either and I am born and bred here- they're definitely a minority though!

Dutchwithflowers Sat 15-Oct-16 14:29:38

"you can make the 'ch' sound in loch"
Oh yeah! I can do that!!! smile

bloodymaria Sat 15-Oct-16 14:29:48

It makes me sad that you're asking OP, I hope you do make it up here and im 100% sure you'll be made to feel incredibly welcome.

museumum Sat 15-Oct-16 14:32:59

I'm in edinburgh and know quite a few Dutch through the uni. Lots of people here want to be Dutch or Scandinavian so it will go down well.
I know poles with a bit of a Scottish accent but I th I their English wasn't great when they moved here. If you're fluent im not sure you'll pick it up (if you have kids they will).
We're very pro EU in edinburgh (over 70% voted remain) so mostly people will be envious.

Dutchwithflowers Sat 15-Oct-16 14:36:45

How come Scotland, overall, seems so much more welcoming (let's happily generalise) than good old England (again generalising of course)? What is the context or this difference?
Another question: I have worked with various people from Glasgow and other, smaller places in Scotland. Am I right in thinking that it is socially more acceptable in Scotland to communicate in a straightforward / outspoken way rather than tiptoeing around a topic? It's so easy to come across as rude in England when you come from a culture where people speak in a direct way as in Holland.

I am aware I am generalising and hope I'm not being cheeky / rude..

Dutchwithflowers Sat 15-Oct-16 14:37:33

"So mostly people will be envious."
Ha!! That would be welcome change

specialsubject Sat 15-Oct-16 14:39:45

generalisation - and always wrong. More anecdata for you...

I used to work with Scots in the south-east of England. Never heard so much anti-English racism in my life.

now in a pro-leave area. Everyone welcome. Yes, a few racist incidents, same as everywhere, same as always was. Most of the English are quite happy beating each other up.

and here in England many of us prefer people who tell it like it is rather than feeling like yelling 'get on with it!'.

derxa Sat 15-Oct-16 14:42:18

Your accent will be remarked upon but in a subtly different way. English people see accent as a class marker more acutely.

SenecaFalls Sat 15-Oct-16 14:46:51

I'm American and lived in Scotland as a student. I have a good ear and a very malleable accent and I did pick up some Scottish features in my accent during that time (which I quickly lost after returning to the States).I definitely picked up Scots words, reinforced by reading a lot of Scottish literature over the years.

I go back to visit as often as I can. I have never had a negative experience in Scotland as a foreigner. I find the whole country to be very welcoming. Glasgow is the friendliest city in the UK and Edinburgh is my favorite city in the world.

SenecaFalls Sat 15-Oct-16 14:50:12

Also, quite a few Scots words come from Dutch.

HirplesWithHaggis Sat 15-Oct-16 14:51:52

When I saw that you're Dutch, the first thing I thought about was the outspoken thing! grin When I had Dutch neighbours they were very direct, which took me back a little at first, but ended up laughing with them, and recognising it was a cultural thing. Quite refreshing, actually.

Scotland and the Netherlands have, of course, a long, long trading history, and we've adopted some of your words (and German, French and Italian) into Scots. I think we nicked some of your architectural styles too, especially in coastal towns.

So, (wild generalisation alert) while Scotland's history with Europe has been a happy trading one for thousands of years, England's history is one of Empire, competition and war. Maybe the ways things are currently has to do with that? Or maybe because our government states publically that we are open to migration, welcome New Scots etc, while Westminster says "Go home". sad

museumum Sat 15-Oct-16 14:54:05

Scotland is very small, small population, falling birth rate, no fear of being "full" as we are more likely to have schools close due to falling rolls than to be oversubscribed.
But yes, we can be hard on the English and blame them for the governments decisions 🙁

Catzpyjamas Sat 15-Oct-16 14:57:21

We do tend to be rather direct in conversation and you will get asked about where you're from but usually only because the questioner is interested. Scotland is a country of migrants - in and out for generations. Maybe this makes us more accepting of different nationalities?

Coffeethrowtrampbitch Sat 15-Oct-16 15:00:27

You will be fine. DH is English and has lived here for 19 years, in that time he has experienced anti-English sentiment only twice (both times in the pub!)

He does use Scottish words like 'Aye' and 'Nae bother' though, and they do sound a little odd in a non-Scots accent.

My cousin and his wife and kids are visiting from Denmark soon, she does not have any trouble understanding his or our accent. She says she feels they get 'looked at' less here, as cousin's wife is mixed race and he is Scottish she feels people are a bit judgy/curious at home.

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