Author Raven McCallan with Scottish and English slang

the-wager1sAuthor Raven McCallan stops by today with a look at “weird words” and the differences in Scotland and England. Wait?! Aren’t they both the same???!!!

Her post shows us how language is always changing from generation to generation or from place to place. What she has to share now is a mouthful! Welcome, Raven.

Thanks, Dee, and glad you asked me for this topic.

Oh the beauty of words…

Same words different meanings? How to be confused in one easy lesson? Skim this list of confusion and you’ll know how I feel as an Englishwoman living in Scotland, married to a Yorkshireman. (Okay I know that Yorkshire is in England, but have you met one?)





I ken/ can


Glasgow Kiss




Confused yet? I was up to a point. But I had a head start. I was born and brought up in a town in England that was affectionately (or not?) called little Scotland, because so much of the population was Scottish (over 90% at one time I believe.) Corby in Northamptonshire, was a steel town, and a lot of the workers came from Scotland in the 1920’s to get the works up and running. By the time I was born (no not in the 20’s) I was one of the token English, with a dad from the next town, and a cockney mum. Most of my friends were Scottish. I even had Scottish blood, as my best friend Sheena Ramsay and I pricked fingers.

So you see I was used to Scottish slang. The problem is of course that like anywhere else in the world, you get different slang with each dialect. Now I’ve lived all over England as well, so I’m used to ‘me duck’, ‘chick’, ‘chuck’, ‘hen’, ‘hinney’, ‘pet lamb’, as terms of endearment (why are so many non human?) but some things here even stymied me.

Checked… Yes it means ticked off but not on a list. This was used a lot when I was a kid for being told off…

Brill… Oh how to cause confusion it means good on one side of the country bad on the other (or it did who knows if it has changed?) likewise doss and dossic.

Jag… no not a posh car. It’s a jab, injection and an ouchy!

Ah (I) ken/can. I know. (yeah you wouldn’t know would you?)

Glasgow Kiss… Never EVER ask for one of those. It’s a head butt.

Dreich…Oh I love this word. It perfectly sums up a damp grey dismal day. I hear it or write it and I can picture the weather. It’s just perfect! (No not the weather, the word.)

Canny… well this is used in lots of places. Good, nice, spot on…It’s canny. Also used for cunning…

Bevvy… if you put it with canny, and get a canny bevvy… Well fizz anyone?

I could go on and on. I love words, (just as well if I’m a writer) and I find it fascinating how they can mean different things. They can cause confusion, but they can also set the scene. I don’t know if I’m in the minority, but I so enjoy discovering a word I’ve never heard of and looking it up. To me a word of the area or of the time where a story is set, adds to that story. In one of my YA stories I was able to use the confusion over doss in the plot.

I use a lot of those words when I write. It helps me to get into the where and when. Okay I have to take some of the more obscure ones out, but by then I hope to have set the place and time for my readers.

And strangely there are some words I will not use. Not because I hate them, but because they just don’t fit. Diaper, sidewalk and condo? Er no not in Scotland. You’ll get nappy, pavement and flat or maisonette. And tenement, and wally close.

Likewise for Regency. I have a very well thumbed Oxford Dictionary of English Slang, which is great. It tells me when a word was first used and so in theory if I call say quim or honeypot it’s authentic. It also taught me to use words I probably wouldn’t have because in those days they were not seen to be anything other than ordinary!

So when you read a book, and there’s a word you don’t understand, hey there is a reason for it.

I’m now going to shamelessly self pimp. As I often said my books are like London busses. Nothing for ages and then they all come at once.

So lets think…

arosebetweenthethornes 200x300If you like regency, we have A Rose Between The Thornes and The Wager already out, and Cecilia’s Claim out next month (20th)

If contemporary is your choice, then how about Rian’s Return (out), Impulse ( May 2nd) or Dance To A Different Beat (May 6th)

Like I said it’s a London bus scenario, a feast or a famine…

Nosy links…

About Raven

Raven lives in Scotland, along with her husband and their two cats—their children having flown the nest—surrounded by beautiful scenery, which inspires a lot of the settings in her books.

She is used to sharing her life with the occasional deer, red squirrel, and lost tourist, to say nothing of the scourge of Scotland—the midge.

A lover of reading, she appreciates the history inside a book, and the chance to peek into the lives of those from years ago. Raven admits that she enjoys the research for her books almost as much as the writing; so much so, that sometimes she realizes she’s strayed way past the information she needs to know, and not a paragraph has been added to her WIP.

Her lovely long-suffering husband is learning to love the dust bunnies, work the Aga, and be on stand-by with a glass of wine.

You can find out more about Raven here…

http:/ / (my page)  (author page)

Happy reading

Love R x


About DD Symms

Writing is foundational to our communication like running is to sports.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s