Scotland. Known for its craggy highlands, rough weather, even rougher women, and, of course, drinking. However one thing the Scots are definitely not known for is their ability to produce a comprehensible sentence, even before they’ve had their first whisky! With their language being born from a mixture of English, Scottish Gaelic, and Scots, combined with generations of slurring alcoholism, the slang commonly used in Scotland would give even the most skilled linguist a headache. So if you’re planning on heading north of the wall for the world’s rowdiest New Year’s celebration, here’s a few phrases to keep you out of too much trouble.
“What’s the craic?”
Pronounced crack and not to be confused with someone asking you about drugs. This is a common greeting in Scotland and Ireland that basically means “What’s happening?”. Craic can also be used in the phrases “Good craic” and “Shite craic” which can be applied to people, places and events e.g. “Naw man, dinnae go there, it’s shite craic!”
“Haud yer wheesht”
Shut up. Plain and simple, time to stop that drunken ramble. E.g. “Haud yer wheesht, yer talkin’ out yer arse ya numpty.”
If someone asks you if you’d like a wee dram, they’re asking if you’d like a small glass of whisky. It’s an oxymoron as there is no such thing as a small glass in Scotland, they’re essentially asking if you’d like half a mug. Also, the nicer the whisky, the less acceptable it is to mix it. If someone is offering you a 12 year Glenfiddich, a very small amount of water is the only thing you could ask to be added without getting a bollocking.
“Celtic or Rangers?”
How you answer this question could be potentially catastrophic depending on whom you’re talking to. Celtic and Rangers are Scotland’s top football teams, both from Glasgow, and have a centuries old, violent rivalry founded in religious wars, with Catholics supporting Celtic and Protestants Rangers. If asked who you support, the best answers are “Actually I’m more into tennis, isn’t Andy Murray good?” or declaring your loyalty to a team so shit that no-one could take offence, such as Ross County or Partick Thistle.
“Get tae fuck!”
One of the most beautiful phrases in any language. I first heard it within two minutes of stepping off the train in Glasgow from the mouth of a drunken hobo facing off against three equally drunk but marginally better dressed students. This phrase is for when you are so angry that all sense of grammar and logic goes out the window and all your brain is capable of producing is an explosive outburst of expletive ecstasy.
Essentially, as long as you don’t mess with whisky or football, your trip to Scotland promises to be more magical than a drunken Disneyland dwarf, so if you haven’t bought your ticket yet then jump aboard the whisky wagon and harden up your liver for one of the biggest New Year’s celebrations on the planet. Have the language be the only thing you have to worry about with Stoke Travel taking care of everything else!
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