Friday, 15 May 2009


I had every intention of doing a post about this subject when I first started the blog, but here we are several months later and I still haven't done it. Most of you will probably have noticed that our 'name' on the blog is Sassenachs in Scotland. Sassenach is from the Outlander books (surprise, surprise) and is used as a term of endearment by Jaime, the main guy, to his wife Claire. This word originated in the late 1700s and is simply a Scottish word for an Englishman. The pronunciation is the difficult part. It is not sass-a-natch. You pronounce the 'ch' more like a 'k', but with a guttural Gaelic sound with it, which I don't do. The way I say it is sass-en-ack. Say it with me now, sass-en-ack. Now that we have that one out of the way, there are a few other names I have come across that are pronounced differently than what you would think.

First of all, you don't pronounce the 'g' in Edinburgh.With places like Pittsburgh, where you DO pronounce the 'g', its understandable why people get confused. A lot of people say Edinburroh, which is acceptable, but the way the Scots say it is Edinburrah. If they are talking quickly, it can sometimes sound like the take the 'u' out and say Edinbrrah. Are you confused yet?
When we first got here we came across a road leading up to the Royal Mile called Cockburn St. I'm sure you can guess what we thought the pronunciation for this was. It's actually co-burn, as in co-worker. Now that I've warned you, if you are ever in Scotland don't make the mistake of saying Cock-burn St. outloud!

There are lots of crazy place names in Scotland that have WAY different pronunciations than what you would expect. Here is a website with lots of Scottish towns and words and how you pronounce them. Look through the list if you have time, it's kinda fun to see how well you can pronounce them.


Lucy Marie said...

And how, exactly, my dear do you pronounce Loch Lomond because apparently I had trouble with that tough one.

Sassenachs in Scotland said...

Well if you were taught the Loch Lomond song in elementary school like the rest of us you wouldn't have trouble! But since you're school was the only school in the history of schools not to teach it, I will tell you. It's Lock Low-mund.

"Oh, ye'll take the high road and I'll take the low road and I'll be in Scotland afore ye. But me and my true love will never meet again on the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond!"

Wendy said...

I love a good Scottish accent. I miss hearing it since my grandparents passed away. Thanks for some lovely memories! Oh, and I didn't see that link you were talking about at the end. Am I missing it?

Anonymous said...

its not quite like "lock" thats more how english people say it and americans say it...we say it more "celtic like" lol, hard to describe...its like the ch is more a whisper at the end. definatly not said like "lock" though