The Doric Language

The Doric language

Further to my post about Scottish languages, I’d like to write a wee bit more about Doric language, which is the branch of Scots spoken in the East and North East coasts of Scotland (and is my native tongue). It’s very similar to other Scots but has a lot more influence from Norse and thus, many of the words are the same or very similar to modern day Norse and Icelandic. An example being to ‘ask’ — in my home town (Fraserburgh), it’s very common for people to say ‘spear’ for ask (I wrote that down phonetically as I’m unsure as to what the correct spelling would be). In Danish, this is written as ‘Spørg’ (difficult for me to do the pronunciations in writing). In Norwegian it is ‘spørre’ and in Icelandic it is ‘spyrja” — google translate has the pronunciations, too and the Icelandic translation sounds most similar but all three sound very much like how we would say it.

Other words that are similar in these languages include:

English: Cloth
Doric: Cloot.
Icelandic: Klút
Danish: Klæde
Norwegian: Klut

English: Child.
Doric: Bairn
Icelandic: Barn
Norwegian: Barn
Danish: Barn
Swedish: Barn

That’s just three examples but there are many more. If you’re interested in Doric literature, the best known Doric writer is probably Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song being his most famous piece. You can also visit the Grassic Gibbon centre in Arbuthnott, Laurencekirk, near Aberdeen. Any words you are aware of that are the same in Doric and Norse/Danish etc, please do share.

About Author

Lucy Stewart
Born and raised in Scotland, I have always loved my country and its colourful history. A childhood fascination for castles and ancient Celtic tales led to my studying history at university, and ultimately specialising in Celtic Civilisation. Since my time in university, I have gone on to further my research in archaeology, anthropology, mythology, psychology and linguistics. It gives me great pleasure to share my interests with anyone who will listen and it brings me even greater pleasure, knowing that so many people are interested in visiting this beautiful country of mine. Please, if you would like for me to help tailor-make your very own bespoke trip to Scotland (or wherever else your heart desires) please do get in touch at where we can start making your dreams come true.


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