In My Fair Lady, Professor Henry Higgins tutors Eliza Doolittle on a “proper” English accent with the phrase “The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain.” Author Kevin Kling, proud son of Minnesota, offers the following etude for mastering the Minnesotan accent: “I ain’t gonna pay no dollar for a corn muffin that’s half dough.” Repeat that out loud until you sound like Jesse Ventura. And, while living in Alabama, where Southern English speakers like to emphasize the first syllable of words we Northerners would accent later on, a colleague recommended “I went down to the gro-cery store to get some Vi-enna sausages for Thanks-giving.”

I shared these with my Scottish friend, Scott (really), and he asked for a pen and paper. He wrote:


“Raid that,” he commanded.

“Space ghetto,” I complied.

“To may, that soons lake year sane ‘Space Ghetto.’”

Yes, I agreed, it sounds like I’m saying “space ghetto” because I am actually saying “space ghetto.”

“Rate! Year sane ‘space ghetto’ boot Aim heron ‘Space Ghetto.’”

I had nothing. “Build on that,” I suggested.

He grinned, showing not the least bit of frustration, having set up the lesson, leaving only the moral.

“Aim sane that soons lake that ghetto sanging group ‘Space Ghetto.’ Jane Jar Space, Saner Man Space. Ah donna remember the raist.”

I’m sure I had a look like I was trying to solve a Sudoku in my head.

Jane Jar—Ginger? Saner Man—Cinnamon?

“Spice Girls?” I ventured.

“Rate! Space Ghetto!”

I’ve been working on my Scottish accent ever since: “Year sane ‘space ghetto’ boot Aim heron ’Space Ghetto.”

Aim gating beta.

How to speak Scottish. Click To Tweet

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