Monday, July 02, 2007

GlasGO or at least Glasgae

The attack, on Saturday, at the Glasgow Airport was disturbing to me. I have walked through those very doors several times in my life and when I look at the photographs of the charred remains I am amazed that no one was killed or even hurt. It is disturbing to me to face the reality that Scotland is a target in international terrorism. However considering the Lockerbie bombing this is not the first example. Luckily Scots are not prone to panic and we are more likely to 'just get on with things' and this certainly appears to be what is happening in Scotland right now, as much as I can judge from this distance.

Having said all that there is one fallout from all this that is really disturbing to me personally. That is, that I have had to endure hearing SO many American voices mispronounce Glasgow!!!! The most common is that they make it rhyme with 'cow'. Another is that they put the syllable emphasis on the 'as' and make the beginning sound as if is it "Glass go". Along with the common mispronunciation of Edinburgh as EdinburG, this is driving me BARMY!!!! I know it shouldn't and the many hours of phonetics I sat through in English Language at Edinburgh Uni should make me a very understanding person ..... but please, anyone American reading this spread the word for the sake of my sanity - its GLAsgo.

If you can't manage that then you can always go for a more local pronunciation:


Katie said...

I don't think I can get away with saying, "GLAsgae" in my American accent. It just doesn't work. :)

Mo said...

Or Glesga!

We're all staying calm here!

Annie said...

Mo took the words out of my mouth! (or my fingertips!)

Glesga was the pronunciation I heard more often during my time working there.

We had a taxi driver take us home to the South Side after a night out, irate at her previous fare. In relaying the story she told us she just got exasperated when the punter couldn't explain where she lived, and she said 'she gi' me a seer heed, an Ah tol' her Ah dinny knee the hale o' Glesga!'

I have never forgotten that, not least because it took me about five minutes to translate that in my head!

From someone who grew up in a place targeted, repeatedly, by homegrown terrorism, it's always disturbing. And therein lies the hope of humanity, that it remains disturbing to the majority of the world's peace loving population.

Gwen said...

And you should have heard the mispronounciations of Houston and Renfrewshire. I will be posting a blog on that very subject imminently.

Besom Abroad said...

Yeah, I get annoyed too when Americans can't pronounce Glasgow or Edinburgh properly but, on the other hand, people were able to recognize my accent as being Scottish a lot more easily after the terrorism attack - I suppose because there were a lot of Weegies on the telly over here.

Oh, by the way, can you please add me to your blogroll? Cheers! I'll add you to mine! My blog is at:

A Paperback Writer said...

I long ago learned the bare minimum you're discussing here, but once, when I was living in Edinburgh, I slipped into a slight Americanism and said "Edinburrow." I got lectured by a local:
It's "Edinburra." I'm more careful now.
Fun tidbit for you:
I was reading the Scotsman on the airplane on July 4 (on my way to Edinburra), and there was an interesting article about the Glasgow bombings. According to the article, a few Glaswegians have started a website to boost morale a bit: it's called, "Don't F--- With Scotland!" I burst out laughing and got a few stares. Go Scots!

Oh, and on a different note:
Kirsty, I stopped in the Blackwell's on Nicholson Street to look at Edwin Morgan's latest, and noticed in the Scots linguistic section 6 volumes on Doric, including a Doric dictionary.
Just thought you'd like to know....

K said...

Its called the weedge. which is easy tae say!

Iota said...

You are so right. I'm a Brit living in the US (Englander via 6 years in Fife - which I know hardly counts to a Glaswegian, but it felt pretty Scottish to me). I try hard to follow local pronounciation here (eg there is a road called Greenwich, which I religiously call Green-witch, and an area called Eastborough, which I religiously call East-bo-ro), and it would be nice to have the courtesy returned. I suppose they think Glas-gow rhymes with Mos-cow, which has the word cow in it, and therefore must be pronounced like the animal.