Aspects of Colloquial Speech
Tags are added to questions in order
to prompt the person spoken to, to agree with the
speaker's statement. In requests, tags ask the person
spoken to, to agree with and act on the speaker's
Did ye stairt tae jouk the schuil,
Did you start to play truant,
Are ye aye at the scaffie's
yaird, are ye?
Are you still working at the
rubbish dump, are you?
Ye hivna juist haed yer teeth
oot, hiv ye?
Have you just had your teeth
removed, have you?
Is Shona hame, is she?
Is Shona at home, is she?
The negative tag usually contains
no. It indicates that the person speaking expects
a positive response.
Jimmie haes gane, haes he
Jimmy has gone, hasn't he?
Fiona can soum, can she no?
Fiona can swim, can't she?
Jock will gie't ye, will
Jock will give you it, won't
The tag eh is often added
to questions and requests.
Lat me pit ma coat on, eh?
Let me put my coat on, won't
It's no ower muckle, eh?
It's not too big, is it?
We ken him gey an weel nou, eh?
We know him quite well now,
Ye are takkin her til the picturs,
You are taking her to the cinema,
Pit the kist doun thare, eh?
Put the chest down there, won't
Be guid tae ma dochter, eh?
Be good to my daughter, won't
Other frequently used tags are:
Ye dinna gang for that kin o lassie, na?
You don't go for that sort
of girl, no?
Ye telt her anent it, ay?
You told her about it, yes?
He's no ettlin tae tak aw o't,
He's not trying to take all
of it, not really?
A'll be wi ye Monanday, richt?
I shall be with you on Monday,
Ye'r no mynt tae win hame in
this wather, shuirly?
You aren't intending to reach
home in this weather, surely?
Great confidence is expressed by
speakers who use the tags eh or shuir
at the beginning of a statement. This invites the
person spoken to, to confirm the speaker's expectation,
producing in effect a tag question.
Of course the Pope is a Catholic?
Eh Kairien's bairn's a laddie?
Of course Kairien's baby is
Focusing devices are used to introduce items into
the conversation or to give prominence to items which
the person speaking wishes to introduce into the conversation.
The most frequently used words for these purposes are
see, ken and like.
See thae auld hooses. Ma faither bug
See those old houses. My father
See you, pal. Gin ye dae that again,
A'll dunt ye!
.See you, chum. If you do that
again, I'll thump you!
Ken Morag. She juist wadna dae't.
.Know Morag. She just wouldn't
A gaed doun the toun like, an the polis
I went down town, and the police
It wis, weel, like fower
year sin A seen him.
It was, well, four years since
I saw him.
He haes his dug, like, gies him company.
He has his dog that gives him
She's in the infirmary, ken, tae hae
a neer transplantit.
She's in the hospital, you
know, to have a kidney transplanted.
The summoning interjection is hey or haw.
Hey, you wi the reid
Hey, you with the red hair!
Haw, whaur d'ye think
Hey, where do you think you
Some of the common assertive interjections
by faith, truly
weel A wat
well I know
Some of the commonest interjections
of surprise and astonishment are:
Christ defend us
Lord save us
Some of the interjections used to
express disgust are:
Impatience is often expressed using
the interjection och or ach.
Troubles or worry are often expressed
by using the interjections och, hoot
and s'truith, s'trowth = God's truth.
Resignation or submission to something
that can't be avoided may be expressed with aweel
= Oh well!
Assent is often expressed using weel-a-weel
= Well oh well.
Sympathy and sorrow are often expressed
by using the following interjections.
woe is me!