Practising listening skills - Scots

Practise your listening skills by watching this short clip. Answer the questions that follow and then check your responses against the sample answers.

In this clip Stuart Cosgrove explains how important Scots words are to any discussion about Scottish football and reflects on changing attitudes to the Scots language.

Stuart Cosgrove on Scots language


What is Stuart Cosgrove’s job and why does he speak Scots when he is working?

He is a broadcaster and football pundit. He speaks in Scots as it seems the natural language to use and there are many Scots words in Scottish football.


Give one example of a Scots word used in football. What does it mean in English and why is it an appropriate word to use?

Tumshie means turnip. It is used to describe a really poor centre half – a player so useless they might as well be a turnip.

Red Lichties is the nickname for Arbroath and refers to the red light off the coast of Arbroath (a red lamp at the corner of Arbroath harbour which guided boats).

Scorries - nickname for Wick Academy and the North-East word for seagulls.


What does the phrase mony a mickle maks a muckle mean?

It means lots of little ones make a big one - if you save many small amounts of money you will end up with a large amount and be rich.


What did Stuart Cosgrove feel the attitude was to Scots as he was growing up?

There was a negative attitude, almost as if it had been “criminalised.” He only spoke Scots to his friends in the playground and older relatives. He wasn't allowed to speak it in the classroom.


What does he feel that Scottish people should do now?

Scottish people should rediscover the Scots language and be proud to use it.


How does his word-choice show how strongly he feels about speaking Scots?

He talks about falling “back in love” with the language, showing it is something he thinks we have an emotional connection with.

He says we shouldn't “whisper” the words which you might do if you were ashamed, but should be “proud” showing Scots is something to appreciate and value.


What is the purpose of this clip?

To highlight attitudes to the Scots language. To encourage people to reflect on their own experience and to persuade them to use the language.


Can you identify a possible audience? Why do you think this?

Scottish people with an interest in the Scots language.

He refers directly to the viewer as Scottish using “you” and talks about “your language”.