Is Scotty's accent actually bad?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Dr Helen Noel, May 14, 2022 at 8:41 PM.

  1. Dr Helen Noel

    Dr Helen Noel Lieutenant Newbie

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    James Doohan has said that he based Scotty's accent on a Scottish man he knew during WWII. Scotty is characterized as being "an Old Aberdeen pub crawler".

    Aberdeen and the surrounding area is known for a dialect called Doric, a form of Scots. This accent isn't heard often in media and it makes sense that a lot of people wouldn't be familiar with it. Less people speak it these days and those that do tend to tone down their accent when speaking with others not from the area. I have heard people say that Scotty sounds Irish to them but this could be because Scots is also spoken in Northern Ireland (Ulster Scots).

    In my opinion Doohan does a good job with his accent. Scotty does use some strange phrases such as "The haggis is in the fire for sure" but that's more of a writers issue. Doohan also does a number of different voices for TAS and it's not really surprising that he was able to do a fair impersonation of someone he knew. His son's accent is Star Trek Continues is also pretty good.

    Interestingly, Simon Pegg based his version of Scotty's accent off of his wife's, who is from Glasgow, which gives the character a different feel as the Glasgow has a rougher reputation than Aberdeen. It also changes the character's backstory from the East Coast to West Central which is never addressed. Pegg's accent is very good.

    I'm interested to hear the opinions of other people familiar with Scottish regional accents.
     
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  2. Neopeius

    Neopeius Admiral Admiral

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    I worked with a friend from the northeast, and it is a different accent from the Glaswegian, but it's not at all like Scotty's accent.

    I will say this for Scotty: his accent may not be any Scottish I know of, but it does get more consistent as the series goes on. So whatever it is he's going for, he does it.

    I agree that Pegg's Glaswegian is good -- it sounds like my friend Winnie from Glasgow. :)
     
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  3. GNDN18

    GNDN18 270 Rear Admiral

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    This is the correct answer. Still, the thread has posts pointing out that having a Scottish character, even one with a dreadful accent, was a point of national pride for some.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2022 at 11:18 PM
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  4. Phaser Two

    Phaser Two Commodore Premium Member

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    Only if you've never met any Scottish people.
     
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  5. 1001001

    1001001 Do You Really Wanna Taste It? Moderator

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  6. StarCruiser

    StarCruiser Commodore Commodore

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    I've always assumed that the accent would have changed in a few hundred years.
    Living languages are like that, you know...
     
  7. Orphalesion

    Orphalesion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Weird then that the English they use hasn't changed, or is English not a living language anymore by the time of Star Trek? ;)
     
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  8. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Reading James Blish's "Scotty" as a kid, I could never match up the weird, clanky stuff on the page with the way Doohan talked on the show. It barely made sense, and just didn't play in my head. Spock Must Die especially comes to mind. By that standard, Doohan was good, and he was easy on the American ear.
     
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  9. GNDN18

    GNDN18 270 Rear Admiral

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    It's nae private, it's just nonsense, I think.
     
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  10. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Garth of Algar Premium Member

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    Based on this it's not Aberdeen :lol:
     
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  11. GNDN18

    GNDN18 270 Rear Admiral

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    Nae. I kenna understand.
     
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Garth of Algar Premium Member

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    Not hearing the Glaswegian either
     
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  13. GNDN18

    GNDN18 270 Rear Admiral

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    How about Canadian? Is Vancouver in Scotland?
     
  14. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Garth of Algar Premium Member

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    Since all Americans are geographically ignorant I'm gonna say yes. ;)
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2022 at 7:12 AM
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  15. Henoch

    Henoch Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    How come we never got any Canadian accents on Star Trek? :whistle:
     
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  16. Dr Helen Noel

    Dr Helen Noel Lieutenant Newbie

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    Juratti in Picard is Canadian and you can hear it a bit.
     
  17. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Commodore Commodore

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    Different accents in the future.
     
  18. Jedi Marso

    Jedi Marso Commodore Commodore

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    Given how homogeneous Earth is in the 23rd Century and that people can whiz about and transport all over the planet, accents are going to get mangled up and cross-pollinated pretty good. So I'd say Scotty's accent is what it is. It still cracks me up that our chief engineer was Mr. Scott, from Scotland, with a Scottish accent. No subtlety there, eh? The only way they could have added another layer to that would have been to make his name "Scotty McScott."
     
  19. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    My mother's mother was Glaswegian, though she came to America when she was 9, so she really had no distinctively Scottish accent. Her father, however, had an accent so thick I could nae unnerstand o fookin werd he said. Dad used to tease him by trying to get him to say "how now brown cow," and the closest he got was "hoo noo broon coo."
     
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  20. Timofnine

    Timofnine Vice Admiral Moderator

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    Well it fooled me!