From ‘blether’ to ‘wabbit’ – a Study of Galloway Dialect is underway

Study of Galloway Dialect is underway

This week sees another of the Galloway Glens Scheme projects getting underway, with a study of the local Lowland Scots Dialect, how it is used and how this use is changing over time.


Language and dialects are always changing, reflecting a range of influences and developments in communication. There is an increasing homogenisation of language, as we become a better connected and more ‘global’ society. The Lowland Scots dialect was used by Robert Burns, a visitor to the Galloway Glens area and S.R.Crockett, the famous local author. It is recognised that the dialect is under threat due to a number of external influences, not least an increasing Anglicisation and Americanisation due to cultural and media pressures.

The project is being undertaken by the Galloway Glens Team, with the support of local writer John Burns. Dr Burns will lead on data gathering through interviews and joining partners such as the NHS Health & Wellbeing team at reminiscence events. These events seek to address and halt memory loss and therefore provide an example of how involvement in such projects can impact on the health and wellbeing of our communities.

The project has also published a quiz of 50 words from W.A.D.  Riach’s ‘A Galloway Glossary’ – seeking willing participants to see how many of these  words they know or use. The quiz is available on the Galloway Glens Scheme website, in hard copy from the Galloway Glens offices or by emailing Submissions are recorded anonymously.


Dr Burns said

The aim of the project is to try to discover the extent to which people in the Galloway Glens area still use the local dialect. We hope to interview and record people of different ages to record how the language has changed over time. These interviews will also give insights into the changing history of the area.


McNabb Laurie, Galloway Glens Team Leader, said:

“This project is a great opportunity to assess the use of the Lowland Scots Dialect across the Galloway Glens area and how this is changing over time. If you’d like to have a go at the ’50 Galloway words’ quiz, please do get in touch and we can send you a copy. In due course we look forward to publishing the results of the work.”