Outlander is boosting a renaissance of the Scots language – here’s how

Irene Watt

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


What would ye twa cotters ken o’ battle, eh? I bet ye Lallybroch tumshies will turn arse and run at first blast o’ cannon fire…

Pithy Scots brogue and throwaway insults punctuate Outlander, the phenomenally successful TV series that explores the final great Jacobite uprising of 1745 – the rebellion against King George II led by Bonnie Prince Charlie. Like 18th-century period dress or columns of troops, the Scots language is colourfully employed to lend authenticity to the drama.

The Scots spoken in Outlander may not be the language spoken today in Scotland, but rather a stage-Scots – essentially English dressed in tartan and cockade – yet it is still to be cheered. In fact, the presence of Scots in Outlander is a sign of how far an historically repressed language has come in just a few decades.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
PublisherThe Conversation UK
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Irene Watt would like to acknowledge the collaboration of Alistair Heather of The Elphinstone Institute in the writing of this article.


  • Scotland
  • Drama
  • Storytelling
  • Outlander
  • Scots language


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