A Swedish friend is laboriously ploughing her way through Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. I say laboriously because she’s reading it in the original Scottish. The other day she asked me if the word ‘dout’ (spelled like this) existed in English. I said no, it was always spelled ‘doubt’. She looked disappointed and I asked why she wanted to know that. When she explained which book she was reading, I said ‘Oh, it exists in Scottish!’ It means cigarette butt. The fact is that although some words are similar to English, Scottish is an official language – a language in its own right. 

On the same subject, I’ve often wanted to use the word ‘outwith’ in a translation. As in ‘that falls outwith the boundaries of…’ for example. And every time, although in my mind it was exactly the right word (as opposed to ‘outside’) I checked it and couldn’t find it anywhere! Last week, however, I finally found out why. Apparently, it’s a word used only in Scotland! 

The Edinburgh Live news site said: 

Scottish Twitter almost imploded after users discovered that the word ‘outwith’ is only used in Scotland. An endless array of Tweets saw Scots discover that the commonly used term is in fact only native to our homeland and not further afield (we didn’t know either!).