Aye Can - Speak Scots Language

Speak Scots

Scottish Census 2011 - 27th March


There is much about the Caithness dialect that is similar to the North East. For example, in Caithness, just as in the North East, an f is used instead of a wh. So what and when become fat and fan. Also, the th at the start of many words is lost so that the, that, this and they are pronounced e, at, is and ey by Caithness speakers.

Other features of the dialect include the form ee in many words, such as been (bone), heer (hair), meed (made), and meen (moon), while sh is common instead of ch, giving words such as shapel (chapel). Sometimes Caithness speakers also say she, her or hers instead of it and its.

Although Caithness (Caitnes) faces towards Orkney, it forms part of another, wider dialect known as Northern Scots. Northern Scots includes all the forms of Scots spoken from Caithness as far south as eastern Angus.

The well known places of Caithness include Dounreay (Dounerie), John O' Groats (The Groats), Thurso (Thursa), and Wick (Weik). Like some other parts of Scotland, Caithness has a long-established fishing community which has its own distinct Scots words and phrases.

Click on the links to hear people speaking Caithness.