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Scots language

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The Scots language or Scots dialect was a Human language originating in the Earth region of Scotland.

Scots words were frequently used in speech by both Montgomery Scott of the prime universe and Montgomery Scott of the alternate reality, as well as by some of the inhabitants of Caldos II such as Ned Quint. (TOS; Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness; TNG: "Sub Rosa", et al.)

Scots is the Germanic language of Scotland, closely allied to standard English. It is not to be confused with Scottish Gaelic, which is more like Irish.


In the script of Star Trek, Scott talked more about food than he does in the final version of the film. At one point, he asked Spock if there was "piece and jam," (sandwiches - "jeelie piece" in traditional Scots) mince and "tatties" (potatoes), or cockaleekie soup in the future time period Spock had come from." [16]


Background information Edit

James Doohan was fond of saying that the Scottish accent represented only one percent of the Montgomery Scott character, with the other ninety-nine percent comprised of the actor himself. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 289) Prior to portraying the role, Doohan had only once played a character with a Scottish accent, in an installment of the sitcom Hazel entitled "Hazel's Highland Fling".

According to Director James Goldstone, the idea of James Doohan doing a Scottish accent in the role of Montgomery Scott was first suggested to Doohan by Goldstone, when he called the actor shortly before Doohan auditioned for the role. "I [...] asked if he could do a Scottish accent, because Jimmy's not Scottish," Goldstone explained. "And he said [imitating the dialect], 'Of course I can do a Scottish accent' [....] In fact, as I recall and you'll have to check with Jimmy on this, I think I told him to speak [with a Scottish accent] when he came in, and not just read in Scottish, because I wanted them to think he was Scottish." (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 105) According to Doohan himself, though, he had no idea, when he went to the Desilu casting office, that he would end up playing a character with a Scottish accent. (Star Trek: The Original Series 365, p. 289) The Scots dialect was one of a variety of accents which Doohan tried while auditioning for the role. In hindsight, Gene Roddenberry specified that the director was the person who asked Doohan whether he could mimic a Scottish accent. (Star Trek - Where No One Has Gone Before, p. 16) Later, after Roddenberry asked Doohan which accent he preferred, Doohan chose the Scottish one. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 11/12, p. 28) Doohan himself recalled, "I decided to give Scotty an Aberdeen accent, which was something I had learned [...] when I was sent over to England during the war. While I was there, I met this fellow from Aberdeen; and I couldn’t understand one word he said! But I did learn that accent from him and that was the one I used for Scotty." (Conversations at Warp Speed) Much to the actor's delight, the Scottish accent was also the preferred choice of the producers. (The Best of Trek, pp. 90 & 93) As such, it was approved by both Roddenberry and Goldstone. (The Star Trek Compendium, 4th ed., p. 18) "They said, 'Well, we rather like that, too,'" remembered Doohan. (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 53)

Doohan imagined Montgomery Scott's accent as perhaps being reminiscent of a bygone era. He reckoned, "300-400 years from now we may have lost all accents. I get around that by saying that things got so boring that we all went to school to learn our original accents." (Starlog, issue 62, p. 43)

John D.F. Black noted that Scott's "dialect stayed in place" during Star Trek: The Original Series, even if James Doohan was required to do a lot of repetition owing to the Enterprise's engines repeatedly failing. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 19) His Scots accent duped multiple various Hollywood casting directors and authentic Scotsmen alike into thinking Doohan was genuinely Scottish, though he was actually Canadian. (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 112) "I knew I was being typecast, not only with dialects, but specifically the Scottish accent," he stated. On the other hand, he remarked, "I love that dialect." (The Star Trek Interview Book, p. 55) Doohan elaborated that his fondness for the Scottish accent was because speakers of it "can be quite lyrical if they are given the proper words." (Starlog, issue 62, p. 44)

In a character description from the Writers'/Directors' Guide for the ultimately never-produced television series Star Trek: Phase II, Scott's voice was described as "an accent that drips of heather and the Highlands." (The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, p. 111)

Despite being the son of James Doohan, difficulties with the Scottish accent prevented Chris Doohan from auditioning for the role of Montgomery Scott, during the casting of the 2009 film Star Trek. Upon the Provost of Linlithgow subsequently enquiring as to why he hadn't tried out for the part, Chris Doohan told the Provost about the language problems. "I told him that my accent wasn't very good, which made him laugh hysterically," remembered Doohan. "He replied, 'Then you would be perfect for the part.' He then told me that my father's Scottish accent was terrible, but that’s one of the things they loved about him." [17]

Simon Pegg adopted a Scottish accent to portray the alternate reality version of Montgomery Scott. "I had some leeway," he remarked, "and I made Scotty's accent Northwestern Scottish – just above Glasgow, but pretty Glaswegian." [18] In Pegg's case, the accent was inspired by his wife. "Obviously because I'm English but playing a Scot, my [Scottish] wife was on set with me, and I would go up to her after every take and ask if it sounded okay," Pegg recalled. "Tommy Gormley, the brilliant First AD, is from Glasgow, so even though I was pulling Scotty slightly further west than Linlithgow, I wanted to do an accent I could really deliver." (Star Trek Magazine issue 145,  p. 29) Director J.J. Abrams was pleased Gormley could "police" Pegg's portrayal of the Scottish accent. ("Casting", Star Trek DVD/Star Trek BD special features)

Chris Doohan felt hopeful about Simon Pegg's accent as Scott. Doohan stated about Pegg, "His Scottish accent is very good, with a slight Glaswegian flare [....] There are many who think the new Scotty should have a 'flawless Scottish accent', but I disagree." [19]

Several members of production personnel who worked on 2009's Star Trek were thrilled with Simon Pegg's Scottish accent in the movie. These impressed laborers included Tommy Gormley, who stated about Pegg's take on the accent, "I think it's fantastic. I've got a very critical ear for hearing a bad Scottish accent, but, eh, he's got a wife from Glasgow, so he's already an honorary Scot." J.J. Abrams agreed about Pegg, "He just completely knows the accent inside out, able to do it, just, you know, genius." ("Casting", Star Trek DVD/Star Trek BD special features)

Ultimately, Simon Pegg was dissatisfied with his accent in the film Star Trek. He commented, "When I watch [Star Trek (2009)] I was kind of 'oh no,' because I hear it [....] My father in law after the first one was like 'that was shyte.'" [20]

For Montgomery Scott's subsequent appearance in Star Trek Into Darkness, Simon Pegg tried to improve on his Scottish vocalizations. "I really had to buck up and go into it with a new 'all right, I'm going to do this properly.' He [Pegg's father-in-law] asked me to put words in like 'Cludgie' which is Scottish for toilet. So I would do these things, like I would say 'JJ, I am going to put this in because I think he would say that.' And JJ would say 'Simon, we need the audience to understand what you are saying.' So a lot of the Scottish-isms I try to wheedle in get wheedled out." Despite this, Pegg feels pleased with his accent more in Star Trek Into Darkness than in the 2009 Star Trek movie. [21] He also nonetheless influenced the Scots spoken in both films, later recalling, "When the scripts for Star Trek (2009) and Into Darkness came in, I'd be the one saying, 'No, it's the Welsh that say 'boyo,' you know?" Pegg additionally credited his Scottish family members as having clued him into such observations. (Star Trek Magazine Movie Special 2016, p. 74)

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