In Scotland, they speak English. But listening to someone from Scotland is very different from talking to someone from London. Not only do they have different accents, but many of the words they use aren’t in a typical English man’s lexicon. Today, we’ll be looking at “Dinna Fash”.
What does “Dinna Fash” mean?
“Dinna Fash” is Scottish slang for “Don’t worry”. It’s a combination of English and French, said in a Scottish accent. “Dinna Fash” is even older than the United Kingdom. Despite how it might sound, “Dinna Fash” has nothing to do with dinner, in a, fascism, or flashing.
Today, we’ll be looking at where it comes from, and why there is French in Scottish slang.
Why is Scottish English different from the Queen’s English?
Scottish English is slightly different from the Queen’s English. In fact, many Englishmen struggle to understand Scottish people.
Of course, this is partly because languages evolve naturally over time. Think of English like dogs. Chihuahuas and Great Danes are both dogs, but they’ve evolved over time. London English and Scottish English but they have each taken their own path.
Also, unlike Scotland, England has been invaded by the Romans, the Saxons, and the Normans.
The poet Robbie Burns also gave Scotland a new sense of national pride, encouraging more scots to use terms not used by the English.
What does “Dinna” mean?
At first “Dinna” sounds like slang for “dinner”. This is not the case.
“Dinna” is the phonetic spelling of “Do not” in a Scottish accent.
In the Scottish dialect, “Do” sounds like “Deh”. And Scots will often chop the T off the end of words. So “Not” sounds like “Neh”.
Put the two together, and you get “Deh Neh”. Mixed into one word, “Deh Neh” becomes “Do not”.
It’s not too dissimilar to how we might turn “Ought to” into “oughtta” or “I’m going to” into “Imma”.
What does “Fash” mean?
“Fash” is slightly different. It doesn’t come from English at all, but French.
In France, one synonym to worry is “Fascher”. Although this is now a very old term that few people in France will regularly use today. However, during the 18th century, it was one of the more common ways to say “Worry”.
The Scottish decided to shorten “Fascher” to just “Fash”.
Outside of “Dinna fash”, the Scottish don’t tend to say “Fash”. It’s a bit like how “bobs” will only ever be seen with “bits”.
Who’d have thought that everyday Scottish slang comes from the land of Snails and baguettes?
Why are the Scottish speaking French?
I’m pretty sure most of you are now wondering why the Scottish use French in their slang.
As I’m sure, anyone who knows anything about English history knows, both Scotland and France have a habit of not always being best friends with England.
Clearly, Scotland believed that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”.
Using the French, the language of England’s enemy, the Scottish are making it clear how much they dislike the English.
Even though England and Scotland are now friends, their language still holds the remains of when they didn’t get on.
Other examples of Scottish Slang
Should you ever visit Scotland, here are some phrases that might be of use to you.
A beautiful woman. You can also have a Bonnie Time. When something is Bonnie, it means you are enjoying it!
A little girl. You could literally be referring to a female child. But you can also use it as an insult- used in this way it has a similar meaning to “wimp” or “coward”.
This one has three potential meanings, depending on the context. If you canny do something, you are not able to do it. Being Canny means to be careful. And a Cannie man is a clever man.
If someone is blethering on, they’re talking a bit too much.
Examples of “Dinna Fash” in a sentence
Here are some of the ways you might use “Dinna Fash” in a sentence
“Hey mate. I’m afraid I can’t go to the club with you tonight. I broke my leg.”
“Ah, Dinna Fash. We can do it another time.”
“Afraid I might be 5 minutes late today.”
“Dinna Fash yersel.”
(yerself means “Yourself”)
“I’m so nervous about my exam tomorrow.”
“Dinna Fash. You’ll be fine.”
“I donno if tha bonnie lassie likes meh.”
“Ah dinna fash. Am suyre sheh lohvs ya.”
Why are phrases like “Dinna Fash” being used more and more?
If you ask an Englishman what their nationality is, they’ll likely say either English or British. However, ask that same question to a Scot, and they’ll be far more likely to say “Scottish”.
Recently, Scottish Pride has seen a resurgence. Many Scots feel that English and Scottish culture are so different, the union isn’t effective anymore.
Currently, the political party with the most UK Parliament seats in Scotland is the SNP. The Scottish National Party wants Scotland to leave the UK, and become an independent nation.
Calls for Scottish Independence grew when Scotland voted to remain in the EU, despite the majority of the UK voting to leave.
Other examples of English Dialects
Scotland isn’t the only part of the UK to develop its own dialect. Even within England, certain phrases are only said in certain areas.
Should you travel to New Castle, you will likely hear someone say “Wae’eye”. What this means, I could probably write a whole article about.
In Portsmouth, Dinlo means idiot. It’s often shortened to just “din”.
Those who live in Surrey might refer to London as “The Smoke”, going back to the time when Surrey was filled with the countryside, and London was where all the factories were.
When it comes to tea, the southern working-class tend to call it a “cuppa”, but the northern working class will call it a “brew”.
“Dinna Fash” is Scottish slang for “Don’t Worry”.
It’s a combination of English and French and has a history of two countries uniting over their dislike of England. Sometimes it feels as though Scottish is an entirely different language, but once you dig beneath the surface, Scottish is easier to understand than it first seems.
Hopefully now, if you ever go to Scotland, you’ll have a slightly better idea of what the locals are trying to say to you.