A family history mentions that a set of my ancestors in New Brunswick, CANADA, spoke "braid Scotch", but I cannot figure out what that is. There are only a few mentions of the phrase online, but they provide no clear definition.

  • 2
    Where I live if someone speaks "broad Oldham" (or Lancashire)" it simply means they have a very strong local accent
    – Pat Gray
    Feb 2, 2018 at 15:19

2 Answers 2


There is technically no such thing as the Scotch language, although that term was used historically. It is more commonly referred to as the Scots language.

Braid Scots (English broad Scots) is simply the vernacular (native dialect). This phrase alone does not localise the dialect within Scotland further.

What the author probably meant was: they could hardly understand a word of what they were saying when they spoke in "braid Scotch".

  • ...so this is not Scottish Gaelic. Jan 31, 2018 at 2:16
  • I had to look up the meaning of "vernacular"; it's domestic or of the people. Jan 31, 2018 at 2:17
  • I don't think that he was saying that he couldn't understand them. I think that he was giving a piece of information to describe them more fully. They were from the lowlands/boarders. Jan 31, 2018 at 2:27
  • Sorry, I meant that last part a bit tongue-in-cheek – obviously no way to know from this whether he could understand braid Scots
    – Harry V.
    Jan 31, 2018 at 3:53

Braid Scots was mostly a mix of old, old English and Scottish Gaelic. The most famed use of braid Scots is written by John Barbour, a poet from early Britain

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