The Patter The Patter, Another Blast The Complete Patter Order The Complete Patter

From the Introduction to The Patter, 1985

This little book was conceived as a defining guide to the language of the big bad beautiful city of Glasgow. The language is that to be heard in the city's homes and public places, often on television and radio, and sometimes read in newspapers, magazines, or books: the contemporary urban Scots dialect of Glasgow.

(...) While concentrating on words exclusive to Glasgow I thought it helpful to include a proportion of Scots material having a wider geographical spread. Sometimes this was because a word has a specific Glasgow twist to its general meaning but more often because the word is part of the everyday speech of Glasgow and as much of a puzzle to speakers of 'Standard English' as the bona fide Glaswegianisms.

The speech of the Glaswegian has been much maligned. Even natives of the city have joined in yoking it with illiteracy and stigmatizing it as ignorant corruption of the Queen's English. No help has been given by various jokey books about Glasgow parlance that contrive to present it as a language for inarticulate idiots. I will admit that Glaswegian at its broadest has idiosyncratic habits that the purist condemns as slovenly but I would immediately add that these are no more intrinsically deplorable or deserving of contempt than the slurs, elisions, and lazy pronunciation common to that dialect which, through prevalence at the English Court and enshrinement by the B.B.C., has come to be regarded as 'good' English.

(...) This is not intended to be a scholarly work of lexicography. While having the serious intention of recording the language I could see no reason to scorn entertaining the native as well as enlightening the foreigner and have therefore tried to maintain a lighthearted tone in the definitions and illustrative examples. (...)

Michael Munro, 1985

From the Introduction to The Patter - Another Blast, 1988

(...) The Patter has been successful beyond the imaginings of anyone connected with it. (...) Why should this slim, unsensational publication have been in such demand? (...)

Language, of course, is an item of personal baggage that is easy to carry. Wherever you go, it goes, unless you deliberately attempt to leave it behind; and even then it has a way of turning up when your guard is down. Particularly in a foreign country, you can't help but be aware of it every time you open your mouth to speak, whether to be met with incomprehension or delighted recognition. For the homesick it is a concrete link with home. It is the medium for shared humour, remembered songs and poems, catch-phrases, and greetings that will always identify you more truly than any passport photograph. For many people, then, a book of their own language is a relatively rare and welcome thing; a focus for memories, a souvenir of their own past.

(...) I would reiterate that I am not in the business of teaching anyone How to speak Glaswegian. As I have said, the language is a form of common identity and although an incomer may pick up its commonest features and understand all of what he hears he will never pass for a native speaker. Something in his accent will give him away. So I'm afraid that to be fluent in The Patter you have to arrange to be born here. By the way, I have learnt that such a dictionary of a particular area rejoices in the academic title of an idioticon. I suppose that makes me an idioticographer. What it makes my readers I'm sure I don't know, but I wish them an abundance of pleasure or enlightenment or whatever it is they desire from this little book. (...)

Michael Munro, 1988

From the Introduction to The Complete Patter, 1996

(...) By the time The Patter was ten years old I felt that my look at Glasgow language should be brought up to date and it became my goal to amalgamate the first two books and produce a compendium. (...)

In these books I have always supported the idea that Glasgow language is a valid and creative dialect of Scots, not, as some would have it, a slovenly corruption of standard English. At times it seems that this battle has been fought ad won; than again, a writer of the magnitude of James Kelman, an artist working at the top of his bent, of whom any national literature must be proud, can still be castigated by the ignorant for expressing himself in the demotic language of his native city. If my work contributes towards making Glaswegian Scots more respected then I will consider it to have been of some use. (...)

Michael Munro, 1996

Amazon.co.uk logo link up with Amazon.co.uk here if you wish to order The Complete Patter