I’ve been wondering about this ever since I was a kid. When I started watching Star Trek at age 7, it was because of Scotty that I decided that Scotland is my favorite country. James Doohan was Canadian, but apparently he was well respected as an actor who could do accents. Indeed, I understand that his spontaneous Scottish accent while auditioning persuaded the writers to make Scotty … er … Scottish.
Decades later – I’ve never been to Scotland, but I’ve heard many Scottish accents, and none of them sound like James Doohan’s. Is it possible that such a well-respected accent-tician was actually a hack? How fake is Scotty’s accent?
Eh, it’s not great - it’s a non-native trying to do a generic Scots accent, and not sounding like any Scottish person ever. That’s all right though, because Scotty’s a cool guy (a positive stereotype even - likes a drink and is a great engineer), plus I don’t think James Doohan ever claimed any kind of authenticity.
Now that was a joke, I found the Glasgow accent one of the easiest to understand on American ears. I think it was near Kirriemuir I had the most problems. I stayed out on a farm and found some little tavern nearby that served a great steak. (I believe the town has a statue of Peter Pan as James Barrie was born there.)
I really recall the Glasgow accent to be relatively mild compared to a city like Edinburgh or a town like Sterling.
Now it may have just been Doohan covering his ass, but I’ve read several interviews where he claimed to have done a “generic” Scots accent on purpose because American audiences would not have been able to understand a full-blown Scots accent. I saw him at my one and only ST convention back in the early 90s, and he did a rnage of accents in a little skit along the lines of “What if the engineer had been_____?” Honestly, every accent he did was very broad and over-the-top to my ears.
I have to agree in some case. I recall watching an absolutely captivating movie from Scotland a few years back which (iirc) concerned a middle-aged drug addict falling in love with his counselor and trying to keep a young addict from going down the same road he had traveled (can’t recall the title of the film). Even though it was in English, I was glad the damn thing was subtitled as I only understood about every fourth word.