We may all love to banter, but only one in four Glaswegians has the Patter.

That, at least, is the conclusion of the first full-scale survey of how many of us speak "wir ain leid".

More than 142,000 people in the city said they spoke Scots in the 2011 census - around 25% of the entire population old enough to talk.

Glasgow being the biggest city in Scotland, it also has the biggest concentration of Scots-speakers.

However, as a share of the population, the number is one of the lowest in the country.

Only the city's posh suburbs, East Dunbartonshire and East Renfrewshire; cosmopolitan Edinburgh; and still largely Gaelic-speaking Western Isles had lower proportions of Scots speakers.

Even the Highlands - once largely Gaelic, now famous for its clear English - had the same level of Scots speaking as Glasgow, arguably one of the language's heartlands.

Michael Hance, director of the Centre for the Scots Leid, said "It's great to hear that so many Glesga folk describe themselves as Scots speakers, but I suspect that the figures underestimate the true number of people who actually speak Scots in the city."

Many experts reckon some Glaswegians simply didn't realise they speak Scots - because so many of us have come to mock our own speech as mere "slang" rather than an internationally recognised language.

True, many Glaswegians intermingle their Scots with modern Standard Scottish English to such an extent they can begin their sentence in one language and end it in another.

But Mr Hance - an Aberdonian - reckons he hears more Scots spoken in the streets of Glasgow than the census results would suggest.

"My own experiences in Glasgow suggest there are far more folk who sound like Mary Doll than Kirsty Wark," he said.

"The city is packed with people using what many folk call 'the Patter' and which language experts ­describe as the Glasgow dialect of Scots.

"It's possible though that some folk haven't heard the expression Scots and maybe don't identify their own ­dialect as part of the Scots language family.

"What we know for certain is that there is huge pride in the Glasgow dialect, you only need to look on social media sites like Facebook where many Glaswegians share their views on the world in their local dialect.

"And on YouTube you can hear examples of Glasgow dialect in scores of videos and recordings."

Ahead of the 2011 Census, Mr Hance and his team tried to raise awareness of what Scots was.

That is because the ­language really exists as a series of local dialects and there is no one 'right way; of saying things.

It also means that many ­people associate the way they talk not with a ­national language, but with a local dialect.

The Northern Islanders of Shetland and Orkney, for example, talk differently to Doric speakers from Aberdeen or pattering Glaswegians. But these are all ­related dialects of "Scots".

Nearly half of all Shetlanders said they spoke Scots; the same proportion as people in Aberdeenshire.

The figure was nearly as high in Orkney, at 41%. ­Ayrshire - home to one of the most important dialects of Scots and the national bard, Robbie Burns, scored 40%.

Glaswegians have a long traditional of mining the Patter for laughs.

The Chewin' the Fat team of Greg Hemphill and Ford Keirnan loved "the banter" and "translating for neds".

But they were part of a long tradition pioneered by comedy legend Stanley ­Baxter half a century ago.

"I came up with the idea for Parliamo Glasgow back in the late 50s and suggested it to my writer, Stan Mars," Mr Baxter previously said.

"Stan took it and made it incredibly funny; this juxtaposition of Glaswegian dialect into Received Pronunciation - and the variety theatre, and later television audiences, lapped it up.

"I think it worked because Glasgwegians have an inate ability to laugh at themselves. They love to see themselves represented on stage or TV, and it doesn't matter if the representation isn't particularly kind.

"Glaswegians know they distort English to suit themselves and have a lot of fun doing that. It's also a strong working-class voice that's coming through.

"Over the years, the Parliamo device has continued to work. I heard Kiernan and Hemphill used it in their sketch show and that also worked wonderfully."

But just one in four have the Patter? Asawee shame, sowitiz, as Mr Baxter might have said.



Top 10 Glasgow words

1. Wallies. False teeth. Wally is an old Scots word for anything made of China or porcelain…hence wally dugs.

2. Stairhead. Landing - often as in a wally or tiled close - and home to stairheid jessies, busybodies, and venue for stairheid rammies.

3. Windae hingin. What a stairheid Jessie might do when she finishes her rammy. To sitting with a cushion under the arms (folded) while watching the world go by in the street below from her tenement.

4. Piece. Wee sandwich - preferably a jeely or jam one - chucked down from said windae to weans playing below.

5. Jawbox. Kitchen sink, the place where you jaw or splash water before pouring it down the jawhole or drain, which is also called a stank.

6. Mingin. What stanks can be when they or the cludgie are rerr reekin.

7. Pokey Hat. Ice-cream cone bought from the same van as the ginger - any carbonated drink.

8. Sugarolly water. A stick of liquorice added to water in a boatl to produce homemade ginger.

9. Keelie. Urban ruffian, a wean that's asking for his bahookie to be skited.

10. Brammer. Something so good it's a stoater. Like real ginger instead of sugarolly water.