November 05, 2013

gutted, chuffed, skived & scuppered.

The Scottish accent is really really hard to pick up. I consider myself to be fairly proficient when it comes to imitating an English accent (at least better than Drew Barrymore's attempt in Ever After... though I do love that movie), but with Scottish? It's an odd breed. If you're not careful you can quickly turn it into some weird British accent with an Eliza Dolittle kick, or suddenly you've become Irish or gone all Aussie, or, when things really go off course, you're sounding Punjabi. Not sure how that happens, but it does.

Wayne and I have worked fairly hard at trying to master the Scottish accent. Being surrounded by it helps greatly, but there's certain things that we just haven't been able to grasp -- like that tiny roll of the r in words like "sorry". So far I just sound like I have a weird speech impediment when I attempt that level of accent mastery.

{Eating Scottish shortbread helps improve your accent, really truly!}

Besides the accent, there's a whole extra category of Scottish vocabulary that we didn't really anticipate. We've had conversations with people where the whole thing is really one-sided -- they seem to understand us but we're just nodding and smiling because we can't understand a word they're saying. You know how sometimes while watching BBC flicks you need to turn on the closed captioning to see what on earth that angry old British lady is saying? Well... with this, it's ten times worse, and sadly there's no closed captioning in real life -- just two nodding Canadians with confused smiles plastered on their faces.

{Hullo! Jolly red phone boxes on the Royal Mile. They have accents, too.}

Words and phrases that Scottish people use all the time:

Aye & Nae: Yes and no. I think this is great. One time a this little kid at church was asked if he was hungry and ready for lunch and he responded with a giant, "AYE!" Made my day.

Being cheeky: This is also used all the time and can be used for varying degrees of cheekiness -- ranging from being generally saucy to nastily sarcastic to disrespectfully mouthy to dumping all your food on the floor in a toddler-esque rage. Don' bae cheeky!

Wee: Probably the most flexible word in all of Scotland's vocabulary. It's used repetitively as a fill-in adjective, even if the thing being discussed isn't "wee" at all. Example: "Yesterday mornin I took a wee hike up that wee mountain and when I got home had a wee bath and a wee cuppa afterwards." They can't all be wee!!! But they are. Scottish magic. 

Fortnight: This means two weeks, but you probably knew that. It's not really the uniqueness of the word as being Scottish... I just think it's brilliant that they actually use it in common vernacular!

Skived: Avoiding/shirking duties etc.

Scuppered: Mixed up, wrecked, sunk. Example: "My schedule's been scuppered due to the overwhelmingly massive amounts of The Great British Bake Off that I've been watching." Btdubs, TGBBO is a huge deal here. Like... huge. 

Chuffed: Pleased. Example: "I'm chuffed that my apple pie turned out so well!" or "I'm chuffed that I have avoided eating haggis so far!" Which is entirely and amazingly true and I intend to keep it this way and I will not regret it at all. 

Gutted: Opposite of chuffed, meaning very very disappointed. It's like you're so disappointed that all of your insides have been torn out which is rather revolting but there you have it. Example: "Gutted when I think about going back to eating American yogurt after enjoying Scottish yogurt all summer."

We've got a small obsession with yogurt quality. We're yogurt snobs. If there was a yogurt connoisseur reality show, we'd be on it. If you're interested, the best yogurt in the world is located in Austria. We follow the yogurt. 

Pants: Underwear. Completely embarrassed two wee girls by using this word incorrectly, but that's another story for another day...

There are so, so many more, but we'll keep it at this short list. Pull these out on your friends! You'll be British-cool! Or they'll just think you've gone a bit nuts. Either way is good. 

 {This has nothing to do with accents. Wayne is perhaps contemplating accents. Or he's just annoyed that the fire alarm went off and has forced us to sit outside... which isn't all that bad}

{This post written in June 2013}

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