“I’m a blether,” my friend said.
See, I might live in Scotland, but this is what I live here for. After my first Glasgow taxi ride where the driver put me out of the cab because I asked him to speak English (apparently he already was), I’ve made a collection of the times I’ve experienced these wonderful new words in the wild. For example, I’ve gone along all these years without once knowing that I’m in a total guddle [confused mess], let alone documented my tendency to blether [chatter].
When we moved to Glasgow from England just as I was getting a handle on the whole separated by a common language thing, I started to document the new vocabulary. This is easier to do in Scotland than it was in England, where people speaking impenetrably broad Yorkshire would hear my American accent and instantly sound like they’re reading the news for the BBC. In Glasgow, however, although the taxi drivers are probably thinking “Yer a numpty bawbag,” [You are an idiotic scrotum], they no longer boot me out of the car, and I actually understand
what they’re saying some of what they’re saying the words “Aye, nae bother.”
Luckily, I found an expert tutor in the form of the receptionist at a nearby medical office. I was completely smitten because she said och and aye and every noun was modified by wee. When I called, I always had a pencil ready to write down everything she said so I could look up translations after we hung up. Take, for example, this early conversation:
Me: Do you have a minute?
Her: Och weel aye ah cuid blether fur a few mair minutes. Tis bin sae dreich ‘n’ wi’ th’ smirr t’ wee bits wur drookit by th’ time we git tae wirk, sae a’ body ‘ere is a bawherr bit crabbit ‘n’it juist feels barry tae hae someone crakin’ tae blether tae… [**Yes I could talk for a few more minutes. It’s been such bad weather and with the rain our boots were soaked by the time we got to work, so everyone here is a little bit grumpy and it just feels wonderful to have someone nice to talk to…]
Me: Um… so about that prescription?
Her: Och, nae bother! Wull juist be a wee minute ’til t’doctor’s had a wee keek. Mynd ye, th’ wee affice wis hoachin’ this mornin’, bit we hud that wee lot cleared by dinner. Och, then. That’s ye done. [**It’s ready.]
Why, you may well ask, did I work so hard at this? I’m a wee bit closer to cracking the Glasgow taxi driver’s code, or at least being allowed to stay in the taxi. I just have to watch a few more Billy Connolly videos like this one (NSFW but you’ll hurt yourself laughing) or maybe Kevin Bridges like the one below.
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