It has been a slow week for adventures, nothing untoward has happened to me Daisy, Karen or Mark: the entities that inhabit our place of residence. I have
noticed that a sizeable quantity of large cardboard boxes have appeared and spread like the pesky clematis growth in my front garden. However, they are in preparation for Mark, our baby (he is 28), taking his first tentative steps into the world of home ownership.
To be fair, Karen and I have been reaping the benefits by way of enjoying Mark's endeavours in expanding his culinary repertoire. Recently, he has been producing some top notch fare, inclusive of meat for them and exclusive of same in catering for my palate. Though that will all be snatched away from us when he departs.
September is now upon us, which means that two thirds of 2022 has already passed us and, like my wee mum used to say, 'time gets faster as you get older'. My mum had a variety of wonderful sayings and idioms, some she had received from her mother, my gran, and which had no doubt come from further back in time than that.
Living as I now do, and have done for the past 35-plus years, in Edinburgh, it is not often I hear the particular inflection and pronunciation of words or phrases that I grew up with. I operated for a time in a kind of duel existence, when, as a raw 16-year-old, I embarked on my working life in the city. The language, outlook, style and general demeanour of the new place was so foreign to me, though I did learn quickly to adapt to both ways. I spoke the local 'patois' at home and the new, what seemed to me a very formal way of language and communication, when in the office. The older guys still referred to me as a country bumpkin though. Which to the townies, of course, I was.
I always think that it is quite incredible that Scotland, being such a small place, has such a multitude of accents. So much so, I like to play a kind of game when meeting people (mostly in social situations), where I try to place their accent. In many cases, I have been spot on and in most have placed the accent in a particular part of the country, if not the actual town. I suppose, turning my theory on its head, it might actually be easier to determine a Scottish person's accent because there are fewer of us.
My brother and one of my sisters live in the village where I was born and raised, for which they retain the colloquial dialect. I recall when my boys were wee, they would often come back from their aunties and uncles, excitedly telling their Edinburgh-born mother that they had a lovely time, but they were unable to understand a lot of what was being said.
During the pandemic (you remember), like many other people throughout the country, I kept up regular online and phone contact with my brother and sisters, all of us making sure that, though at a distance, we were looking out for each other. I remember on first hearing my brother saying that when Coronavirus first appeared and was spreading in great numbers, this 'Covit' is a scary thing. Thinking I had misheard, I was again puzzled when later he referred to 'The Covit'. Initially, I thought this corruption of the word, peculiar and even contemplated trying to correct him. However, after thinking about it, I realised that he and the wider community he lived in had taken the word and adapted it to fit with their vernacular.
Much like the many other words before and ones which will follow, there is a deep and real sense of power in them having been adapted for local use. For places to survive and flourish, there is a need for a collective identity and that identity is never more powerful than in language.
One final thought: it's definitely weans
and not bairns
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