Vernacular: A digression

Day 3 of our Scotland trip will follow. Today we’re going to digress and talk about language.

I love finding out about how people talk in other places. The small, every-day turns of phrase.

So here are a few I learned about in Scotland.

Pence: OK, this isn’t slang at all. I just never realized that Pence is the plural of Penny. It took staring at handfuls of Scottish coins to figure it out. You can mentally attach an “ignorant American” hashtag to this and we’ll move on.

You’s: Plural of you! Just like ya’ll, but somehow fancier sounding.

Ta-Ta/Toodle-oo: Good-bye. This may not be the same everywhere but I heard more men say “Ta-Ta” and more women say “Toodle-oo”.

Have your bed: Meaning, have you slept yet or are you going to sleep soon. “You look tired. Have you had your bed?”

Half-7: 7:30. Works for any time. It was sometimes “Half past 7” but I could never figure out if there were rules for when you used one or the other.

[A digression within a digression]

The best-man of the wedding we attended was an Irishman called Diarmuid. His best-man speech was lovely and contained an anecdote of the dangers of slang even between countries as close in proximity as Scotland and Ireland.

The groom’s sister’s boyfriend is a fantastic lad called Kevin. A hilarious man with bright bright red hair.

And in Ireland, foxy is slang for a person with red hair.

And in Scotland, foxy means the same thing as it does in America.

So there were strange looks all around when Diarmuid was talking to the family and mentioned how Kevin was quite foxy.

[End sub-digression]

Buoyancy aid: Life jacket. To be fair, I never actually heard anyone say this. I just saw it on some signs. But it has a nice ring to it.

Wee: Small, obviously. Everyone knows about this one. But it works for everything. “A wee minute” is one of my favorites.

Dog fouling: Dog poop. Again, something I only saw on signs. All of the clean-up-after-your-dog signs referenced the Scottish Anti-Dog Fouling Act of 2003. It was also quite nice because even residential neighborhoods had small garbage cans everywhere.

Hen-do: Bachelorette party!

Stag-do: Bachelor party!

That’s all, just a few sayings that I heard a lot over the course of the week and liked enough to write down.

I think, all told, that the Scottish accent is one of my favorites. It was so lovely to be surrounded by it for the week and it was quite jarring to come home.