Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Language Lessons

This first year in Scotland is my familiarization year.  It is a year of grace in which I have the opportunity to settle in and learn about the culture and church before taking on a parish of my own.  

Part of this familiarization has involved learning how things operate and how to operate myself within this culture.  It has also included unintentional language lessons -- those times in conversation when I have looked at someone in clear confusion as I tried to interpret what they just said.  I have, of course, returned the favor (one conversation included the phrase catty-cornered, which caused great amusement).

So, I now share with you a variety of new words for your edification, in no particular order...

Dreich, mingin' = gray, rainy, dreary.  Apparently, dreich is a bit "nicer" way to say it

rammy, stooshy, stramash = argument.  These are all about the same in terms of intensity, from what I understand.  A stramash can also be a disturbance.

bidie-in = your significant other with whom you live, without being married

dear = expensive

stocious = drunk 

chuffed = pleased about something

brass-necked = arrogant

bamboozled = confused

kerfuffle = confusion.  You can have a kerfuffle in a situation or your papers and things might be in a kerfuffle

dingin' doon = pouring down rain

to grass someone out = to rat them out

skip = dumpster

teuchter = a country person

waistcoat = vest

vest = camisole

braces = suspenders

wool = yarn, be it wool, cotton, or acrylic, or anything else

suss out = figure something out, work it out


  1. I hope this will be an ongoing column....
    something tells me that you'll keep this list going for quite some time! Thanks for the lesson... :)

  2. Love this, please post more when you have more! I have actually heard a few of these, and a couple are generally British, rather than specifically Scottish (skip & braces). Interesting that bamboozled means "swindled" here and "confused" there...

    Looks like you are having some interesting conversations, anyway! :)

  3. Well then, it certainly is dreich, mingin' in Oklahoma today, and I think I am always in a kerfuffle! Thanks for the language lesson!

  4. Hi Julia
    Just found your lessons in language.
    Thought you might be interested in another Kerfuffle. They are an English folk band who have, for the past 6 years,developed a large following across the country with their particulalry vibrant style of traditional music. Try their web site for a few sound clips at www.kerfuffleonline.co.uk to add to you acclimatisation to the UK!
    Best wishes

  5. Chris, thanks for the info on Kerfuffle. I will definitely check them out.