Words and pronunciation

Growing up in Scotland we had many words which I now suspect were entirely made up by the local community. Words which cannot be accurately written down because I have no idea how to spell the strange clearing-the-phlegm-from-the-throat parts.

We also had lots of slang, of which my mother did not approve (she really didnae) and words unique to different regions. I especially enjoyed encountering the northern dialects when we went on our holidays to the beach. Aye, that’s right – my childhood beach was beside the North Sea. Aye, I did swim in that cold, cold water.

I miss the words I grew up with. Having dropped so many from my own vocabulary to avoid the blank looks of confusion, I love when I talk to family on the phone, or when they visit, and they give me some of those words back.

Bumf is a good word – it means stuff usually of the rather useless variety or just not belonging to the speaker. For example a mailbox full of junk mail would be bumf. Or it can mean information, as in “here’s the bumf you were asking about” as you hand over all the paperwork regarding the mating habits of seahorses that your coworker had requested.

(What? I don’t know what you people work on!)

Other good words are squinty and havering and och.

I like that sometimes I find a word that is used slightly differently by different people… Oh I shouldn’t have started on this topic because the only examples that currently come to mind are rude sweary type words. Nevermind!

I like words that are pronounced differently by different people. Tomato, obviously. Or tah-mah-a in the slang of my home town.

But I don’t like some of the American pronunciations. I feel like something is gone, like they’ve simplified the words and removed a layer of expression by changing how the word is spoken.

For example, tube.

Americans say ‘toob’ so it rhymes with boob and makes me think ‘container, similar to tub.’
But the Scots, and other Brits, say it like ‘t-yoo-b’ actually like ‘chewb’ with a nice YOO sound in the middle, which is much better when you are referring to a stupid person as a ‘tube’.

And the name ‘Craig’ is NOT pronounced ‘Creg’ it’s just NOT, okay?
It’s ‘CRAY-G’


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