Friday 15 August 2014

A moofae a tae?

Would you like one, then?  If ye come frae Aberdeen you're almost certain to answer in the affirmative, probably by saying "aye".  If you come from elsewhere in the WEA, you'll probably say yes also.  If you're reading this in Київ or Омск and English is not your first language, then you're quite possibly bemused by the phrase even if you could hear it spoken in a Scottish accent. It's asking if you'd like a cup (mouthful) of tea.  I've just finished reading Parisians: an adventure hisory of Paris by Graham Mott.  His occasional use of slang French (always with a English translation) made me realise that my "French" conversation skills are so far adrift from normal usage that I must be close to unintelligible in France. A moofae a tae is "Doric".  That name is now given to the language spoken in the NE of Scotland centred on Aberdeen, where I was discussing the bible a few days or forty years ago. The name comes from a clever analogy to the distinction between Attic (educated Athenian) and Doric (Spartan rustic) Greek in the days of Sophocles - only in Scotland where education is so highly regarded could such a classical reference achieve acceptance outside the Academies. Doric used to apply to all Scots but now, as I say, it's limited to a (substantial) corner of Scotland, Lallans is what is spoken in the Lowlands i.e. South-Central Scotland.  I think such regional variants of the language(s) should be cherished because diversity is good. Scots/English is on the edge of what is a language and what is a dialect of a language.  Discussion of such matters is politically charged and so difficult to assess scientifically.  But whatever your position on the spectrum you can still enjoy Tintin in Scots.

A few days ago Tywkiwdbi posted a link to a series of "how to understand Doric" youtube videos, from which I've clipped the moofae a tae phrase as a come-on.  It's a bit like One-Minute Japanese in it's style: a bit laborious if you just want a flavour.  The sidebar of the Doric videos led me on to channel called BeautyCreep which has some interesting meanders through Scots words and phrases which you may care to test yourself on before getting BC give you the answers.  What do these words mean in regular English?:
piece in a poke

No comments:

Post a Comment