Document 1432

BBC Voices Recording: Leith

Author(s): N/A

Copyright holder(s): BBC, SCOTS Project

Audio transcription

F1054 Okay, so do you want to start, Millie?
F1018 Eh, my name's Millie [CENSORED: surname], and I was born in Leith and when they cleared the slums I moved over to the Portobello area where I still stay.
M1022 Eh, my name's John [CENSORED: surname], and I was born in a street called Arthur Street in the St Leonard district of Edinburgh. Er, I now live near Tollcross in Edinburgh.
M1020 My name's Jimmy [CENSORED: surname], I was born in Loanheid, that's Midlothian, just ootside Edinburgh, but I've been longer in Edinburgh than I've been in Loanheid, so I don't know what I am.
M1019 My name's Noel [CENSORED: surname], I was also born in Leith and in the er fifties when er people were moving out we moved out to Saughton Mains. I now live in the centre of the town.
M1021 And I'm John [CENSORED: surname], er er born in the Grassmarket, that's right, in the Old Town, [tut], and lived there until I got married, then I moved into nicer places. Right? Like Tollcross and now er Morningside. Morningside, right. Aye, anything more about me? I'm a storyteller like Millie there. And that's about it.
F1054 Are you are you all writers as well as being erm storytellers and stuff as well? No?
M1022 Well I write, I'm writing short plays, learning with with Millie, cause Millie's my tu- tutor, my my mentor, my mentor, yes.
F1054 Uh-huh, grand, so that's how you all know one another is frae writing circles and stuff?
F1018 Well I know the- the- erm John and Noel from the storytelling. And I've just met Uncle Jimmy the day, but I quite like him. And [laugh], John here, I've actually, I've known him for a few years, because erm we started up a playwriting group an erm for older people cannot get their work done. And so we started up this group on our own and that's what we do. And John had a play on last year that was in Scots and it was an absolute tremendous success, one of the finest things that Citadel Arts Group's ever done.
F1054 Nice one, brilliant. //Eh gents, is there any chance I could//
M1020 //Brilliant it was.//
F1054 just get you to come in a tiny wee bit, it'll really save my arm, I know it's a pest, but erm it just makes the whole thing //flow a wee bit more.//
F1018 //We'll all get in//
M1022 //Me too?//
F1054 If you can, John, it'll be very cosy. Now, erm we'll le- we'll start the conversation with whatever words you thought "Oh I've got a great one for that!". Has anyone got any suggestions to kick things off? Millie.
F1018 Well "unwell", I mean unwell is so- no a word really that they would have used in Admirality Street where I came from, they'd have said that sh- they were peelie-wally.
F1054 Is anybody, would anybody else use that word?
M1022 I would use that word, yes. I've got peely-wally written down here actually, yeah.
M1021 Well I don't have that, I've just got er seeck.
F1054 That's another good one, I think.
M1019 Is it all dialect words you want, because it's other expressions would be "under the weather", "below par", "not up to the mark", "not up to scratch", you know? //Phrases, like that.//
F1054 //Oh yes.// Wha- what do you think folk in Leith or folk in Edinburgh would generally say?
M1020 Me, I'd say "no weel".
F1018 Nae weel. //Or seeck.//
M1020 //No keepin very weel, aye.//
F1018 As John said, they would just say "Oh, I'm seeck". //Aye, seeck.//
F1054 //Is it kind of more// common these days to say erm seeck and then maybe years ago, folk might have said pe- peely-wally or whatever?
F1018 //Yeah, yeah.//
M1022 //Yeah, peely-wally's died oot a bit, I think, yeah.//
M1019 //Referrin more specifically to how your com-, your your your complexion is, other than a condition,//
M1020 //Aye, aye seeck [inaudible].//
M1019 I think. //Yeah.//
F1054 //That's interesting, yeah.//
F1018 Or they would s-, nowadays they would say, "I'm oot o sorts". Ehm, definitely. But I was lookin at it, you know, back to ma grannie's day and I thought well she'd have said "Oh you're lookin awfy peelie-wally the day", "I'm no weel, granny."
M1020 Aye well, when we said er "seeck", that meant you was vomitin.
F1054 Mm, that's interestin.
M1020 You see that that was the difference,
F1054 Aye.
M1020 I think anyway.
F1054 Yeah. Aye, you would say "nae weel" if you were [inaudible].
M1020 Mm, aye, no weel, aye.
F1054 I'm kind of like that, I I would only say seeck, I think, if I was literally being seeck. Erm, and yeah, if I wasnae well I would just I wasnae weel.
M1020 Mm.
F1054 Right, what about "tired"? We're starting on a light note, aren't we? [laugh]
M1022 Wabbit.
F1018 Wabbit.
M1020 Aye.
F1018 Aye, I'd still say wabbit, oh God, I'm wabbit.
M1022 //Yeah.//
F1054 //That's a great one.//
M1022 I don't mean the wascally wabbit either. [laugh] Just wabbit.
M1021 Well we would have said, "I'm knackered".
M1020 Or tired [?]this[/?].
M1021 Knackered.
M1020 //I like that, I like that.//
F1054 //That's an interest-//
M1020 Wabbit and knackered, oh aye, aye.
M1021 A Norwegian word has seeped into our language.
F1054 It is Nor-, is knackered Norwegian?
M1021 It's aa their languages; it's a Norse word.
F1054 Is it?
M1021 Mmhm.
F1054 Do you ken what it means in Norse?
M1021 Disnae matter. That's what it means in Norse. But it became, that, you know, that you were you were exhausted. Really tired.
F1054 Now a fe- a few folk I've spoken to have said that knackered has, you know, they were discouraged fae using that word when they were young. Have any of you have that experience?
F1018 //It-, no, no.//
M1020 //Not good? Oh, it was quite common in Loanheid.//
M1022 //It's not a polite word to use. No.//
M1020 Course they're [laugh] no the politest there! [laugh] //Oh, [inaudible].//
M1019 //But again, the confusion maybe was there at the knacker's yard where the where where the hor- the horses went, you know?// Aye, th-, I've just found what I had for tired. The other one is done in. //And washed oot.//
F1018 //Aye, or washed oot, and washed oot.// And there was still washed oot today, erm, you know, most people would say, "Oh, I'm washed oot".
F1054 Er, some folk said that knackered kind of had sexual connotations, that that meant //that you werenae allowed to use it.//
M1020 //Oh oh.//
M1021 //Yes, I// I would go along with that.
F1054 What do you, what does that mean, what what kind of
M1021 Well, [laugh]
F1054 You've no tae be feart to say things in front of me, you you no to be feart to either swear or say anything kind of controversial because that's part of the, where the language comes frae.
M1021 Well I think it meant, it was, it referred to [inaudible] even with horses or animals, knackers, meaning the size or shape o them, and so on. And that's why I think that er kids wouldnae be encouraged to use it because going to school er you were then told just exactly how wrong you were speaking. And you weren't speaking proper English at that time. I think we all went through that experience, and that was one of the words that was taboo at school.
F1054 Now that's interestin, cause I was speakin to folk yesterday in Aberdeen, who said they'd never really been discouraged frae using their tongue of their generation, probably seventy, eighty year olds, and they'd never had any problems. Did- were you told to talk proper at school?
M1021 Oh yes, is-i-, in fact er from the very, I think it's our first experience really, that there was such a language as Scots, er the school I went to, because er, you were being corrected all the time. And if you were bold enough, when you went home, then you began to correct your parents, you see, if you were bold enough. Er, and so I think that's how we, I learned anyway to be bilingual. Er in other words, although I went to University, I did, er it was wise to speak a certain way at University, a formal English way; it got you on a bit quicker. But when you went home to your pals, or your relatives, you just lapsed into the old mither tongue, and you spoke the way that you always did, just like Burns did, wi his, he was bilingual, er spoke perfect English but also he spoke the Ayrshire dialect. And I think that er that happened at school with us, er until gradually, er some of us made a better job than others, there were some kids in the classroom whose mothers and fathers al- always talk, er spoke the same way as the teacher, er or the doctor, or the insurance man, or whoever came to the door, who seemed to be quite articulate and speak differently from us, but we were always aware, aye, that, er when we speaking er and properly.
F1054 Ehm, do you all think of yourselves as bilingual?
F1018 Definitely. I mean it wh- it depends on who I'm talking to and wh- how I would speak. And when I first started to write, actually, I had problems, and somebody said to me, "You're not a novelist", it wasn't that I wasnae a novelist, it was that actually I had written it in English and it was a working-class Scots novel, and you'd lost the warmth and the humour of it. And once you went back to the mother tongue you were fine. You see in school, the only time you were allowed to speak Scots was the week coming up to er Burns' birthday. And that was the only time you were allowed Scots in this erm classroom, and you were corrected all the time. So what I ended up with was a good report for the social work department but it certainly wasnae a working-class novel, and I've learned from that, because you have to go back to your er mother tongue and you write it and you get the warmth and you get the humour, because no matter where you go, even like Leith to Morningside, it's a different rhythm and a different song.
F1054 Tell me about that, tell me about the passage, the journey frae Leith to Morningside.
F1018 Oh the passage, well he stayed in Morningside. [laugh] //[laugh]//
M1021 //[inaudible]// It was always known, that they spoke a bit different from us. //Er.//
F1054 //Gie me// a blast o Morningside, John.
M1021 A-a- a phrase? //Well//
F1054 //Yeah.//
M1021 er I will say, my husband, I I I will say to him that they are aw wrang, sometimes they got the words wrong, you see, or I would tell my husband that I have a a sore heid. Sometimes they got mixed up there. But er otherwise, that's how the Morningsiders spoke, and they still do it. Aye, oh yes, they flatten the vowel, you know, instead of saying "to" they say er er "ae" or or "o", "tae". You know, my sore, my sore, sore tae, that would be another clanger. But, and they made clangers, they still dae some o them. But that's the way they spoke. And so therefore like school, you know, they wo- they wouldnae have been corrected at school of course, cause there were one or two Morningsiders there, it seemed to suit the teachers' accent, you know? Aye, and so it was a case o well "dinnae say dinnae, say don't", and "not winnae, but won't," you know, er and that sort o thing. But it was the Morningsiders, and it goes on and on of course, aye, [laugh] the the expressions, that that was one of them, the lowering o the vowels, they flattened them, you know, "a", oh yes.
M1019 An they all said "secks" was what er coal came in. //That's right, taught secks, secks, bags, sacks.//
M1020 //[laugh]//
M1019 But I had a different experience because erm I wasn't particularly encouraged to to speak street vernacular in the house because my mother was born in Ireland. So there was her grand- my grandmother would have wanted us to speak er not in Scots, because they thought that was s- slang so words like "grun" and "groond" and that were just kind of purged from our vocabulary, but at home, so that er we we had the the school language, what you were talkin in the street, and probably something in the middle i- in in the house. But there was a kind of an awareness that er you try to avoid obvious Scottishisms, //you know?//
M1022 //As far as the written Scots is concerned// apart from Burns there was only one other source of seeing Scots words written down, and that was in D.C. Thomson, er, Oor Wullie and the Broons.
F1018 That's right.
M1022 and that where you picked up on "crivvens" and "jings" and "help ma boab".
F1018 Aye.
M1022 That's right.
F1054 That's my understanding of Scots, very much, but interestingly in my head, Peerie Wullie and the Broons always had a Shetland accent. //[inaudible]//
F1018 //Well,// well the other th-, the other thing about when you were growing up, you see, my mother actually saw education and speaking proper as our way of getting out of poverty and the slums. And if I would come in the door, dashin in the door, my mother would say "Where are you goin?", "I'm just going to the lavvy". She'd say, "Oh, look, the only job you'll get speaking like that is guttin fish". "If you want to get a good job, you've got to speak proper." And you wouldn't have got into the banks, the City Chambers or the Civil Service if you weren't able to speak proper English.
M1022 And the other point about Oor Wullie and the Broons bein written in Scots is that it was written by Dudley D Watkins, who was an Englishman. //Yes.//
F1054 //Is that really?//
M1019 And I u- I used to do this, the the Broons in school with with with the kids and it was always er it was trying to trying to get the children to locate where Oor Wullie was set, or the or the Broons particularly, because of of the words, if there was any key words. So the kids in Edinburgh, in Leith, always assumed that it was Glasgow. They always, that's that's the, what they jumped to because er Paw worked in a, in the dockyards, etcetera. But it was eventually, you got them round to looking at the words like "bairn", the bairn, wh- is not a Glasgow word, that would have been "wean". So that helped to identify the East Coast for them. So that was a linguistic exercise whit we used the Broons for.
F1054 Do you think there was some kind of identity confusion then, the fact that an Englishman was writin it, he used words like "crivvens" and "jings" that wouldnae, are those D- are those Dundee words?
M1019 They must have been Dundee words for him, because he was based in Dundee, yes.
F1054 Mmhm.
M1019 But eh another thing about that particular sub-culture if you want to call it that was that there were no kilts. Oor Wullie wears dungarees, black dungarees all the time.
F1054 And is there no kilts in Dundee, is it not a big thing?
M1019 Well I don't know about in Dundee but in the actual comics there were no kilts.
M1021 I would have thought working-class Scots, you know, I mean the kilt was, it was considered a garment for somebody a wee bit better off, you know?
M1022 Somebody that was in the Scouts. //[laugh]//
M1021 //Aye, or the Scouts. [laugh] You got away with it if you were in the Army, that was the first time I got a chance to wear a kilt.// Aye, no that I was dying for it. But, what he's saying is quite right, you know, you see, I'm tending to bring the the common folk into this more, because that's where you'll you'll find the remnants o o the old Scots. Even to this day, wi all the changes. I mean, coming from, getting bea- I was lucky enough to get an ed-, a university education, for what it was worth, but imagine ma surprise, and it was genuine surprise, when I graduated and got teacher training, I went to teach in a a com- comprehensive, secondary, down in er a housing scheme, but here were the pupils on their own, among themselves, talkin the same way I did, when I was their age. And that was a long time before it, they were still using it. And when they addressed you of course they were a wee bit er ca- more careful, you see, because after all they were going to have to write what they were saying down at one point and you didn't, you had to remind them, you know, that the employer that they went to for an interview, no matter what their qualifications was, er you speaking the way you're speaking is no gonna get him excited, at all.
M1019 Pa- part of the change of of you, myself, going in to education was that you had mature people going, and in the seventies the- it was much more acceptable to speak in your regional accent. And that wa- that was advocated in the teacher-training college, so that you had, well you'd have teachers who were particular teachers who who, you know, went out of their way, you know, to to to sp- speak often, you know, kind of in collo- colloquial language and and actually encourage the kids to speak in that way. So, and ki- and kids were introduced then for the first time to register. So they were told it was okay to use this wi-, you know, one way for the headteacher, it's okay for the playground, so they were they were kind of invited to see language in a broader, in a broader sense.
M1020 //[cough]//
F1054 //Ehm, we had a super blast o// o o of John's Morningside accent there, Jimmy, Jimmy, can you give me a blast o your accent? //Aye,//
M1020 //Ma accent?//
F1054 yeah, say something you'd typically say to your faimly, or
M1020 I've no really got an accent, hiv I?
F1018 //[laugh] Aye, ye huv.//
M1022 //[laugh]// //[laugh] Oh aye!//
F1018 //[laugh] Aye ye huv!//
M1020 //Eh, oh you're just makin that up.// //You're saying it because it's true then.//
F1018 //No, I'm no! [laugh]//
M1022 //[laugh]//
F1054 How would you define your accent, Jimmy?
M1020 Well, actually it has changed a bit, well see that changed, well, when I was young, I, Loanheid, you see, changed, changed. But eh, later on there was a big influx frae the west, and I palled aboot wi some boys frae Airdrie, and I sort o went tae a west country accent, but I've got rid o that! //[laugh]//
F1018 //[laugh]//
M1019 //[laugh]//
M1021 //[laugh]//
M1022 //[laugh]//
M1020 So,
F1054 Whaur is Loanheid in relation in relation to Leith? Whaur is Loanhead, where is //Loanhead?//
M1020 //Five mile frae Edinburgh.// Centre to centre. It's er, have you heard o Straiton Park? Terrible. //Well, [laugh] it's just a mile frae//
F1054 //[inaudible] educatit [inaudible]//
M1020 a mile frae Straiton. Er, that's where Paraffin Young had, made petrol, that was years ago. Aa these places wi red bins, that was Shell Oil,
F1054 Shell Oil, yeah. //I tried to//
M1020 //aye, well.// //Aye.//
F1054 //pitch a programme for Radio Scotland, really interestin programme about the Shell Oil industry, you know?// //They didnae go//
M1020 //Aye.//
F1054 for it. I'll try again.
M1020 So er
F1054 What, can you maybe gie me a, gie a good blast o Leith accent, how folk would normally spik.
F1018 We- well, could I just say, I was actually doing a creative writing class recently in Musselburgh, a woman comes from the slums of Leith like me, but she's gone up, she stays in Inveresk now, And er, she was trying to write and I said to her, sh- there was one sentence and it had erm "You're labouring under a misapprehension if you think I'm going to bend to your will". And I said, "Well if that was in Leith, all they'd have said was 'Away and bile yer heid.' " And that's exactly it. And when I actually do a creative writing class and they want to write about their working class background, if they've actually forgotten it, I tell them to get on a bus or stand at a bus-stop and that's where you hear it again. And you get the rhythm there, and you get all the words. My granny was probably one of the last pure Lallans speakers, so I was actually quite fortunate that I was influenced a lot by her.
F1054 How did she speak?
F1018 Erm, well she would go in, she'd s- er would probably say, I'm trying to think, and she'd say "Och, what are you daein oot on a day like this fur, hen? Och, it's no fur man nor beast." And that would be when it was snawing ootside and it was cold and and then she would look at your coat, and it would be aw threadbare and she would take her only shawl off the nail o the door and wrap it round you and pin it with her er hairpin. And that, you know, I would need to really think about all of the things that she would have said. And there's she was always makin erm kale in a pot, erm and guttin the herrin.
F1054 What's kale in a pot?
F1018 It was soup in a pot. Erm, and er she would be guttin herrin. and daein aw things like that, and makin sure that the lavvy was clean and we didnae get any germs an erm she was just a wonderful woman, really.
F1054 And you mentioned there that you encourage folk you're teachin to get on a bus. Do you think folk are in, I mean is is, is the local accent here in danger to the extent that folk would need to get on a bus to remind themselves of hoo it soonds?
F1018 Aye, because it's the television. The soaps have actually, if any- the people that watch, well, and I have to say I don't watch the soaps, Eastenders and er, what's the other one, Coronation Street, and Ri- well no so much River City, erm and that actually, I think the children from an early age are influenced by television, //that there's not, yeah, the Australians and the American accent and that that you know,//
M1019 //[inaudible] cause it's Friends, and I mean the the Americism, the Americanisms, yeah.//
F1018 it's again coming back to storytelling and, you know, st- er speaking to your children, having a conversation with them. I mean, my granny, every time I went down, she was telling me stories. And so y- that was how, where you learned your accent, and your words and everything, was from your granny.
F1054 Mmhm.
M1019 I tried to get er, you know, check out some of the words from my youth with my grandchildren, and words that we would have used in the house would have been press, for a cupboard, er bunker, and it's it's worktop now, lobby, tallboy, you know, that's that's just a just a cu-, er just just a chest of drawers now. Lavvy, er scaffy, that was the scaffenger on the streets, and street street cleaners, er rubbers for plimsolls, I think that that that's one o your words. Semmit, //in, semmit is yer, a vest.//
F1054 //What's a semmit?//
M1019 Vest. And if, for instance, when you're in er Glasgow you would talk about a close. But down in Leith we always called it the entry, when you we- you went you went up a st- a tenement stair. Thing- things like eating were, erm I was talking to someone recently and I was talking about lair. and they they they didnae have a a clue what lair was, and we we would buy lair in the same way that you buy corned beef and that, and lair was cow's udder, which was actually, you know, so- sort of cut and just sold as a as a cold cold meat.
F1054 I've never heard of //that.//
M1019 //Yeah.// That's udders, so that's lair, lair was par- part of it. And so
M1021 What er, what Noel was saying there, and Jimmy, er they were one aboot the same thing really, the aspect o o region, regional accents, you know? And er, it's important, er er when I spoke about at school, being corrected, er it wasn't an Oxford or a public school voice that was correcting me, I mean all our teachers weren't English, they were Scots. And they had accents too. But the accent, the language seemed to survive the accent. I mean you don't have to know about Sean Connery to understand that. Aye, they were speaking Scots alright, er er English but with a Scots accent. And it didn't seem to interfere with the meaning or the pronunciation o the words. And talking about accents, what Jimmy's saying there about, it's Loanheid, Jimmy, isn't it? Loanheid?
M1020 //Aye.//
F1054 //Loanheid?//
M1021 Well we, e- even as kids we became aware of what accent meant. We never used the word, but er when we went to secondary where other voices were heard, voices from the kids out- outwith Edinburgh. [inaudible] Loanheid, and then later on when I got involved in sports, er boxing in particular, they er they would come in from Loanheid, an [?]Turnent[/?] [?]Turnent[/?] [?]Turnent[/?] oh er aye, where you come frae? Oh ah, oh, aye. And it was wi- it was a sing-song accent even when you were hearin them shouting, if they were shouting against you, or whatever it wis, you know, or [?]fur their[/?] man, you could hear it very strongly, oh aye, and I I still here it now and again, er that er regional, er which is a wonderful thing, cause I think Edinburgh is unique, well in a way it is because although you've got all this this er upper and lower language in Edinburgh which in a way you certainly do, I mean you could just nae open your mouth in Edinburgh, worse in London, of course. You've either got people lookin up at you or down at you.
M1022 //Mm.//
F1054 //Mmhm.//
M1021 Er whatever, but er we er in Jimmy's case, I mean we warmed towards thae youngsters of course, cause they were different, you know?
F1054 I love it, I mean, when I think of Edinburgh accent, I think of very like "this and that", you know, is it, I suppose it's more Fife that, is it I'm thinking of, I'm really confused. Is it quite sing-songy, Jimmy?
M1020 Eh?
F1054 Quite sing-songy, the wey you speak, sing-song la-la-la?
M1020 //No, I dinnae think sae.//
M1022 //[inaudible] accent?//
F1018 //No.//
F1054 //No.//
M1020 No.
M1022 //Jist//
F1054 //No, no no no no.// //[inaudible]//
M1020 //No.//
M1019 //Pitch.//
F1054 //up and doon, up and doon.//
M1020 Well it maybe goes up and doon, but it's no singy-songy, //I dinnae think.//
F1054 //No, okay, uh-huh.//
M1020 I've never been mistaken for a Chinaman. //[laugh]//
F1054 //No. [laugh]// Tell me, have any of the rest of you done like ehm Noel's done and thought about words that you use that maybe dinna feature in the diagram? We'll cover them first and then we'll go on to the diagram after that.
M1022 Well I did notice something about twenty years ago, I did a bi- a wee bit teachin as well. And words tended to come in from er gipsy children, who might be in a school for a year. And the the kids from the town would pick up on some of these words. er one word, under what you do, to hit hard, "pagger". To punch hard, that's pagger. And I think that's a a Romany word; I could be wrong with that. And there was another one, erm, if you give me a second I'll just find it.
M1019 Gadgie. Gadgie. Gadgie was another one, re- referring to just a person, usually someone who was dark, dark. Barry, barry was the other one, the other word, that meant er good, you know, it was barry.
M1022 Barry was, meant good or great from twenty years ago, and the opposite was shan. You know, that's bad, so if you said something was barry, it was good or great, but if that's shan, that's bad, we don't want it.
M1020 //But.//
F1054 //But that's twenty years ago.// //Folk widnae do that noo?//
M1022 //That was from twenty years ago, yes.// I don't think so. //They just//
M1019 //There's an// alternative street vernacular now, because I I was talking to my daughter and she she actually works, she worked in er the drug place in Leith, as as a helper. And she says there was a complete language that they had which helped to, you know, ke-ke-, keep what they were talking er of obscure from people who were listening. So she's got a complete list of words which she just came out the top of her head, which I've never ha- heard before and which there's no derivation as far as I can see.
F1054 So these are words that, what the drug //community.//
M1019 //Words which which she was usin.// //A com- a c- yeah, a complete vocabulary almost.//
F1054 //In the drug community?// //Can you give us any examples?//
M1019 //do yo-.// Twirls equals keys. Mort was women. Skreeve was a car, [?]keer[/?] was a house, highers was money, flattie meant a straight peg. Er, naggins was self, [?]Porace[/?] was [?]pocket[/?], [?]yak[/?] was eyes, lantle meant you were clueless, juggle was a dog, chan was a guy, barry was was was great. And so she had a list and that's that was just the top of her head, so there was an alternative vocabulary. When we were at school as well, teachin, the children used eggy-language. And I could never, it was too, it was always too complicated for me. I think the children substituted "egg" for vowels and they would make up sentences which they became very proficient at, but excluded people who didn't know it, and as a teacher [laugh] I was one of those, and I can always remember that.
F1054 And, could you, were these kind of erm sub-languages associated //with deviants?//
M1019 //Sub, yeah.// Erm it was just an exclusive language, it was a it was a peer-group language, so so that it excluded, you know, excluded -cluded adults, er just in the same way that would exclude, you know, whoever you don't want to listen. Presumably that would come from prison, I sh- should imagine, you know?
F1054 Actually, the word "mort" I know is a travellers' word.
M1019 Is it a travellers' word? Right, so well, w- whether, you know, that that could could be, you know, traced back. I I couldn't er, you know, er decipher them.
F1054 Good. Anybody else got a new one? //[inaudible] That's it.//
M1020 //Well I got yin, is "stupid".// It's stupid, glaikit.
M1022 [inaudible]
M1020 Uh-huh, and then er "dull wet weather", dreich.
F1018 //Right, if you still//
M1019 //[inaudible] doon.//
F1018 //[inaudible]//
M1020 //If you're pleased aboot somethin, you're fair away wi yersel.// //[laugh]//
F1018 //Aye.//
F1054 That's a good one.
M1020 Aye, er, someone who thinks they're great, they think they're nae sma drink. [laugh] Er, the appreciation of someone doin well, you're gaun yer dinger. //[laugh]//
F1054 //That's a good one!//
M1020 Aye. An expression of exasperation, och! [?]Jeez[/?]. //Aye.//
F1054 //That's an important one, little words we use more than we think, I think.//
M1020 Someone expecting too much, you want jam on it. [laugh] An a frown is tae glower.
F1054 That's a good-, and a lot of those arenae on the list, that's a really good list. A- anybody else got ones that arena on the diagram? //O- mm.//
M1022 //To come back to what Millie was saying, ehm another phrase was "away and champ yer tatties".//
F1018 Aye.
M1022 Now that's advice you would give t- in anger to somebody who's annoying you, suggesting that the mashing of potatoes is more important than what they're doing.
F1018 I was talking to an old, a a lady in one of the nursing homes that I go to, who has ear- early Alzheimer's but her long-term memory's good, and they'd gone out for their tea, and I says to her "How did you get on then, Aggie?" "Oh," she says, "it was great, hen. The fish was hingin off the plate, and the chips were made wi tatties just oot the grund." And I thought that summed it aw up, it wasnae oven chips. Erm, the thing that I thought in this one, th- you see the insane, you'd have said that they were either a heidbanger or they werenae the full shilling. I mean you wouldnae have said insane, no. //No. No.//
F1054 //[inaudible]// Is there anything else anybody else came up wi that's no on the diagram?
M1019 Well dub, dub was the, always meant a puddle. Er a dyke for a wall.
F1054 Mm.
M1019 Er ben, ben the hoose. //Ben the kitchen, that, you know, that meant through through through in the kitchen.//
F1018 //Ben the hoose.//
M1019 Erm, messages for shopping, I think that's probably universally Scots. An a guider, well we we children, laddies played on the street with a, you know, a kart, a go-kart, er, expressions, er someone says it was sot.
F1054 [inaudible] you're sittin on my leads, [inaudible].
M1019 It was, I was sot, it was so. My father, when he was at the table, and he wanted something, he would say "see the salt". He would not say "would you pass the salt, please?" he would just "see the salt". Or "see a tool", and and that. There's other swear words. The swear- the swear words that er were partly acceptable in our house were "sod" and "get", these the-the- these were the words, they never used er Lord's name in vain, or they didn't F and C, "bastard", "bugger", er wa- you know, these were acceptable sw-swe- swear words. But "get" and "sod", my, [laugh] was what my father father used. And again when you're tired, another expression would be "I'm buggered", would, you know, come out, and and that wasn't a sexual connotation, that just meant you were tired.
M1021 Aye, yes, I I recognise some o them an all. Th- wh- wh- you've never mentioned, I don't think so anyway, is, you know, apart from syntax and grammar used, which does make a big difference to individual languages, I found anyway, I wonder if anybody else did, was the tendency, more than a tendency when I was a kid, of older people to come away with sayings that seemed to sum up a situation. It seemed to save them an awful lot of unnecessary words and talk. Er sayings like, they needn't be particularly Scots, but they were inclined to be, things like er, you know, like, well, as it was happening, not that er often, a a young girl being in a family way, you see, or pregnant. You would get often coming from some o the-, well some o them anyway, "she's got a bun in the oven".
F1054 Mm.
M1021 When you were a kid you didnae know what that mean, a bun in the oven. Er, or if you were, for example, er dealing with a situation er that was maybe sad, you know, out would come this saying again, you know, my mother's example, I often used to cry, sometimes anyway, when I got into bother, you see, I'd be brought to the house, usually, and then I'd get in and then she'd make an attempt to chase me round the table, and then, never caught me of course, and then she would sit down, and she would just say "look at me", you know, and I'd be lookin, and she would start to cry, and of course that was the worst thing she could do, you see, and I'd go across to her, and then she'd look up at me and laugh, and she would say "if I di-", [laugh] "if I didnae laugh, I would cry". Sayings like that.
F1054 Mm.
M1021 And another one was er, she would say, for somebody going through a calamity, "Oh well, it's an ill-wind that blows nae good". Sayings like that, or a couple who were, it wisnae uncommon, who were, married couple who were falling out wi each other, you know, hell going on, er in their house, and er, that would be the [inaudible], and sometimes they didnae need to finish the saying, it was, "well, they've made their bed," [cough], and she didn't need to say the next part, "and I'll just have to lie in it." But the saying did it, and to me I often think it did save them an awful lot of er formal er language and articulation just by saying it, cause we all knew [inaudible] all knew what this message, all knew what it meant. That kind of thing, sayings, not always Scots. But just er where, somebody else would more fluently go to town on the language, you see? B-, er somebody, [laugh] like
F1018 If you fell and hurt yourself, and I would be cry-, greet-, crying and my mother would say "Aye well, the mair you greet, the less you'll pee". //And th- [laugh] that that was the sympathy you got.//
M1022 //[laugh]//
F1018 And the other one was "One skittery coo likes another".
M1022 [inaudible]
F1018 And ma granny's great one was, which really today I think "Aye you were right, granny", was she would say, "When dirt rises, it blinds you".
F1054 I don't know what either of those things would mean, "skittery coo likes another"?
F1018 Er, well, you know, well skittery coo, well, er, you know somebody that's a sort of er drunk and loose and bad, they like to go around with a pal that's just the same. And "the mair you greet, the less you'll pee", you know, that, well the tears are comin down your face so you'll certainly no be peein, will you, because it co- it has to come from somewhere. And in "dirt rises, it blinds you", it's somebody that gets up and they forget where they came from. And the, like Hyacinth Bucket, Mrs Bucket, and that's it. The other words that we used to use was they never said "headlice", they always said "pogies". You know, pogies?
M1022 [inaudible]
F1018 And they, erm somebody that was scabby had impetigo. Scabby. //Erm, yeah, mmhm.//
M1021 //Aye, yeah, scabby, I remember that.//
F1018 I I agree wi John, there was lots, I mean, the sayings, and in fact the last time at the erm forum I was gonnae suggest that we started writing down all the sayings because you hear them less and less now.
M1021 [inaudible] you know, and I think, now and again when I've got time, I I scribble something down, I said I'm gonnae [inaudible]. //And//
F1018 //Mm.//
M1021 then I'll visit a sister or another old brother and they'll say something, and I'll say "Jesus, aye". And it's always things that your mother said. //Seldom the father, seldom the father.//
F1018 //Well at least, at least they get it down.//
M1021 Father seemed to do most of his talkin in the pubs, about human affairs, you know, human relationships.
F1018 Mmhm.
M1021 It seemed to be always the women that er had to deal wi them, and they used these sayings, as I say, to sum them up. Not that they were great readers. Nor were they ignorant either, oh they could read enough okay, er some o them were quite smart at it. But they er the-th- more talking than reading. Er and er as I say, the- where they got the sayings, which often interests me, I couldn't say whether they got it at school themselves perhaps, you know, //they did go to school,//
F1018 //Yeah.//
M1021 my mother wo- they went to school, we're no that ancient. But er, they must have picked them up there, or, and yet, when I thought about the sayings, I would think "where would they get that?" you know? "[tut] What book would that be in?" It's not a Shakespeare quote or anything like that.
M1019 I've still got a word that I- my mother used, which I I've never heard, I don't know if it's Scots or what. It was "dowk" for your backside. //She used "dowk".//
F1018 //Mm.//
M1019 And er er she was the only one I ever heard using that. But there was always, there was also expressions which were lo- just in your house, that came about as part of, you know, your particular life experience, one that we that we have and my children use now is if you were going for butter or margarine and you miss, you missed and it fell onto the onto the table, in our house, you always says it's oh, Dodie White, and that's because my mother had a visitor once, and this guy, he must have been half drunk, and he was trying to get the butter, and after a while he just gave up and lifted the thing and threw it onto his bread and started spreadin, but that has just gone in in our family as a Dodie White, so //that's.//
F1054 //Was that the name o the guy?//
M1019 That's the name o, the guy's name, so it just becomes er your own language that's created, you know?
M1022 Knives and forks again, if you dropped a knife, it was, that'll be a woman comin, or if you dropped a fork, that'll be a man comin. //Or was it the other way round? I can't remember now.//
F1018 //I seem to think the knife's a man coming.//
M1021 //[laugh]//
M1022 A knife's a man comin? Aye, mm.
F1054 That's brilliant. If we return to the diagram, I'm just conscious o time, we'll never get //roond it itherwise!//
F1018 //Oh right.//
F1054 Erm so we, we only kind of did a few, I mean, "unwell" and "tired". What about "pleased"?
M1022 Chuffed.
M1020 Mm?
M1022 Chuffed is pleased.
M1019 I had chuffed.
M1021 Oh chuffed, I've got chuffed.
M1019 Chuffed.
F1054 Dinna worry if if you canna think o any words, that's fine as well cause that tells us something aboot //the language as well.//
M1022 //Well, for hot, I've got ploatin,// //which, ploatin, I suppose if you put it into English it would be ploating.//
M1020 //Naw,//
F1018 Mm, an
M1020 //I don't know.//
M1022 //I don't know whe- where it comes from but ploatin is where you're very hot and bothered.//
F1018 //And for pleased it would have been gled.//
M1020 //[inaudible]//
F1018 Gled or glad.
F1054 Good.
M1022 Cold?
F1054 Cold? //Cold.//
M1022 //Nithered.// Nithered.
F1054 Never heard o that.
M1022 Ah, nithered.
F1018 //I still use freezing cold.//
M1019 //Freezin.//
F1018 Aye.
M1019 //[inaudible]//
M1021 //Yeah, that would be// //very very very mu- always cauld. Cauld.//
F1018 //Whenever my husband smoked// and you opened the windae //[inaudible] I'm freezin cauld!//
M1019 //Freezin, or I'm perishin, perishin, perishin's another one.//
M1021 //No cold.//
M1022 I've got two of them for annoyed, bleezin and crabbit.
F1018 //I've got bilin,//
M1020 //Mm.//
F1018 //for annoyed, bilin, aye.//
M1019 //[inaudible] Mm.//
F1018 //Bilin, boiling.//
F1054 //Did you// use these words or are you just kinda thinkin about ones that
M1022 I'd use ploatin, aye. //I'd use nithered.//
M1020 //Pregnant, in the puddin club.// Pregnant, in the puddin club.
F1054 Good, good, Jimmy.
M1020 //And er//
M1022 //And there's a rude one as well but I don't want to say it.// //That's the one! Aye. [laugh]//
F1018 //Up the d-, aye.//
F1054 //Up the duff?// //It's not tha-, I've heard much worse.//
M1020 //Somebody that's no,// somebody that's no too bright; they're no the full shillin.
F1054 Aye, that's a good one Jimmy, yeah. Erm, what about er annoyed?
M1019 Bilin, erm angry, ballistic, that's a contemporary one.
F1018 [inaudible] spans the generations.
M1020 //Annoyed?//
F1054 //Yes. Mm.//
M1020 I've got bilin, fair bilin.
F1054 Mm.
M1020 [inaudible] Minute while I think what we used to dae. Well we-, playing truant, skivin or dodgin.
F1054 Good.
M1020 //Aye.//
M1021 //Aye, actually,//
M1022 //We would say skip the school.//
M1021 just kipping. And for annoying I've got peeved.
M1019 Gone off at the deep-end as well is is another one, gone off at the deep-end for being angry or annoyed.
M1022 Another thing about language that the Scots today, as in the past, when they went around the the world to the auld British Empire, they brought back more than souvenirs, they brought back language as well.
F1018 Mm.
M1022 And a word that I still use for sleep is charping. Charping in me pit, and that's an Indian word. Er charpoi is a bed.
F1054 Mm, that's really interesting. You'd use that?
M1022 Yeah, I still use it today, yeah. But that's only because I was out in the East, for National Service.
M1019 But there must there must have been associations with the bed, because pyjama was was was the other one, isn't it? //That's that's another Ind- Indian one, you know?//
F1018 //That's right. Yeah.//
M1022 //Bungalow.// //Or dungarees, they're all Indian words.//
M1021 //Jildi.// //Jildi, jildi, move!//
M1019 //[inaudible]//
M1021 And they still, I I I still incl- they use that one, jildi!
F1018 Yeah.
M1021 An ma fa- father brought it back from India, like bungalow.
M1019 Mmhm.
M1021 These words, like, they brought their war language back, French as well, and and even I I was at the Far East, when I came home I was using er words, you know, Indonesian words, Korean words, er, you know, which meant not all nice things, you know? But you you [laugh], even wee songs and so on, so you [inaudible] influx of all these out- //outwith//
F1018 //Mm.//
M1021 you know the the exper- other countries, well we're a mongrel nation anyway aren't we, we've got so many different er er names from different countries and languages. I would agree wi that.
M1020 //When a man's drunk//
F1054 //What about?//
M1020 he's fair stoatin. //[laugh]//
F1018 //Aye.//
F1054 Do you mind there was an advert on a while ago that said "Aye, it's stoatin stuff"? //Do you ever mind that? [inaudible]//
M1020 //Aw well that was also// if the rain's comin heavy it's stoatin.
F1054 Mmhm.
M1020 Stoats off the grund. //[laugh]//
F1018 //An a stoater used to be// a a lassie that was really, you know, a sort of erm aw, very attractive, very beautiful, aye, erm like Zeta Jones, I mean the auld man would say she's a stoater.
M1019 But stoatin would mean "is good" as well, that's why, you know, "It's stoatin stuff", it's very good, yeah.
M1022 It's going back to the Empire. I don't mean the Empire Theatre, I mean [laugh] //the British Empire.//
F1018 //Mmhm.//
F1054 //If only// [inaudible]
M1022 In the "Getting Personal", the word "insane", doolally-tappit. //And doolally was from India.//
M1020 //And// //doolally. Aye.//
F1018 //Doolally, aye.//
M1019 //Aye.//
M1022 //Mmhm.//
M1020 //Mm.//
M1021 //That was an army camp in India, Bangalore, I think.//
F1054 There's a lot of the French
M1021 Doolally, during the Second World War.
M1020 [inaudible] //Doolally, doolally.//
M1021 //And er we we use it like "He's doolally, she's doolally", you know, brother or sister, you know?// And that's the way they they at- not that long ago since I found out, you know, an old soldier. Naw we were, h-h- he wisnae talking about what I was talking about, aye he's away now, "Aye," he says, "we went er we went out there and we didnae ken where we were". Aye, they were goin to Burma, you see? And India, it was near er Madras I think, and er there was this camp here, and aw their their mattresses and they're aw filled wi lice and everything. And you had [inaudible] in fact they were [inaudible] doolally. //Doolally, what?//
F1054 //It must have been a kind of sanatorium type camp, mustn't it?//
M1021 Aye, [inaudible] aye, and so they used that word, you know? Doolally, er oh f-f- //Tragically.//
F1054 //Yeah, after [inaudible]. What a-// er erm let's move on to "What you do", "to throw something"?
M1020 I would chuck it.
F1018 Fling.
M1019 I got fling, fling was the one I
F1054 Er, to play truant, we've kind of touched on that, we've got skiving, kipping, anything else?
M1019 Skip, to skip school, we never said skive.
F1018 Skip school.
M1019 //We said skip.//
M1022 //Female partner.//
F1054 Okay, erm, "sleep".
M1019 //It's all, [inaudible], you know?//
M1022 //Charping, charping would be sleep.// And incidentally, that's Sanskrit, that word, charping, it's [?]quahar pwud[/?], er which means four legs, the four legs on the bed. //I just thought I'd throw that in there because I got it from the dictionary.//
F1018 //[laugh]// //[laugh]//
F1054 //[laugh] Oh you really have been doing your homework, John, I wish everybody was as conscientious.// //[laugh] Well,//
F1018 //I know, I di-, I didnae do the homework, John, I'm sorry.// Naw, I would j- I would still even say the day, "Oh, I'm away for a wee kip". //To sleep, mm.//
M1022 //[inaudible]//
F1018 //[inaudible]//
M1021 //Kip, Millie, aye, K.I.P. aye, here it is.//
F1018 Oh I like a wee kip after ma lunch,
M1020 Aye.
F1018 or ma dinner, as it used to be in ma day.
M1019 //Havin a, havin, havin a kip, out for the count,//
M1020 //Somebody, somebody,//
M1019 in the land o nod, er, catchin a few zzzs, or havin a nap. //No, no, that's, that was//
F1054 //Well you're very in with the in-crowd, you can tell you're a teacher, no? [laugh]//
M1019 th- it was. The other one wi- for to play truant was doggin, but that's not an Edinburgh one.
F1054 That's got another meaning nowadays.
M1020 And somebody that's left-handed is carrie-pawed.
F1018 //Aye.//
M1019 //Or corrie-joukit.//
F1018 //Corrie-fisted. Yeah.//
M1020 //Corrie-joukit or carrie-//
M1022 //Corrie-joukit.//
F1018 //Yeah. Aye.//
M1020 //Baith baith o them.//
F1054 //Corrie-joukit, corrie-fisted.//
M1020 So er, you take your pick. [laugh] //[laugh] Mmhm.//
F1054 //Pick and mix there.// Ehm, to play a game.
M1019 //That one I was lost, I didn't get one.//
M1022 //I couldnae get that one at all. I was totally lost on that one.// //Couldn't figure that one out at all.//
M1020 //No.//
M1021 [?]anything[/?] for that
F1018 //Ehm, couldn't do that one.//
M1019 //You give us one. [laugh]//
M1022 //Nope.//
F1054 //I can't think of anything either!//
F1018 Well I as- I asked my husband last night and he said "oh," he says, "you mean jine in?" So I suppose if you went down the stairs and they were playin a game o football and they would say "you want to joi-, jine in?" and you would jine in and erm just go into the game. //But I actually couldnae find anything "to play".//
M1022 //Talking aboot// I couldnae, no. But talking about games there were two names that I remem- two words that I remember from the forties and the fifties, and that's leevoy and chainy. And the old game of tig when you touched somebody and they were "het". And then they had to run around touching somebody else. It was expanded into chainy, where a whole chain of people, boys,
F1018 Mm.
M1022 run around, well the slums, trying to touch everybody else, and if you got touched you had to join the chain, until everybody was in the chain and that was game over.
F1018 Aye.
M1022 Leevo was the same but you didn't make a chain.
M1019 Mm.
M1022 You only had to have two people there, //the two//
M1019 //I remember// as a child being confused when you heard like, or you read English books and it says "You're going to be 'he'", for "het", and that wa- that was a real kinda confusion as, for me as a child, you know, and you recognised that was a very different language, "he" and "het".
F1054 What's that?
M1019 "He" is you're gonna be it or he in a game, you know, you're the you're the person at the centre.
M1021 The the game I remember well is er th-th-th- the kids, they were mixed, you know, the boys played games with the girls but usually they played different sexes as well,
F1018 Aye.
M1021 but the hessy was, er, they all played the hessy, that was the one where we got a chance to play with the girls, you see, hessy. Do you remember hessy?
M1019 Hide and seek.
M1021 Hide and seek, aye. Why they called it hessy, I haven't the foggiest. But that's what we knew it as. //And aleevoy,//
M1019 //[inaudible]//
M1021 oh yeah, aleevoy, that was the shout and that meant you could, er, you know, in other words you stood like that in the street with a hand over the eyes, and you don't look and all your pals scattered everywhere. And then, er you shouted "aleevoy!", and then you were, put the hand down and looked away and went away lookin for them.
F1018 Hide and seek, basically.
M1021 Er it was er more or less hide and seek except that er you could run great lengths, you know, at at //hidin, all sorts o//
M1022 //It's a bit rougher,//
M1021 ah, much rougher, boys ga- that's what I'm sayin, some of the games er were a bit rough. aye for boys. Peevers of course, you could never play peevers, if you were a boy, they get, hae doots aboot ye, the peevers, you know the peevers? Well er, chalked out a frame on the pavement with white chalk,
M1022 Beds.
M1021 Squares, aye, peevers, [inaudible] what is it, a blacknin tin, an empty tin, //and you hopped it, and the girls hopped it on one knee and one leg.//
F1018 //A black- a black- black boot polish, it was a boot// //polish tin.//
M1021 //Aye, that's right.//
F1018 Aye, an then you used to kick it up and see how far you could get it up and then the squares were one, two, three, and then there was a double one, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and then it went that way. //Erm.//
F1054 //And that's hopscotch?//
F1018 and aye, well hopscotch what you would call it now, but we played peevers.
M1021 Peevers
F1018 And er, and the boys played football, and they were all good footballers, that's what's wrong wi the Scottish team the day, that, no, they're not actually getting it in there from when they're seven years old.
M1022 The back green.
F1018 //And the back green stuff, ye cannae play in the streets now because of the cars.//
M1020 //Naw, no enough Loanheid// men, //no, no, no enough Loanheid men.//
F1018 //And there's no enough Loanheid men in it, naw!// But they're no, they're no actually teachin it in the, you know, and the teachers are aw scared to take football at the weekend, because if the bairn breaks its leg, the mother sues them.
M1020 Mm.
F1018 And we're losin, we're losin the place here and our bairns are no gettin to play. And that's where we need to go back, to getting the seven years old playing, //and the lassies they all sang//
M1020 //I think it would be better,// //they're the seven year olds now.//
F1018 //on the [laugh]// //Yeah, [laugh] now the seven years olds would make a better job now.//
M1020 //[laugh] Mmhm.//
F1018 And that's I mean it's gonnae be years and it would take years, cause they'll need to go back and start wi them at seven year old, and start trainin them all the way up.
M1020 No much chance of s- me seeing this guid team, you know. //[laugh]//
M1021 //[laugh]//
F1054 //No, [inaudible].// //What aboot//
M1020 //No, you never know.//
F1054 "to hit hard"? You mentioned one earlier on.
F1018 //Clout.//
M1022 //Oh yeah that that was pagger.//
F1018 Mm, clout.
M1020 A clout an aw, aye. //And thump.//
M1019 //Smack it a shot, thump it, thump it.//
M1021 Yeah, blooter.
F1054 Ah, //not just for drunk, yeah.//
M1021 //Blooter.//
F1054 Okay, erm, "rich"?
F1018 Well aff.
M1022 I couldnae get that one at all, no, just rich was rich.
M1020 Weel off.
M1019 Stinki- stink- stinking rich, loaded, bags o money.
M1020 Mmhm.
M1021 Rich, aye I'm just lookin for that word.
F1054 It's //just.//
M1021 //Oh yes, loaded, I've got loaded, aye.//
M1019 //Loaded as well.//
F1054 //Brilliant.//
M1022 How about "unattractive", up the top o that list? Plug-ug.
M1020 Eh?
F1054 Unattractive.
M1022 For unattractive, plug-ug, and it was also suggested minging. //Minging.//
F1018 //Or pig-face.// //Or ugly, pig-face or//
M1020 //That's nice, I like that.// //Nae ile//
F1018 //ugly.//
M1020 paintin. //[laugh], Mmhm, aye, nae ile-painting.//
F1018 //Nae ile-, oh I like that! I'd forgotten about that.//
M1019 That's what I've got, no oil-painting.
M1021 I've got plain-Jane.
F1054 Good. What about the opposite, wh-wh- a a looker, an attractive person?
F1018 //Mm, bonny, a stoater.//
M1022 //Oh a stoater.// //Definitely a stoater, yeah.//
F1018 //A stoater, bonny.// Mm. //Yeah.//
M1019 //Stoater.//
M1020 //Mm, and we've had that stoater, haven't we already? Aye.//
M1022 //Aye.//
M1020 Oh, we'll have another stoater. //[laugh]//
M1019 //[laugh]//
M1022 //[laugh]//
F1054 //You never have too many stoaters, can you?//
M1019 //[laugh]//
M1020 //[laugh]//
M1019 Er, a stunner, cracker, a peach, a doll,
F1054 Mm.
M1019 they were all, you know?
F1054 Okay.
M1021 I just got pretty there, "she's pretty".
F1054 Good. Erm, what about lacking money, the opposite o rich?
M1022 Skint.
F1018 Hard-up.
M1020 I think it's er skint I've got tae. Aye, aye, eh?
M1022 You're right, you're right, skint.
M1020 Skint, aye, I've got skint.
M1021 Skint, hard-up.
M1019 I had skint or brassic-lint for the rhyming slang.
F1018 //Brassic-lint, aye.//
M1021 //I got broke here, broke, stony broke.//
F1054 Good. Erm what about, oh gosh, we- we've had a couple o good ones already for pregnant. We had "bun in the oven" fae John and we had erm we had puddin, in the pudding club //fae fae Jimmy.//
M1020 //In the puddin club, aye.// //It's no pudding, it's puddin.//
F1054 //E-// //Puddin, puddin club.//
M1020 //[laugh]//
F1054 Any- anything else from anybody else?
M1020 [laugh]
F1018 In the pudding club! [laugh] //[laugh], I thought of rude ones like up, up the stick, up the stick.//
M1019 //There was a-//
M1020 //[laugh]//
F1054 //[inaudible] pregnant [inaudible].//
M1019 //In the club, just expecting, yeah.//
M1020 //In the club, aye.//
F1054 John, have you any?
M1022 Just what I said before.
F1054 Okay, good. Erm, what about "insane"?
F1018 //Heidbanger.//
M1022 //Well what,//
F1018 No the full shilling.
M1020 Mm.
M1022 er, well what I mentioned earlier, doolally-tappit.
M1020 Mm.
F1018 //Doolally [inaudible].//
F1054 //Jimmy, anything else for insane?//
M1020 Insane, er, no I think I've just got er, oh what was it? That's this wonderful memory, [laugh]. //Oh.//
F1018 //You've got "daft".//
M1020 Daft or mad.
F1018 Aye.
M1020 Mad, I think. //Erm//
M1019 //Nutter.//
M1022 //Nutter.//
M1021 Barmy.
M1020 //[inaudible] [inaudible]//
F1054 //Barm, that's an interesting one, that's very Scottish, isn't it?//
M1019 //Off your heid.//
M1022 //Barmpot.//
M1019 //Off your heid would be//
M1020 //Now they're rollin oot!//
F1018 //[laugh]//
M1022 //Now they're rolling oot!// //[laugh]//
M1019 //[laugh]//
M1020 //[laugh]//
M1021 //[laugh]//
F1054 //[inaudible] We're on a roll noo, Jimmy!// Erm, what else, lacking money, drunk, pregnant, have we done enough on drunk, do you think? //I don't think we have.//
M1020 //Eh?//
F1018 //Er,//
F1054 //Drunk.// //Somebody had [inaudible].//
M1020 //Aye, we had stoatin.//
M1022 //Drunk.//
F1018 //Sozzled.//
M1020 //We had stoatin for that.//
M1022 Plastered.
F1018 Mmhm. Sozzled. //[?]More to be funny though I think[/?].//
M1019 //Pissed.// Pissed. [inaudible] //Steaming, or stoned.//
F1018 //Steamin, aye.//
M1021 //Steaming. Just steaming. Steaming.//
M1022 Four sheets to the wind. Er, bevvied. //Er, pissed as a newt.//
M1019 //That's a good one.//
M1021 //Bevvied, aye.//
F1054 It's very rich one, //isn't it, there's load for that. Erm,//
M1019 //Yeah yeah yeah.// Blootered is what you said there as well.
F1054 Yeah. Moody, moody?
M1020 Moody. //Er, s-//
F1018 //Crabbit.//
M1022 //Crabbit, mmhm.//
F1018 Crabbit.
M1022 Soor-faced.
F1018 //Mm.//
F1054 //John, if you just, you just come in a tiny bit, I'm just no quite// //pickin you up.//
M1022 //Right.//
F1054 Just if you move your chair in a tiny bit, that's [inaudible].
M1022 Erm, moody, soor-faced.
M1021 //Mmhm.//
F1054 //Right.//
M1019 Temperamental.
F1018 Mm.
M1021 Aye, if if if it's getting nearer the Scots words, er, moody, you're getting near it there I would have thought, d-d-d- moody, always meaning sort of crabbit and so on, didnae always mean that, sometimes it meant, you know, you know, high, aye, so we used to just say "up and doon", my mother would say "Oh him and he's he's either up or doon", you know? That's what we meant by moody. //Up and doon.//
F1054 //Unpredictable really. Yeah.// //Erm, what about//
F1018 //Swinging.//
M1020 //Oh that a-, aye.//
F1018 Swinging, you know they're swinging one way and the other, [inaudible].
F1054 Mmhm.
F1018 Yeah, swingin.
M1020 That insane yin, I don't think I said it, "no the full shillin". Or "away wi the fairies". //[laugh]//
F1018 //[laugh]//
F1054 //Two good ones Jimmy, yeah, yeah, that's great.// What about er, going inside and outside, to rain lightly?
M1019 Drizzle, drizzle.
F1018 //Smirl.//
M1022 //Spittin.//
M1020 //Er//
F1054 //What did you say?//
F1018 Smirl.
F1054 You're the first person I've heard say that, actually.
F1018 Mm, is that, would you say that in erm //Shetland?//
F1054 //No, but I've// //heard, or I really like it, a smirr, or smirl.//
M1020 //Mm, I I think I say// drizzle. Drizzle. For rainin lightly, drizzle, aye. It's drizzlin. //That's all [inaudible], isn't it?//
F1054 //What about "to rain heavily"?//
M1022 Well a sudden downpour would be a plump.
M1020 Er.
F1054 That's one my mum uses, aye.
M1022 And that's Dutch from "plompen", to burst. //Yes.//
F1018 //Really?//
F1054 Oh aye, that's brilliant.
M1019 //[?]Wickin[/?], raining cats and dogs.//
M1020 //Yeah.//
M1021 //And, no, simply buckettin, aye, buckettin, I still use it, bucket, bucket.//
F1054 //[inaudible].//
F1018 //Teeming.//
M1020 //Oh aye.//
F1018 And you'd s- you'd hear it the day, it's teemin, aye, teemin down.
F1054 Oh, I haven't heard that one before.
F1018 //Och aye.//
M1020 //[inaudible]//
F1054 Another one there. Erm, toilet?
M1020 //Poorin, aye.//
M1022 //Cludgie.//
F1018 Lavvy.
M1019 //Lavvy.//
M1022 //The bog.// //[growl]//
M1020 //What is this, er?//
M1019 //[laugh]//
F1054 //Toilet, Jimmy, toilet.// [laugh]
M1020 The loo. //[laugh]//
F1018 //[laugh]//
M1022 //Oh that's a polite word, Jimmy, [inaudible] not polite.//
F1054 //[laugh] That's too po-, that's too polite now!// //[laugh] It comes naturally.//
F1018 //[laugh]//
M1020 //I ju-, well I cannae help it, just, I mean.// Ma, ma wife, er she was, she belonged to Dalkeith, and her her mother tried to get her to talk polite, you see?
M1022 [laugh]
M1020 And erm, er when she was oot and she was talking ordinary Dalkeith, sis-, ken Betty, she used to go back and tell her mother, that's her sister, er "Chris wasnae talking gentry." [laugh] Wisnae polite, she wisnae talking gentry. So, she clyped on her an that was her in trouble. //[laugh]//
M1022 //[laugh]//
F1054 What does clype mean, Jimmy?
M1020 Tell tale.
F1054 Good one, that's a good one.
M1019 Mmhm, aye we- we'd bog, cludgie or lavvy. //Mmhm, mmhm.//
M1021 //Aye, lavvy, I put lavvy, aye.//
F1054 Good, erm what about
F1018 //Yes.//
M1019 //Closet, closet was another one, closet.//
M1022 //Oh aye, water-closet.//
F1054 "The narrow walkway between or alongside buildings"?
M1022 A vennel.
F1054 Is that got a, some foreign origin?
M1022 Er, I don't know about that, but there's a vennel up in, well John'll know the vennel.
M1021 Aye, the vennel, yes. //[inaudible]//
F1018 //Close, well clo-,// they have closes in Edinburgh. //You know, they've got Fishmarket Close, Fleshmarket Close and all o them.//
M1021 //[inaudible]//
F1018 //The pend.//
M1022 //Pend,// //and wynd, and Weir's Close.//
F1018 //Wynd and, well in// in erm Leith it was the Tolbooth Wynd, you know the wynd, wynd through the walkway, through
M1022 So that's what you mean, as opposed to a path, just a pathway? Right, mm.
M1020 There's one here that I couldnae get, kit of tools. I've only got "toolkit" doon. //Is there anything else?//
M1022 //Th- that's all I've got, I can't think// //of anything.//
F1018 //A work-bag.//
M1020 Eh?
F1018 A work-bag. No.
M1021 //Aye,//
M1022 //Just gear, that was it.//
M1021 well as a tradesman, we used the word "gear", you know? Aye, plumbers and those with big tools and instruments did use a toolbox, aye, it was always a toolb- you got your bo- toolbox, but we as painters, you know, we were sort o the bottom o the barrel, //except culturally of course.//
M1020 //Aye.//
M1021 And we er had brushes and things and so on, that could be easily carried and that was you- "you got the gear wi you?" Er and that was what we used, just gear, you know? But you're right about the toolbox, aye, it was always mentioned.
M1019 //But you sus- suspect there must be a good word for that in other, in trades.//
M1020 //Well, I never heard o any other, no, a tool-//
F1054 I I didn't ken any words for it either, nobody [inaudible]. //[?]So it's not ordinary[/?].//
M1020 //Mmhm.//
F1054 [inaudible] itself.
M1021 [inaudible] because there were those trades that er, you you were very lucky if they were selling a trade, incidentally, you were, you know, [?]labelled[/?] an aristocrat. There were others that didnae get a chance, werenae too happy about that. But there was a difference in er eh employment, you know, you- er dangerous in the winter, because you lost days through rent. The other one was that you didn't have to buy tools. You know, the mother of this one boy [inaudible] in the trade "got to buy his tools, I've got to buy a box o tools for him". And you would have to buy the box o tools.
M1022 Mm.
M1021 Er, whereas a painter you could just, you know, slip in there and er a brush here a brush there, whatever, the employer supplied it all. That was the point.
F1054 Were you a painter as well as bein a
M1021 Yes, I was a painter, and a signwriter, and I moved to decoration. But, so you had your special brushes and so on, for certain jobs you did. But you called that your gear. Aye, and it was smaller, you didnae have to lug a big tool kit across, "It's got to go in, [?]Char-[/?]. It'll have to go in the van!"
F1054 Mmhm.
M1021 You just c- carried that and you got on the bus and you went where you were to go.
F1054 Did you do kind of house-painting or only so- er sign-writing and fine art?
M1021 Oh well I did er we went to art school, when I was serving my time it was six years and you had to go to night-school, ar- art college, and you went to that College up in Lady Lawson Street there. And you went there and you did drawing, you did still-life, you did aw the alphabets, [inaudible] and Roman, and you had aw the models aw around you up there. And there were some very clever er er teachers there, actual artists and er decorators, you know, long experience. And they taught you that and then eventually you got a day-school, you see, where you went up for day, for drawing, great. And so it was er one or two painters didnae make it but they were sort of frowned on, at, in the shop, and they werenae too happy, an employer er if you d-, if you e- if you didn't take advantage of it. And so that's what happened to us, and so we had a good grounding in the arts, you see? And it left us with the opportunity to move to a better firm wi bigger work and more decorative work, like the New Town, all that cornicing, all that decoration, lettering in the theatres, lettering in the hotels, all that. So it was er, but nevertheless, the tools were small and fine and so easy carried about. //You asked me that, incidentally.//
F1054 //Good. Erm, oh, it's// //Yeah, no, it was very interesting, that.//
M1021 //[laugh]//
M1022 //Yeah.//
F1054 //I was interested in that.// Cause, I I don't think, any of the rest of you got experience of the trade or working wi //tools?//
M1022 //There is a// a phenomenon amongst trades that you can usually have a tool that you can't buy in a shop. And in the the electrician's trade, you've got something called a hickey. And you make this up from a heating engineer's pipes. It's a a sh- a a length o pipe, with a thread on the end, and you've got a T-piece and you put that on the other end o the thread. And you use it to bend pipes, you just stick it in the end and bend the pipe, put an offset on a pipe. But you can't buy them in a shop, you make them up for yourself on the sites, and it's called a hickey, H-I-C-K-E-Y.
F1054 Is that a Scots word, do you think?
M1022 It could be.
M1019 //It's an I-//
M1021 //Will they use that now, I wonder?//
M1022 I don't know, but they used them till the forties and fifties and certainly the sixties.
M1019 It's an Irish name, cause I've got a pal called John Hickey, who lives in Leith.
F1054 Mm okay, erm what about the long, what about the long soft seat in the main room?
M1022 That has to be the settee.
F1018 I well I I thought the settee, and I phoned my sister and I asked her and she says to me "a sattlebed".
M1020 Whit?
F1018 A sattlebed. //I,//
M1020 //Oh, that's awfy nice.// //[laugh]//
F1018 //I know, hey! I'd never heard it before but she said "Oh no, that's a sattlebed".//
M1022 //[laugh]//
F1054 //[laugh]// //It's not a chaise longue, is it?//
F1018 //And that's a// er it's, no, it's a bed, a soft seat on the top but it gets made down like a bed-settee. And she said a sattlebed.
M1020 //A-//
F1054 //Wh- in in Shetland they talk about the settle.//
M1020 //Bed-settee to me. That's the only thing I think of.//
M1022 //Settle.//
F1054 Would you say a cooch?
M1020 Couch?
F1018 Or a sofa? //A sofae, sofa.//
M1019 //Couch or settee.//
M1020 A sofae.
M1021 I've got down sofae.
F1054 Good. //Erm what about the main room of the house that might have that seat in it, with a TV in it?//
F1018 //[?]That's good[/?].// Living room.
M1022 Sitting room.
M1020 Sittin room.
M1019 Lounge.
M1021 Aye, the living room, aye.
F1054 So those are the words you'd kno- use in your own house?
F1018 Well they've gone posh if they've got the sittin and sittin rooms.
M1020 [inaudible] you gone posh. //There are only two rooms in the place!//
F1018 //You've gone posh. [laugh] Well,// it's ho-, //it's all, it's a lo-. A sittin//
M1020 //You had the livin room and you had the sittin room.//
F1018 room was something, you know, up in Morningside.
M1020 //A sittin room.//
M1021 //It does//
M1022 //Ma dad [inaudible]//
F1018 //Uh-huh, it was a class thing aye.//
M1021 //er there's a class con- connotation here, because// if you're talking aboot the main room, I think you'll agree with me that er if there was one room that was the room in the house it was the kitchen. //The kitchen.//
F1018 //Some of the-.//
M1021 Oh but that's just for cooking. Oh no it wisnae.
F1018 Oh no it wasnae.
M1021 All the talkin was done in the kitchen.
F1018 Round the table.
M1021 Ah the table, right round, the same table you eat off, they were cleared back, visitors came in, into the kitchen, er summer and winter. It was only later, that er or somehow, you know, maybe a boyfriend or girlfriend coming up said er living room, and the living room was, well we called it the big room, or sort o the the big room, //and there it.//
M1022 //Ben the hoose.//
M1021 It's ben the [inaudible]. But the kitchen was the place.
M1020 //Well er,//
F1054 //It's interesting it might, might be a generational thing, my my granny would have said "ben" but maybe, then my mam, we live in a really ordinary hoose,// but erm mum still called it the sitting room and the linen cupboard and the cloakroom and aw this sort of stuff. [inaudible]
M1020 //Well,//
M1022 //Well,//
M1020 we got a man up, you know them that er thingwy the hoose and taxes and aw the rest o it, "What size is yer hoose?" We said, "Well it's er kitchen, livin room and two bedrooms." "But you've got a sittin room?", "No, it's two bedrooms", he says "You must have a sittin room, you must have somewhere to sit." And we could not have two bedrooms; had to be a bedroom and a sittin room.
F1054 Oh, God.
M1020 Aye.
M1022 My grandmother's family never had that problem. She and her husband and her six sons and her two daughters lived in a single end with two bed recesses.
F1054 But what is //si-//
M1022 //Till the nineteen-fifties.//
M1019 One room.
F1018 //One room.//
M1022 //Just one room.//
F1018 They'd call it a studio now. //But it was//
M1022 //[inaudible]//
F1018 and what what it was you had er six houses aw, that's in the tenements that were the slums that they've actually demolished back in the nineteen-fifties when we were all re-housed, and erm it was, I was born into luxury, there was six houses in Admirality Street as they say in Leith, and there was four single ends and two room and kitchens, and on the half-landing that they'd call the mezzanine floor now, that was where the one lavvy, lavatory was. And that was just one room, and there was a erm sink wi a cold water tap and that's all there was, and the range, the fire range. And everything went on in that one room. And people, they like chil-, an people had what, six, seven bairns. //And,//
M1020 //Youse have had a// //hard time, haven't they, they've had a hard time! [laugh]//
M1022 //[laugh]//
F1054 //Oh I know, I've got a hanky, you want to greet? [laugh]// //[laugh]//
F1018 //I know.//
M1022 //Single ends, you were lucky! [laugh]//
M1019 //We shared a single end with four families.//
F1054 //[laugh]//
F1018 //He was//
M1022 //That's right. [laugh]// //[laugh]//
F1018 //he wa- he was livin in the Anderson shelter! [laugh]//
M1022 No, but that particular house I'm talkin about, well that single end, it was in Advocates' Close, across the road from St Giles Cathedral.
F1054 Mm.
M1022 And they had no water in the flat at all, that was out out in the the lobby, there was one toilet, a W.C. for, I think it was three families, //and//
M1019 //At that time.//
M1020 //You were lucky with a W.C. at that time, eh?//
M1022 aye, and er there was gas, there was gas for the gas cooker. //but there was no electricity,//
F1018 //[?]What a long deprived life[/?]//
M1022 so there was no, no carpets, cause you couldnae have carpets without //vacuum cleaners.//
M1020 //No, it was// pavin stane, eh? //On the flair.//
M1019 //It was just// just just [inaudible]
M1021 What about the candles, and so on, what about the candles and the candlesticks, when you hadnae the penny for the gas?
M1022 That's right, yeah. //Gas mantle.//
F1018 //[inaudible]//
M1021 //And for the wee, what did they call it again, I was always breakin them, the mantle, the wee mantle.//
F1054 //[inaudible]//
F1018 //Ma mantle was forever//
M1021 //What about the what about the mantles in the stair, John?// //What about the mantles in//
F1018 //gettin broken.// //And when you when you you your mother would light it ehm and it was broken, it was a- an eerie yellowy-blue flame.//
M1019 //[inaudible]//
F1018 And if it was in the erm the scullery and she had a sheep heid sittin on the bunker, oh it used to look absolutely horrendous. [laugh] It was horrible.
M1021 But then again the mantles in the stair.
F1018 Mmhm.
M1021 What about the [?]methies[/?] comin up,
M1022 That's right, yeah.
M1021 breakin them, [?]waterin[/?] them? get the gas, take it out, in wi the meths, a good shake - Grassmarket cocktail. //[laugh] We're away!//
F1054 //Oh wi- what, we tak that as drugs?//
M1021 Aye, they were away. And they would lie doon on the stone, happy and so, and kid used to step over them you see, until you saw the gas mantle, see, cause you knew you'd get the blame o it. Slidin doon the banister and shovin your finger in it, which we never did, I never anyway. But this was it, the methies, and then the next day you'd see them, red red face, walkin on air again, till they got some water and then they were away again till the next night when the mantles would be put on. It was dangerous because th- th- some of them forgot to put the the er gas off, you see you turned it and they would turn it off and try to take the mantle off, poor souls, you know, and and they [?]brook[/?] it, like they stuffed the bottle up there all the same, I mind I painted it when I was a kid.
M1022 To give you an example of er generation gaps, my daughter's boyfriend's a computer expert and I wanted my hard drive updated, cause I wanted to put some extra stuff on it, you know? I don't know how to do that, but he can open up the box and put in extra memory, and he did that for me, and it was all workin. And he was tryin to explain it to me and he was losin me, I says, "Listen, I'm quite happy that it's workin, but there's no point in tryin to explain it to me, because I came up in a hoose wi a gas mantle". And he said "What's a gas mantle?"
M1019 [laugh] //[laugh]//
F1018 //I know.//
M1020 //Stupid man.//
M1022 //Didnae ken, never heard o it.//
F1018 //And if you didnae have the penny for the gas, remember the meters, and it had a padlock on it, and the gas man came every so often to empty it.//
M1020 //[laugh]//
F1018 And if you ma- you maybe had two or three days and then your mother would just actually break into the meter, //and eh get the pennies back oot! [laugh]//
M1022 //[inaudible] somebody else, somebody up the stair.//
F1018 Well it was always, it was always somebody else that broke into the meter; it was never my mother!
M1022 //It was, it was a bonus wasn't it when you got//
F1054 //[inaudible]//
M1019 //Oh aye.//
M1022 //got the pennies.//
F1018 Oh, like that wi the store divvie, the store dividend. Oh that was a great day.
M1020 We're in another world here.
F1054 Oh dear, this thing is no pickin up anything, sometimes it's useless, aye that's it, that's it noo. Don't move a muscle. //Right. I know. It's all your fault, Jimmy. Not.//
M1020 //I won't. [laugh]//
F1054 Right, okay, erm we've done toilet, done rain heavily, done narrow walkway, done soft seat, running water, smaller than a river?
M1022 A burn.
F1018 A burn.
M1020 Burn.
M1019 //Burn. Burn.//
M1021 //Burn, yes.//
F1054 All agreed on that. Erm, oo-rr, let's move on now to the "what do you call them" section. What about your mother, to begin with?
F1018 Mammy.
M1022 Just ma.
M1019 I would just say ma.
M1020 Ma.
M1019 //Ma.//
M1022 //Ma.//
M1021 Ma.
F1054 All in unison there. //[laugh]//
M1020 //Naebody says "me-e-e". [laugh]//
F1054 Grandmother?
F1018 Granny.
M1022 Granny.
M1021 Granny.
M1019 //Granny, gran, [?]gee-gee[/?] and nana.//
M1020 //Gran.//
F1054 Mm.
M1021 Granny just, //just granny.//
F1054 //Do you think that's a generational// thing, I mean, folk have said that these days folk are posh and they have nannies and nana, and all that.
M1020 Aye, no. //Dinnae say any o them. Just granny.//
M1022 //Aye.//
F1054 //You're just granny.//
M1019 //[inaudible]//
M1021 //More sophisticated.//
M1019 My grandchildren call different grandmothers different names, like, gee-gee or, you know, they distinguish now, there's four different
M1022 //Noel's family were//
F1054 //Who's gee-gee?//
M1019 //That was that was//
M1022 //[inaudible]//
M1019 the that was the er grand- grand- granny's mother, great-grandmother was gee-gee.
F1054 Maternal?
M1019 Mmhm.
F1054 Mmhm. Er what about male partner?
M1020 Eh?
M1022 I couldnae answer that one, //sorry!//
F1018 //Ma man!//
M1020 Ma man, that's what I've got.
F1018 Ma man. //Mmhm.//
M1020 //My man, mmhm.//
M1021 Male partner?
F1054 Aye, have you got a man? //Aye, man.//
M1021 //You mean have I got a fellae?// You mean have I got a fellae?
F1054 Aye, aye, a man.
M1021 A fellae.
F1054 A man aye, [?]bairn[/?]. //Oppo?//
M1022 //Oppo, I don't know, oppo is one, buddy.// Er I mean, a woman seeing a male partner, or a //a pal, like?//
M1020 //But that the question disnae// //say that's what they meant.//
F1054 //I think it means a woman saying an//
M1022 Male partn-, a male partner, yeah, oppo or er better half, //or, which was,//
F1054 //I've never heard oppo before.//
M1022 oppo, yeah. Er, that's it.
M1020 What are we on now?
F1054 Erm, we're o- gonna go onto friend next.
M1020 Oh, friend, did we do female partner, did we?
F1054 I've got o-, well do you want to do that noo, Jimmy? Let's do female //partner.//
M1020 //No, no, I thought th- were on that.// Eh, the wife.
F1018 The missus. The missus. //Yeah.//
M1022 //Wife, yeah.//
M1019 Wife.
M1021 You mean a female partner? I've got er bird. Aye?
F1054 You and your birds, John! //[laugh]//
M1021 //Och, I'm away wi all the birds, aye.// Incidentally, Noel came from a better class of folk than we did, isn't that right, Millie?
F1018 That's right, aye.
M1021 That explains some of the odd words he's using.
M1019 Oh well.
M1021 //It's alright Noel.//
F1054 //What do, well how would you, what would you say about that Noel? Do you think that that's true or,// //how does it work?//
M1019 //No.// It's it's it's what you says, it's pro- I I I'm probably trying to get a a range of words as opposed to specifically dialect, aye.
F1054 Okay. //Right,//
M1019 //Mm.//
F1054 erm what about friend then?
F1018 //Chum.//
M1022 //Mate.//
F1018 Chum.
M1020 Mate or pal.
M1022 Aye. That's where I was wrong, it's oppo is for mate and pal or buddy. Aye.
M1021 Pal as well, aye, pal.
F1054 Good, eh baby?
M1022 Bairn.
F1054 Baby, Jimmy?
M1020 Mm?
F1054 Baby?
M1020 Bairn.
M1022 Bairn.
F1018 A bairn or a babby.
M1020 //They dinnae//
M1021 //A wean, aye, wean.// //W.E.A.N. wean.//
M1020 //say babby down here.//
F1018 No, but they do up //up they do they do,//
M1019 //We also use child.// //We use child a lot in our family, so the child//
F1018 //they do, they do.//
M1019 as opposed to the bairn for us, mmhm.
F1054 Good. Erm oh let's see, grandfather? Any of you //grandfathers?//
M1020 //Grandfaither.//
M1022 Just grandad.
F1018 Grandad or grandfaither.
M1022 Grandad, grandpa, grandfather.
M1021 Aye, it was always grandpop wi us, in, us anyway, grandpop we called him.
F1054 Okay, good. Erm what about the word for some- someone whose name you've forgotten, something.
F1018 //A thingmyjig.//
M1020 //Oh aye er thingmy.// Aye, thingmy.
M1022 Thingmyjig, yeah.
F1018 Thingmyjig.
M1019 //Or a whatdyamecallit.//
M1020 //[inaudible]//
M1022 Aye.
M1019 //A whatdyamecallit.//
M1021 //[laugh] Thingmy, thingmy aye, that's right, this thingmy.// [throat]
M1022 Er, there is another word though, isn't there, er? Can't remember what it is now though.
F1054 We've already done kit of tools, haven't we? //Erm,//
M1022 //Yeah.//
F1054 young person in cheap trendy clothes wi //jewellery.//
F1018 //Oh!//
M1021 //Well now!//
M1022 //[laugh]// A schemie! //[laugh]//
F1018 //A schemie.//
M1019 //[laugh]//
M1020 //[laugh]//
F1018 //Aye.//
M1022 //A schemie.//
M1020 I've never forgot the [inaudible]
F1018 Aye, well actually I was trying to think about it and I guess again it was suggested birkie.
F1054 Whit does that mean?
F1018 It just means a young dandy man that thinks he's absolutely wonderful.
F1054 Is that short for something?
F1018 //Eh, no, I don't think so, I think it's "See yon birkie ca'd a lord", isn't it, from Burns.//
M1022 //Aye, aye.// You can also have a casuay.
F1018 //Mmhm.//
M1021 //What's that?//
F1018 //An upstart.//
M1022 //But there's also a rude one.//
F1018 Yeah.
M1022 Slightly rude anyway. I think it's from the West. Am I allowed to say this? It's a er young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery, particularly a female, a wee hairy. //[laugh]//
F1018 //Yeah. I know.//
M1020 //Mmhm, no, I think I've got something like that, you know,// somewhere.
F1018 And if the- if they were chocolate, they would eat theirsel. //[laugh]//
M1020 //[inaudible] the wee hairy does.//
F1018 //Mmhm aye, I've got//
M1019 //Naw, the schemies er is the best one, mmhm.//
M1022 //Yeah.//
F1054 //Describe a schemie to me.//
M1022 Person who comes from a housing scheme. It would be s- someone who was very poor taste in clothes and everything.
F1054 So that's like local authority.
M1022 Cheap, yeah, local authority housing, yeah, from a housing scheme. Yeah.
M1021 Well this word, for a young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery, this word, we used a word, perfectly innocent er word, it became later on to to to er to sort of lower in its connotation, we just said er er "Some tart that". Tart. Aye, but then, and I noticed some authors wr- wrote it, Mo- er Somerset Maugham used it quite a bit in his er "Rain", you know, about Sadie, how she was regarded as a tart, and we used it, tart, "You got a tart yet?" It didnae mean that she was immoral or anything. Just that meant that er she was a young lassie, you know, doin herself up, you know an obviously she wouldnae have the money to do it very well. But that was what she would be, sort of cheap. //And later on this,//
F1054 //Kind o crass, eh?//
M1021 aye, that's right, later on as I say, it became er a bit [?]slidgy[/?], you know? A bit dodgy. Aye, nearing on a prostitute. And we stopped, well just didnae use it any more.
M1019 My mother's expression would be, for a young woman like that, she'd be common.
F1018 Mmhm.
M1019 //Common would be, that that that meant, yeah.//
M1021 //Oh aye, common aye.//
F1018 And the thing is we were all common an, but my mother would say that, "Now don't be common". Erm because common was con- ehm considered that they were all, ehm dress up to go er and catch the eyes of the G.I.s.
M1021 Aye, the unusual meaning is the common folk, it didn't mean that common. [inaudible] //Oh, a- and they used that word a lot, [inaudible].//
F1018 //Trashy and trendy.//
M1020 //Where are these cheap yins aboot?// //[laugh]//
F1018 //[inaudible]//
F1054 //[inaudible]//
M1020 I'm askin her where the cheap yins are aboot. [laugh] //[laugh]//
F1018 //Yo- oh the ones that used to go to [?]Fairlies[/?]?//
M1022 //[laugh]//
F1018 //[inaudible]//
M1020 //Oh aye, they went, they used to go to Fairlies. It's closed doon now.//
M1021 //Oh [inaudible].//
F1054 But but folk like that, don't they, often the locals are sayin oh they like to kind of be around that kind of folk.
M1020 Mm, no, not really.
F1054 No preferences.
M1022 Your mother would also say, Millie, when talkin about commonality, she would also say, about somebody, be talkin about and sayin "Of course, better class folk".
F1018 I know, oh my mother was a g- my mother actually, er her mother had been middle-class. And she really objected that my grandad was an alcoholic and he'd taken her to the slums o Leith. And she would say, you know, if you said anything she'd say, er like I said, "Patsy's got erm patent leather shoes for Christmas", and I was sittin cuttin oot cardboard soles. And she'd says "Aye, but you're better class than Patsy, and that's really what matters". I mean you've got damn all else to eat, you've got cardboard soles in your shoes, [laugh] but your granny was middle-class! [laugh] It made all the difference. And they were great for class. The class was the thing.
F1054 Is that a big thing in Edinburgh, do you think?
F1018 Oh, it still is, still is, aye. Yeah. Especially where the schooling still, erm because you've got all these schools, er very good schools, Watson's, Heriot's, and what not, but they when, where I eh we eventually were rehoused, erm it was private houses on one side o the street, and this, our side of the street was corporation, and it was a bro- it was broader than the river Jordan, cause the children on the other side o the street were not allowed to play wi the children in the corporation housing, where they went to the corporation school, [?]cause though[/?] they all went to fee-paying schools. And it's still gr- a lot o snobbery in Edinburgh. //As ma granny says,//
M1021 //All this, aye.// Education, you know? I mean, if in if here, if in Edinburgh you want to, in this day and age, at this time, you want to s- get as close, to, see, the remnants o the Scots language, the old Scots tongue, near to the remnants of it, then you can sit down and figure it out without askin anybody,
F1018 Mm.
M1021 find out where people are grouped, in large communities, whe- we could call economically and socially disadvantaged, doesn't matter, "you got a place?", "right". "What about?", well you go there and you'll find the old Scots. Why there? Why there? Because it just happens to be that they're associated wi the poor. And the elites long ago, as I say, they, you know what they did wi the auld Scots language? Out it went. We know when, and how. And each act that did it. Er and that was it, and our elite did the same, er si- you know from sixteen-oh-three, Union o the Crowns, right up to the Scottish independence, er lost its independence. And from there on when education spread among the masses, the language went, the common language, as near old Scots as possible, wi all the wee influences movin in, you know, and the dialects that formed from it. Because you get a lot of mixed up wi this language and di- dialect, you know, they're, dialects belong to a language, a language first then the di-. An of course then the better schools, of course were the proper English and public school voices, public school talking, a voice that exuded confidence and boldness er as I say, person opens their mouth, you can almost, in fact you can almost tell the, what housing scheme they come from, snearly.
F1018 That's right.
M1022 And which end o the housing scheme they come //from. [laugh]//
F1018 //They'll, yeah, you can tell from it.// And the other thing that, forbye the fact that there was the schooling that had the snobbery, there was also in the Edinburgh corporation where I actually worked, if you went to a certain school, a member of the golf club and in the Masons, you could be the biggest idiot or heidbanger, whatever you want to call them, and you would get promoted as you went along, as a man, and there was a terrible thing, like, my nephew is erm a lawyer in Leith, [CENSORED: company name], and he actually had to come out of the fiscal's office, because he was Catholic, he knew that he could not be promoted as quick as a Protestant would be.
M1022 No way.
F1018 And that was fact.
F1054 When was that?
F1018 And we're only talking, [inhale] [CENSORED: forename]'s actually been in his own business twenty-five years.
F1054 Mm.
F1018 And he realised then that he would need to go out, so now he's one of the big criminal er criminal lawyers, aye he is a criminal lawyer! [laugh] He's a criminal!
M1021 //You got, you got people from from where I live,//
F1054 //Yeah.//
M1021 when they went for a job, we're talkin about the thirties,
F1054 Mm.
M1021 aye, older ones, goin for a job, they would often, in exasperation, give their aunt's address, who maybe lived up in Nicolson Square,
F1054 Mmhm.
M1021 or or Tollcross,
F1054 Mmhm.
M1021 er give their aunt's address, rather than the Grassmarket,
F1054 Mm.
M1021 or the West Port because it was a fact, you know, they would, employer "yes, sit down, uh-huh mhmm", "Yes, oh yes, what about expe-, right, name?" Er, oh, McIlvanney. "Oh, [inaudible] ah." "Mmhm Address?" "Cowgate, Cowgate?" "Oh, yes. That's fine, Mr McIlvanney, we'll get in touch with you."
M1022 //Mm.//
F1054 //So is the Cowgate a bad place to come from?//
M1021 The Grassmarket and Cowgate, an West Port, oh.
M1022 You came from the Cowgate? //We used to go on our holidays to the Cowgate. [laugh]//
F1018 //[laugh]//
M1019 //I wa-//
M1021 Ah, but you were from the country. //You came to the Cowgate,//
M1019 //I was, [laugh]// I was gonna say J- John was talkin earlier about er you know, phrases that kind of encapsulate the whole idea, when you're talkin about, you know, sort of the poorer class lookin at, you know, the Morningside people, what they used to say was eh "fur coat and nae knickers", //and that//
M1020 //That's right.//
M1019 that summed up the, you know, the kind of impression of people that had aspirations but no real money, you know?
F1018 Called pianas, pianies an kippers.
M1019 Aye.
F1018 Aye, pianies an kippers.
M1022 Another thing about language, eh, the use of the word "ken", that's East coast Scots.
F1018 Mm.
M1022 You don't get that over in the West.
F1018 //Yeah.//
M1021 //Yeah.// That "like", Scots use that word "like" a lot to
F1054 Yeah.
M1021 you know, I you see, John, I was pulled up for it quite a bit. //Some.//
F1054 //Like?//
M1021 Aye like, eh ch-ch-cha, like ch-ch-cha. Like er I mean you use it //t-//
F1054 //But that's// very common now, even like //amongst, yeah.//
M1019 //It's London as well.//
M1022 //Aye, London.// //Mmhm.//
F1054 //"It's totally like this and that, like."//
M1021 Oh right, I'm talkin about somebody trying to teach me how to speak good English,
F1054 Mm.
M1021 when I was a man, er ac- actually, and I'm talkin about an early cus- music teacher. Er, you know, "While you're at it you could just", he's telling me about enunciation of words and so on, and pitches, "and while you're at it er John, you used that word there, you know, you just keep saying it, you know, 'likes'". You know, "yeah, yes, you don't really need that, do you?". He's being very nice, you see.
F1054 What a- can we just finish off this diagram? I'm kind of keen that we get through this and then we can talk about other stuff that's more interestin, maybe? Ehm, clothes. What, just a second, my lead's crackling.
F1018 //Claes.//
M1022 //[?]Where aboots?[/?]//
M1020 //Time tae unwind. [laugh]//
F1054 //I know, it'd be lovely.// It's really misbehavin.
M1022 How do you no use that one?
F1018 //Claes.//
F1054 //Clothes.//
M1022 Claes.
M1020 Which word?
F1054 Clothes.
M1020 Clothes. Claes.
M1019 Gear.
M1021 I just use a word, the word clobber, you know? //Good clobber.//
M1022 //[inaudible]//
F1054 Good, ehm trousers? Trousers.
M1020 Breeks.
F1018 Breeks.
M1022 Troosers.
F1018 Breeks.
M1020 Breeks are troosers.
M1019 Pants. Strides.
F1054 You two are a bit, wee bit [cough] [inaudible]. //Is that cause you're thinking about it?//
M1022 //That's it, we're thinking//
M1021 But strides, my father used that word a lot. "Bring these strides boy, here, bring the boots", and you had to get all his stuff for him. "Where's ma strides?" Takes them and picked them up "should have been ironed them, son." //Strides, S.T.R.I.D.E.S.//
M1022 //Mm.//
M1021 Have you got that one?
F1018 //Aye.//
M1019 //Yep.Yep.//
M1022 //Yep.//
M1020 //Mmhm.//
F1054 //And a child's soft shoes worn for P.E.?//
F1018 //Rubbers.//
M1020 //Rubber.//
M1022 //Rubbers.// Rubbers always, yeah.
M1019 There were gutties and there was also plimsolls, er trainers is the contemporary one. Mm.
F1054 It's er jimmies in Aberdeen.
M1021 Just rubbers, aye, we just used rubbers.
F1054 I think we've got everything there. Hot, cold, unwell, tired, pleased, annoyed, throw, play truant, sleep, play a game, hit hard. Right, did we do hit hard? We did. //Yeah.//
F1018 //Aye.//
M1022 //Yeah.//
F1054 Erm, rich, left-handed, unattractive, lacking money, drunk, pregnant, attractive, insane, moody, rain, [reads through list of words] I think we've covered everything. Now, erm, just anything else that anyone would like to add, anything you'd like to say in a good local accent or any kind of words that we've neglected? Please share.
M1021 No, I think not.
F1054 Can I just get you to introduce yourselves one more time then, just so we can use this at the end of the interview, just tell me who you are, where you're from and how long you've lived there.
F1018 [inhale] [cough] I'm Millie [CENSORED: surname]. I was born in Admirality Street in Leith. And we all know it's Admiralty Street, but in Leith they give you the extra "i". And I moved from there when I was an infant, over to the Portobello area, and when I married I stayed within the Portobello area.
F1054 Is Portobello kind of posh?
F1018 I- well the bit of Portobello that I stay in now in posh, because the Portobello Reporter did erm a an article on me recently and my neighbour rang the bell to say to me "You said you stayed in Portobello. Could I point out this is Duddingston." [laugh]
M1021 //[?]That's lovely[/?]//
M1022 //Er,// I'm John [CENSORED: surname]. And I was born in the St Leonard's district of Edinburgh, a place called Dumbiedykes Road, originally it was in Arthur Street. And the interesting thing about it for me to say this [cough] is that in the nineteen-thirties it was described as being the worst slum in the Western Europe, the definition of worst depending upon the number of people living in a square mile. And in later years, I discovered that it was full of refugees from Europe, Jews, Germans, poles, the lot were all crowding into this area.
M1020 And me! //[laugh]//
F1018 //Jimmy.//
M1022 //And Jimmy, and Jimmy, and Jimmy.// And I I moved out of that when I was about eighteen, and I lived all over Edinburgh, and er I now live in //n- near Tollcross.//
F1054 //[inaudible]// [interviewer is adjusting microphone] There's a loose connection in here.
M1022 Have you lost the whole thing? Oh no! //[laugh]//
M1019 //[inaudible]//
F1054 //No, no no, I've not lost the whole thing, no you're okay, I've got an hour and twenty-four minutes already,// erm, oh, to download.
M1022 So, yes, I stayed in that area until I was about eighteen or nineteen and then I start living in digs all over Edinburgh, and today I live in [CENSORED: streetname] Place, near Tollcross.
M1020 Er, [cough], I'm er, my name Jimmy [CENSORED: surname]. I was born in Loanheid, that's Midlothian, just five mile outside Edinburgh. And er I lived there until er the War, and then I was in the army for six year, came out, in about a couple o year, I moved into Edinburgh. I was was in the St Leonard's hill for a while, er married of course, and then moved from there to where I am now, Grange Court. It soonds posh, eh? [laugh]
M1022 [laugh]
M1019 Er my name's Noel [CENSORED: surname], I was originally from Leith and I moved out to Saughton Main. I was interested in when Millie talked about Admirality Street because I was trying to get in my head the correct pronunciation for Admir- and I couldn't do it, [laugh] all that came out was Admirality Street, and where John was talking about, I I live in that area now, and there's also the local pronunciation for Montague Street, which everybody would call Montague Street.
M1021 Mmhm, Montague Street. I I yes, I'm er John [CENSORED: surname], er, "I was born under a wand'rin star. I", oh no, that's [inaudible]. Grassma- yes, I was actually brought up in the Grassmarket, when it was not quite as sophisticated as it is today, er and we, nineteen-thirty, that's right, and then we moved to, got married and moved to the West Port. It was always a a step higher. And then up to, Pollworth, another step higher, and [?]gravity[/?], and finally we reached Morningside. It took me all that time to get to Morningside.
F1054 Are you happier in Morningside than you were at the Grassmarket?
M1021 Oh no, no, I miss the Grassmarket, very fondly actually, you wouldnae believe it. It's only now you realise that what you were reaching out for wasnae all that good, at all. And I miss quite a bit the Grassmarket, the companionship, the sense o community, Saturday
F1054 Community.
M1021 aye, Saturday nights were lively.
M1022 Shared toilets.
M1021 There was no muggin [?]of each[/?] other in the street there, that was it every Saturday night, there was no arguments, no no serious arguments, it was a it was a very er I don't know, er there were people there too of course, the navvies, who kept comin an goin, you know? Aye, but most were good families trying to bring up kids under very difficult circumstances.
M1022 //I often say, I often say that er//
F1054 //I'm gonna have to stop it there I think.//
M1022 we may not have had much in those days, but we had something that money couldn't buy.
F1018 That's right.
M1022 Poverty.
F1018 We di- [laugh] and I'll tell you something; you see, I was actually twenty-one before I realised that things didnae fall off the back o a lorry, because in Leith docks, it was all, when they were actually d- er unloading the ships, which was all done manually, they used to actually, if they, make sure that if it was apples, a box o apples fell when it was gettin put on the back o the lorry. And then it was divided out, and somebody would chap the door and say "That fell off the back o a lorry". And then I realised, you know, an I was about twenty-one when I realised, that was it, it was actually when it was a crate o whisky that had fallen off the back o the lorry, it was on its way to Venezuela and got lost in Leith docks. [laugh] //[laugh]//
M1019 //[laugh]//
M1020 //[laugh]//
M1021 //[laugh]//
M1022 //[laugh]//
F1054 //[laugh]//

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Information about Document 1432

BBC Voices Recording: Leith


Audio audience

Adults (18+)
General public
Informed lay people
For gender Mixed
Audience size 1000+

Audio awareness & spontaneity

Speaker awareness Aware
Degree of spontaneity Spontaneous
Special circumstances surrounding speech Spontaneous but discussing a list of words they had thought about previously.

Audio footage information

Year of recording 2004
Recording person id 1060
Size (min) 88
Size (mb) 340

Audio footage series/collection information

Part of series
Contained in BBC Voices Recordings -

Audio medium

Web (e.g. audio webcast)

Audio setting

Recording venue Community Centre
Geographic location of speech Leith

Audio relationship between recorder/interviewer and speakers

Not previously acquainted
Speakers knew each other Yes

Audio speaker relationships

Members of the same group e.g. schoolmates

Audio transcription information

Transcriber id 718
Year of transcription 2006
Year material recorded 2004
Word count 16679

Audio type

General description Conversation centred around a pre-prepared list of words for discussion


Participant details

Participant id 1018
Gender Female
Decade of birth 1930
Age left school 15
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Writer and storyteller
Place of birth Leith
Region of birth Edinburgh
Birthplace CSD dialect area Edb
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area Edb
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Cold store worker
Father's place of birth Leith
Father's region of birth Edinburgh
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Edb
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Barmaid
Mother's place of birth Leith
Mother's region of birth Edinburgh
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Edb
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Work and home
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Work and home


Participant details

Participant id 1019
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment University
Age left school 15
Upbringing/religious beliefs Catholicism
Occupation Retired teacher
Place of birth Leith
Region of birth Edinburgh
Birthplace CSD dialect area Edb
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area Edb
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Boilermaker
Father's place of birth Leith
Father's region of birth Edinburgh
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Edb
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Biscuit factory worker
Mother's place of birth Longford
Mother's country of birth Ireland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Home and leisure


Participant details

Participant id 1020
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1910
Educational attainment School qualifying
Age left school 14
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Retired heating engineer
Place of birth Loanhead
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area Edb
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Knacker
Father's place of birth Loanhead
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Mother / housewife
Mother's place of birth Edinburgh
Mother's region of birth Edinburgh
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Edb
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes
German Yes No No Yes Socially
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Home


Participant details

Participant id 1021
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment University
Age left school 14
Occupation Retired teacher
Place of birth Edinburgh
Region of birth Edinburgh
Birthplace CSD dialect area Edb
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area Edb
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Edinburgh Corporation lighting and cleansing department
Mother's occupation Housewife


Participant details

Participant id 1022
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment University
Age left school 15
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Electrician / teacher / college lecturer (retired)
Place of birth Edinburgh
Region of birth Edinburgh
Birthplace CSD dialect area Edb
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Edinburgh
Region of residence Edinburgh
Residence CSD dialect area Edb
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Sheepskinner
Father's place of birth Edinburgh
Father's region of birth Edinburgh
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area Edb
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Shop worker
Mother's place of birth Edinburgh
Mother's region of birth Edinburgh
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area Edb
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes Everywhere
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Everywhere


Participant details

Participant id 1054