24 August 2008

Heard Around the Office

For some time I have wanted to write some Scottish phrases/words I've learned while working, but have just now gotten around to it....mainly because I keep forgetting what they all are when I sit to blog. So, the past couple of weeks I've been jotting down words/phrases at work as I hear them so I don't miss any!

Fab=short for fabulous, to show approval of a matter being discussed
Ace=as in tennis? Again, to show approval
You're a star=kinda like "you're the best"
Aye=Yes, to answer in the affirmative
Nae/Nae bother=no/no problem, to answer in the negative
Dinna ken=I don't know (this and the below one are examples of the local dialect known as Doric. For more great words/phrases that we may encounter, go here and scroll down. Take a look, it really is a different language!)
Pal=good friend, can be used when speaking of either girl or guy
Give it a go=try it out
It's very unusual, is it?=Often questions end with "is it" or "does it" instead of isn't it? or doesn't it? (that or I just can't hear the "n!")
I'll chase that up=I'll track down the person/thing mentioned
I'll come through=I'll meet up with you/come to your desk
Miss it out=skip over it
Bin it=put it in the trash
Ta=thank you, good bye
Cheers=thank you, good bye
Do you have your brawley?=I'm not sure how brawley is spelled, but it is an umbrella.
Back of 10 (or any number on the clock)=I still don't know what this means! I can't tell if it is a different way of saying 9:45 or 10 o'clock, or something else entirely!

The past 3 weeks I have taken a ton of phone calls, many of which have involved writing down names and addresses. I honestly am not good at this in American English. I have always had a really hard time with listening and quickly writing what is being said to me. I am forever switching numbers/letters, etc. I despise people who rattle off phone numbers with no pauses. And here, they often say "double 2" or "treble (triple) 4". My mind REALLY doesn't handle that well! Just tell me 0-1-2-2-4, not 0-1-double two-4. I start to think, what number starts with "d"? Anyways, I digress as I talk about my probable mild dyslexia that runs in the family!

You might imagine the challenge it is to spell names that I can hardly recognize when spoken, or spoken with a thick accent. I am fairly used to the Scottish accent, but throw into the mix someone from Ireland or England and it's even more challenging! I did find some mild comfort in the fact that one of my Scottish co-workers was bemoaning the fact that we were about to get a bunch of English callers. She doesn't understand their accents too well either! :) Plus, we aren't as used to place names in England or Ireland...and I'm still learning Scottish ones.

So in my attempt to repeat back to the poor students (who have gotten stuck with an semi-dyslexic American taking their call) to verify I have taken down the information correctly, I started saying things like "A" as in "apple." I know there is an official code for this, Alpha, bravo, charlie, etc, but I rarely can remember what they are in my desperate attempt to understand someone. Besides, those are official. It seems in America there are the lay-person ones, like "F" as in "Frank." So, I was using those. It was often meet with silence on the other end, like they were trying to process what I was saying. Not exactly clarifying the situation! It was later as I kept getting "F" as in "Friday" or "s" as in "sugar" that I concluded the lay-people here must have their own code that differs from American-lay code. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think I'm on to something here. They don't seem to have so many Frank's around...maybe that's why they go with Friday instead?


Andy said...

brolly - for umbrella - but can't tell you how that got twisted...

Mark and Rachel said...

Thanks for that official word :) I love learning all the new lingo!

Allison said...

I love these! I totally know what you mean about the phone numbers, just read them one-by-one, none of this double trebble stuff!

From what I have learned, 'back of 10' means a bit after 10...so about 10:15.

Mark and Rachel said...

Well, if that is what "back of" means, it doesn't make sense! That should be "forward of."

Also, forgot to share one of my favorite words I've learned at work "knackered"=extremely exhausted. What a fun word!! I will take that back to the States with me :)

Anonymous said...

Today I had a guy with a mobile number with 4 or 5 double numbers in a row! I actually kinda liked that.

I also had the same experience as you after saying "a as in apple, s as in sam" etc. They paused and then repeated it back to me using different words. Ha! Who knew it would be different over here.