Monday, April 27, 2009

Greeting Copiously

As I have mentioned before, I have been enjoying Alexander McCall Smith's book series, 44 Scotland Street, with great gusto.

Part of what delights me so is the language. I keep running into terms I've never heard, and wish that I could hear them spoken in the Edinburgh accent used by the characters in the books. Imagine a father coming home from work to find his brilliant son, Bertie, sitting on the end of his bed and "greeting copiously" because he has been denied the pleasure of attending the 7th birthday party given for his schoolmate, Tofu (a child of vegans, thus the wonderful name).

Greeting=wailing, crying, lamenting

More terms:

Impoverished people are seen to be "skirled about in poverty"

A group of people buy tickets for a "tombola" (a raffle)

A literary figure is referred to as "one of our great makars" (poets)

A fellow gets involved in a "terrible stramash with the boys" (disturbance, fight)

A "bereft wally dug is deprived of its mirror image" (wally dugs--who knew?--are matching pairs of china dogs, often displayed on a mantel)

A wedding reception was planned to take place at the Crieff Hydro. All I could picture was a wedding party, bride and all, scampering across the top of a dam that was part of a hydroelectric project. However, I found that Crieff Hydro is a family hotel and spa, a regular leisure resort featuring swimming pools and other water activities, as well as restaurants and rooms that are available for wedding receptions.

I was curious about a statement that included the phrase: "I knew a fiscal who spent his time prosecuting cases..." I have since found that a "procurator-fiscal" in Scotland is the same as a "crown attorney" in Canada and a "district attorney" in America.

And, last but certainly not least, I came across this seemingly simple-to-translate statement: " the sheep dip up at the high fank..." When I threw myself at the mercy of our home Interwebs Machine, searching for an image of a fank, it returned a rather frightening photo of a lady wearing green nail polish and a pert but very bare bum. Certain that I was on the wrong page (had spell check changed "fank" to "spank?") I tried again and found that the good folks at Google were suggesting that perhaps I meant "what is a bank?"--a question that becomes harder and harder to answer in these days of fiscal chaos.

No! I insisted that I wanted someone out there in Internet Land to answer my query about fanks with no more nonsense. What I found needs to be posted tomorrow.


the7msn said...

I've been reading a new book for the past week and every time I pick it up, I think of you because I think you'll enjoy it. It's called The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig. I checked your "books I have read" link and it wasn't there - but I found a whole slew of new ones I want to read in the process!

clairz said...

Thank you, Linda, I'm adding it to my list of books to read right now. Isn't this fun? It's like our very own New Mexico (and Washington, and Tennessee, and North Carolina) book discussion group, but way better than the enforced book discussions when I was an English major. Those just about spoiled reading for me, way back then.