Wednesday, August 22, 2007

With a Scottish Burr

I recently mentioned that I'd gotten interested in a project which included Scottish poetry. I found a trio of poems written phonetically, as spoken, rather than in just English. They're wonderful for hearing how the words are spoken....but confusing if you can't translate them all! Quick...what's a bairnie?

This morning I received a five minute vacation from my desk, all the way to Scotland. One of our Line Dancing seniors is from Scotland and when word got out I wanted a "translator", she came in this morning and said, "Where are these poems which are giving you difficulty?" Just to hear that Scottish burr in person was enough to make me smile all day.

The world is an interesting place. Jean thought people didn't like to hear her speak because they had a difficult time understanding her. I have always been fascinated by dialects and can usually understand almost anyone. When I told Jean her words were beautiful, like music to my ears, she beamed in the most awestruck way.

I don't know who had more fun, my translator or I. She'd let me guess what a word meant, then tell me how close I was. It was funny occasionally because SHE'D get stuck, saying it was difficult for her to read words spelled the way she was use to hearing. It got funnier because I could figure out those very words. When she asked how, I told her it was from hearing her speak that lilting dialect. I also had a "cheat sheet" I'd just found online, which I shared with her. Her face lit up like a kid at Christmas...all because I found her native tongue so fascinating.

Because the poems were long, we only got through one before the Line Dance Teacher came to drag her out of the room and I had to go a Staff Meeting. Jean promised to help me later and was actually thrilled when I gave her the poems, since I have copies. She said her sister is coming very soon from Scotland and would probably find the poems interesting.

Until then, guess I'll have fun reading them out loud to try and hear the nuances. There's actually a funny one about the Bowgie Man...which little American kids believes lives in the closet if not under the bed.

As for the bairnie. That's the physical by-product of the love between your Mither and your which you has to be fed and changed and burped and sung lullabies to.....

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

okay, here's my guess...bairnie means baby. I say that because in the Irish brogue a bairne is a baby or small child.