Sunday, November 15, 2009

Getting Into My Head

When I was in high school, I had a habit of sitting on my bed to do homework. Hey, my handwriting never was that great anyway so using my lap and a book for a desk might've actually helped out the penmanship. I would sit there, moving from subject to subject without a break, as if my brain might forget what it had learned mere hours before. Always started with Math, [because I truly hated it!] and ended with my beloved English assignments.

My favorite English teacher always gave us two grades: one for grammatical correctness and the other for content. Given my overactive imagination, the "content" grade was usually an A. Most of the time so was the "grammatical" portion, unless I'd used a run-on sentence or slipped in an extra comma. So I was surprised one day to find A-/A with the comment, "What were you thinking?"

Hmmm, he didn't usually make such... well...abrupt comments. So I went in search of the dreaded red ink which indicated the error of my ways. Smack in the middle of my essay was a "y", circled in red. I read the sentence, then burst out laughing. I'd been doing my Spanish homework prior to the essay and had used the Spanish "y" in place of my English "and" in the middle of a sentence. If nothing else, the man was fair. So I did stop by his desk on the way out of class the next day to confess. He asked for my paper, removed the "-", then burst out laughing. Confession is not only good for the soul, it's good for the grades.

The other day I was speaking to someone and realized I used the word "wee". The only person I've ever heard say that at work is one of the British Wives Club members...a woman from Scotland. She is floored by the fact that I love to hear her speak as she says hardly anyone in her "American family" can understand her. I'm guilty of making up questions to ask her, just to hear her talk. I didn't think any more about it until I was typing the other day and "wee" slipped in again. In the space of a week "lovely", "brilliant!" and "ta" had appeared. Often out of my mouth. When it was cold and misty, an awful sort of day last week, I heard myself whisper, "Dreich", while the head nodded in agreement. The day I began to type "But I cannae...", my old English teacher's face appeared before me. [He was sweet, but he looked like Ichabod Crane].

I was doing it again.

Hi, my name is hope. [Hi hope!] I am addicted...

... to dialects. My brain is wired to steal words I love from different languages. If I continue the confession truthfully, it will include the fact I actually HEAR the words in the dialect to whom they belong. And when no one is around to witness this behavior, I've been known to actually pronounce these words not of my homeland OUT LOUD. In their proper dialect.

Then again, I probably have Shug to thank for that. The moment I confessed my weakness for such words, he began slipping them into his replies to my blog. Made me reach for a dictionary...and LIKE IT. Then he shared a couple of his poems which, read aloud, are most wonderful for the addicted like myself. His "The Spider's Legend of Robert the Bruce" is like crack for the ears. Not to be mistaken for craic...oh man, stop me! If this keeps up, I'll have to be especially vigilant when I visit Jimmy B. .

I would, however, like to publicly thank my sponsor, Susan, who helps me with definitions I cannae find.

I will now go read your blogs to get my fix...um, learn what y'all are doing today. Please bear with me as my new addiction makes its way to your blogs: xxx

Take that Map! And a hug from me as well.

14 comments:

steven said...

hello hope, i love words (and not just because i'm a teacher) but because they allow me to say things with more care. when i was a younger version of myself i was a very bad kid. one of my consequences was to read a dictionary. my dad would start me with a word - polysyllabic and beyond my knowing and tell me to look it up. then i had to find a synonym and look it up and so on. the trail would draw me through the dictionary and amazingly my consequence would end and i would know more words. really know them! i get teased by my colleagues for my use of big words and i've really worked on it because it does make one sound special but they're often so beautiful and have such amazing stories in themselves it seems a shame. enjoy your journey!!!! steven

savannah said...

i know it will be a good visit whenever i drop by, sugar. it's like sittin on the porch in a charleston rocker! ;~D xoxoxo

Jimmy Bastard said...

I cannae understand a smidgen of whit it was that you said hen. Maybe my swally was too strang, or too wee... it disnae matter, because it's gone oot the oul windae and a feeling of peelywally has come about me once more over all the stramash.

Reet?

Susan at Stony River said...

Ha! I did English (favourite) first and maths last (hated it, still do).

I do love languages and dialects, and if I had it all to do over again, my degree would probably be something in that. Quilly said there's a bible translation in Hawaiian which stars 'Boss Jesus' and man, I gotta get me one of those LOL.

This summer we confused quite a few new friends (from the looks on their faces) by using "ye" instead of you, and yes "wee" which doesn't only mean little, it means....well lots of things LOL and also "craic". We got questions repeated to us a lot, even after we'd answered!

I *love* Steven's parents, and that dictionary trek sounds like a great thing. I think we'll try it too!

Janie B said...

I thought that was a natural thing to do since I do it too. Especially Irish brogue. I love the lilt of the Irish voice. Scottish, too. Beautiful musical sounds.

Radge said...

Irish word of the day.

Seafoide!

(Pronounced 'sha-foid-yeh')

It means nonsense. Use it well.

Titus said...

I'm still taken aback when Luke uses "wee" for little, as I sort of forget he's actually a Scottish boy going to a Scottish school. I do despair of the tendency to use "How?" for "Why?" up here, however. And I don't like "jag" for injection.
Since being in Scotland I "aye" a lot for yes, and have adopted "outwith" and "stramash" as they are bloody good words we don't have in England.

Some good Essex words:

"wooden'ed" - much favoured by my father, means exactly what it says on the tin - an idiot.

"dannies " - your hands. No one else in the whole world appears to know this one.

"the filth" - the police. Bit rude, that one.

Brilliant post, I could go on all night with this but run the risk of boring everybody!

hope said...

steven, my Mom's favorite phrase was "Go look it up." It's a habit I never broke. :)

savannah, you're the only one I don't need to translate because you're my neighbor. :)

Ah Jimmy, I'm surprised anyone beat you here. I did fairly well...but there are two words I need to go look up in your lilting comments. ;)

Susan, after Jimmy's comments I may need a translator again. :) There's also a Bible in Gullah, which is a combination of languages used in slavery days and still spoke in parts of Charleston.
If I can find that link again I'll send it...you'd get a kick out of it, seeing you like words and all.

Janie B. I so agree! I took Spanish in high school because it sounded musical and French sounded snooty. [Sorry France]. But with Irish and perhaps Scottish in the old family tree, these intrigue me all the more.

Thanks Radge. Watch out or I'll make you my "Irish Word a Day" resource. ;)

Titus what fun! And yes, I do use "aye" myself from time to time. I just love words and the sounds they can make. My Mom hates "s#*t" because her Mom used it and it embarrassed her. And yet I accidentally huffed, "Shite!" one day and she didn't even lift her head. ;)

mapstew said...

How Now Brown Cow?
The Rain In Spain Falls Mainly DOWN!

Feck sake sham!
xxx

debra said...

My mother-in-law was an English war bride. I have learned and integrated many of her expressions into my vocabulary, so when I'm not feeling quite well, I am feeling "wee waw"
My youngest daughter calls me Mum and likes ba-nah-nah-s and tomah-toes.

Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

A Wee Bonnie Post Hope, I don't think I can compete with Jimmy, or if you prefer Haimish/Hamish (Scots for James)

hope said...

SUSAN!!!!! Jimmy and Map are making my brain hurt on this early November morn.

Map, you know you guys are going to make me put a certain type of dictionary on my Christmas list, right? Ah well, as long as "xxx" appears I'll know you're not mad at me. As for the "rain in Spain", I thought it was falling in Ireland? :)

debra, the "British Wives Club" which I speak of is made up of English war brides who married American servicemen. Hubby says he knows when they've been in the building because I'll suddenly spout "brilliant!". :)

Bill, some days mentally breaking away to another place is a pleasure. And honestly, I think I'd be afeared of calling Jimmy "Hamish". ;) Hope all's going well with you.

Dan. said...

I'm fluent in jive?

Will that help at all hope?

hope said...

Dan: as I would suspect a King Geek with Crown would be. :) You'll be the first I turn to for help in that area.