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The new Say it in Scots series

Say it in Scots is a brand new series of pocket books written by our staff and published by Black and White Publishing. The books are light-hearted in tone but full of interesting facts and fascinating quotations from the Middle Ages to the present day about the Scots, their country and their language. They will appeal to native Scots speakers, and offer visitors to Scotland the chance to learn about the richness of our language. We are delighted to announce the launch of the first four titles: Scottish Placenames, Scottish Weather, Wha's Like Us? and Scottish Wildlife.

Wha's Like Us? by Chris Robinson

Wha's Like Us? cover, click for more details
The people of Scotland have a reputation for being many things – honest, dour, courageous, argumentative and sometimes even mean. Very often, these characteristics are opposite sides of the same coin. Whether the Scots character is influenced by the beauty and hardship of the countryside, work, culture, folklore or the many incomers who have found a welcome over the centuries, one major influence on the way Scots see themselves is their language. How we describe ourselves is part of who we are. Here are some examples:

Hochmagandy This is defined in the Dictionary of the Scots Language as 'fornication', but hochmagandy sounds like a lot more entertaining. John Lauderdale says in a 1796 poem: Be not sair on hough-magandie, As it’s a fit o' friendly passion, And vera muckle now in fashion. But not everyone is so broadminded and so Robert Tannahill writes in 1805: The priest convenes his scandal court, Tae ken what houghmagandie sport Has been gaun on within the parish, no doubt with some kind of punishment in mind (see DSL: Cutty-stool, Trilapse).

Lumber The Edinburgh Evening News (2 April 1999) provides a well-glossed illustration: When males spot a "wee stoater" (good-looking young woman) in the bar, they might be inclined to try their "patter" (witty chat) on her. Impress her, and they might get a "lumber" (pick-up). If bars are not your thing, you could try the more cultured option suggested by Anna Blair in More Tea at Miss Cranston’s (1991): the Art Galleries was a great place for girls and fellas walkin’, see if y’could get off. . .gettin’ a "lumber" or . . .gettin’ a "click" some of them used to call it.

The Say It In Scots series is available from Amazon.co.uk. Please contact us if you have any queries.

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