Picters In Yer Heid
Posted by Bob Fairnie
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A mind a puckle year syne takin pairt in a Radio Scotland
braidcast aboot the Scots language. Yin o the ithers takin pairt threapit mair
or less that oo war aw wastin oor times ettlin tae speak Scots cause maist o us
aw thocht juist in English onywey. A taen him up on that pynt for A thocht at
the time that A wis thinkin in Scots. A haed been speakin in Scots an A kent
fine that A didnae think up a sentence in English first then owerset it intae
Scots. It juist disnae work that wey.
The diffrence atween Scots an English isnae juist the
diffrent soond o the words that's yaised. Ther diffrences in the gremmar,
sentence structure an idiom an aw. A guid exemplar micht be the
"Singularity o certain Scots plural verbs". English aye yaises plural
verbs wi plural nouns an plural pronouns. Scots aye yaises singular verbs wi
baith singular an plural nouns an juist chynges ower tae a plural verb whan
it's cleekit tae a plural pronoun. Sae, ye can get the likes o, "The dugs is rinnin doon the street" or "They are rinnin doon
Onywey, noo-a-days A'm no shair if oo think in languages at
aw. A mind a while back ma youngest dauchter haed been bidin in Germany for a
while an haed gotten engaged tae a German polisman. The neist time ma wife an
masel wis ower for a veisit, oo got introduced tae oor dauchter's future
Guid-Faither an Guid-Mither an efter a blether in thair hoose, they taen us a
lang daunder alangside a canal an oot intae the kintrae side. This turnt oot
tae be nae sma daunder but lestit for aboot three oors. Ma wife wis walkin
alangside the mither an masel alangside the faither.
A haed aye taen an intrest in the German language syne the
days o the War whan A yaised tae get a job on the scuil holidays warkin on the
local ferm alangside some German POWs. A mind yin day A wis warkin wi yin cried
Heinz an oo war baith liftin boxes o lettuce aff the conveyor belt efter they
hid cam oot o the washer machine. Oo hid tae coont aw the boxes as oo steckit
thaim up in a corner an it wisnae that lang afore oo war baith coontin thaim in
German. Thon wis whit stertit me aff lairnin masel the leid.
The POWs wisnae allooed aff the ferm an yin day juist afore
denner time, Heinz haundit me a twa-bob bit an speirt if A wad get him ten
Woodbine whan A gaed hame for ma denner. A telt ma mither as A wis haein ma
denner an she got anither twa-bob bit oot her purse an said, "Puir Sowel.
Get him twinty."
Whan A gied the twinty Woodbines tae Heinz he luikit fair
bumbazed an said that he haed only gied me twa bob.
"Von meine Mutter." wis yin o ma first real
yuisses o the leid an A wis fair awa wi masel.
Onywey, wi ma dauchter's waddin comin up, A thocht A'd be
best tae tak an O Level coorse in German at the nicht scuil. Sae, as A wis
walkin wi ma dauchter's Guid Faither tae be, it turnt oot that he cuidnae speak
a word o English sae oo juist spake for three hale oors in German. The thing is
it cuid only hiv been in German wi him no speakin ony English an, tho A can
mind maist o the things oo haed been bletherin aboot, A cannae mind whit
language maist o the words wis spoken in. Ye see, whan ye think back on a crack
that ye've haed, ye dinnae see the words spelt oot in the language that wis
yaised, nor dae ye hear the words spoken in yer lugs. Aw that ye mind is the
picters that thae words haes pitten intae yer heid. Picters that can be owerset
intae ony leid that ye're acquent wi.
Sae A doot A maun hiv been hauf richt durin thon Radio
Scotland braidcast. A hidnae been thinkin in English richt eneuch nor haed A
been thinkin in ony leid. A haed been thinkin in picter like thochts that
kythed in ma heid an A haed owerset thae picters direck intae Scots words.
Aiblins, wi a monoglot English speakin body that disnae speak ony ither leid, A
cuid unnerstaun thaim thinkin they war thinkin in English cause aw the picter thochts
in thair heids wis aye bein owerset intae English an nivver intae ony ither
leid. Howanever, wi bi-lingual or multilingual fowk, thae picters can be
owerset intae a ony nummer o leids. Sae the quaisten noo is, whan oo think
aboot onythin, are thae thochts comin intae oor heids as words o yin, twa or
ony nummer o leids or are oor thochts juist comin intae oor heids as picters
for us tae owerset intae whitever leid oo're yaisin at the time?
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writers and commentators and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Scots Language Centre
Scots Language Resource Centre Association Ltd. t/a Scots Language Centre, A.K. Bell Library, York Place, Perth, Scotland PH2 8EP
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