Ma dochter's coaties. They're yirdit - fit's she bin daein? Plowterin throu dubs, nae doot. Quines is jist as fool an orra as loons. Ma mither's mither wid hae gied her a pymin, but we arna sae coorse the day.
My daughter's gymshoes/plimsolls (or at a pinch, Converse). They're filthy - what's she been doing? Doubtless walking through mud. Girls are just as dirty and messy as boys. My grandmother would have given her a spanking, but we're not so ill-disposed these days.
In giving you this little taste of Scots I have to say first of all that my grandmother would have done no such thing. My mother often told me how she and her brothers were threatened with a 'pymin' for sitting on the upturned keels of boats in summer, and getting their clothes covered in melting tar, but that the threat was never carried through.
I also realise how local my variant of Scots must be. I couldn't find 'coaties', 'yirdit' or 'pymin' in my Concise Scots Dictionary. They may be outwith its concise scope. But just to highlight two words of Scandinavian origin: the modern Swedish for 'earth' is 'jord', and 'yird' in Scots means 'earth'. But its extension into 'yirdit' for 'dirty' is perhaps local to North East Scots. And 'quine' has a modern Scandinavian equivalent in 'kvinne', 'woman'.
'Dubs' is an interesting one. I've written elsewhere about 'glaur'. But dubs is a different sort of mud. Drier, forming into clumps. The sort of mud that drops off tractor wheels and leaves a trail behind on the road. My father knows a farmer who considerately puts out a warning sign to alert drivers that they are about to encounter 'Dubs on Road'. Perhaps we're like the Inuit, and have a rich vocabulary for mud.
This post was sparked off by the questions about Scots in our current census. I only discovered after the event that there is a website to help people decide how to answer the relevant census questions. My father sent me the local community newsletter, which contained this article:
"Included in the census this time is a question about Scots dialect. To may in this 'airt', that means Doric, but Scots dialects are many and varied over the country. You are asked if you understand and speak dialect. Now many folk of a certain age group remember full well being told to 'speak properly' (ie English) at school and at work, but as home, playground and leisure, the local tongue was widespread. Forget about 'speaking proper' and answer the question!
For everyone, there is a website to help www.ayecan.com, and for those unsure about computers, there is bound to be someone who can show you, so just 'speir'. "
'Speir', meaning 'ask', has a modern Scandinavian equivalent in 'spoerre', 'to ask'. I can't import the proper slash through the 'o' of spoerre without the html doing strange things, so have to give an anglicised spelling here.
I was going to go on to give an elegant summary of Scots as a language of Germanic origin, and Gaelic as being of Celtic origin. But ah'm fooner't, (I've run out of steam), so I suggest you look at the Aye Can website, and perhaps click on the map to hear variants of Scots. Having listened to all the clips I would say they're fairly mild renditions of Scots, and don't give the full flavour of a Shetlander or an Aberdonian in full flow. But you can get an idea of how rich and varied Scots is, and perhaps why I felt it was important to tick all those boxes on the census form.