Scotland is proud of being different. Take a look at our history, our politics, our national dress, our food, or our music and you'll find we're a nation that delights in doing things our own way. But what sets us apart more than anything is the way we speak – not just our accent, but also the unusual words and expressions we use every day.
Some words are easy enough to understand. For example, any words ending in -n't are transformed into Scottish slang by changing the final letter to Y. So, couldn't, wouldn't and shouldn't become couldn'y, wouldn'y and shouldn'y. Similarly, words ending in -ow are moulded into Scottish by changing the last letter to O. So now becomes noo, cow becomes coo and brow becomes broo.
A similar pattern emerges with -gh words like fright, night and right, which become fricht, nicht and richt. But remember, if the -ch appears in the middle or at the end of a word, Scottish people pronounce it like the "J" in Spanish, a rough sound pushed out from the back of your throat - nothing like the ch- in chair or the ch- in choreograph.
Other words are more difficult to guess, like feart, meaning scared, braw, meaning really good, and bairn for child. We also commonly say aye instead of yes, wee instead of small, ken instead of know and uch instead of oh. Aye, it's getting a wee bit harder noo.
Then you've got words like caiket and mocket, both meaning dirty, and hacket, meaning ugly. One of my favourite and most-used pieces of slang is mingin' - a word with many uses, none of which are very complimentary. It can be used to describe poor weather, unpleasant food, a bad smell, a rude joke, a dirty hotel, someone who's had too much to drink...the list is endless!
Here are a few more common favourites:
Hoachin' = very busy
Hummin' = smelly
Muckle = very big
Gowpin' = very sore
Blether = to talk or gossip
Puggled = Breathless, tired out
Numptie = a fairly inoffensive name for someone who's being a bit silly.
Many of the words commonly used in modern Scotland are borrowed from Scots, a 600-year-old language of Germanic origin. But it's important to note that while some words can be heard all over the country, each region of our tiny nation has its own special way of speaking. And if you head to the north-east of the country, chances are you'll be more confused than ever!
Up there, locals speak something called Doric. Some say it's a dialect, others claim it's a language in it's own right, but one thing's for sure - it'll be unlike anything you've ever heard before.
The most common greeting in Aberdeen is Foos yer doos? And the literal translation is...how are your pigeons? The usual response to the question would be Peckin' awa', literally meaning, pecking away, but translating as fine, thanks! But be warned, in Aberdeen the word fine can mean okay, glorious, delicious or gorgeous, depending on the context and the intonation.
Head even further north and you'll start to see strange combinations of letters on the road signs and street names. This is Scottish Gaelic, the ancient language now spoken by around 60,000 people in the country. Very little Gaelic has made its way into general use, with one notable exception - and if you're only going to learn one phrase during your trip to Scotland, this should be it. Sláinte Mhor, pronounced slan-jay-voh, means Good Health, otherwise known as...Cheers!
Start planning your tour to Scotland!
By Emma on Wednesday, May 22, 2013 8:27 AM
Categories:UK, Tour Directors
This week's trivia question: The Matterhorn Mountain is on the border of what two countries?
Leave your answer below!
Click Here for the answer to last week's question:
What was China's first imperial dynasty?
By Julia on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 6:42 AM
Categories:Educational Travel Trivia
Get to know WorldStrides International Discovery Tour Director, Emma Christie who leads educational student tours in Europe, specifically Spain. Emma will guest blogging on the "The Educated Traveler," so stay tuned to hear more from her!
Where are you from originally?
Cumnock, a little town in the Ayrshire region of Scotland.
Where do you live now?
Carboneras, a little town in the Almeria region of Spain.
How long have you been a WorldStrides International Discovery programs Tour Director?
I have been a Tour Director with WorldStrides since 2003.
What’s your favorite thing about being a Tour Director?
The people. I love meeting teachers and students from all over the States. It's interesting to hear what each state is like, and I really enjoy sharing my love of travel and history with other people who are enthusiastic about the same things!
What languages do you speak?
English, Spanish, and I'm currently learning French.
What’s your favorite place you have ever been and why?
That's an incredibly difficult question, but one of my favourite places is Ometepe Island in Nicaragua. It's basically made from two huge volcanoes sitting side by side in the middle of a lake! The hiking was fantastic, and I saw monkeys every day for a month! The locals were extremely friendly, the local fish was super tasty, and the sunsets were magical. All in all, a wonderful place.
What do you do for fun when you aren’t leading students around Europe?
I like to do a lot of hiking in different parts of the world. For example, last year I spent two months living in the Pirin Mountains of Bulgaria and one month in the Picos de Europa mountain range in the Asturias region of Spain. I also love reading, playing guitar, and most of all, spending time with my nieces and nephews back in Scotland.
Do you have a favorite travel quote?
From Travels with my Donkey by Robert Louis Stevenson: “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move.”
Anything interesting you'd like to share about yourself?
I am a newspaper journalist by trade, but have spent the past three years writing crime novels. Not been published so far, but I am still hopeful!
By Julia on Monday, May 20, 2013 9:31 AM
Happy Friday, Educated Travelers! Check out the top tweets from @Educated_Travel and the rest of the Twitterverse this week:
- Where will you spend your summer vacation? The mountains vs the sea, leave your opinion on the blog.
- Fun geo tool for your class: GeoGuesser
- Meet our Neil's Spring Photo Contest winner: Julia B
- Experience London for music lovers
- Teach Through Educational Travel: Discover hidden treasures in Beijing's Forbidden City!
Get live tweets by following @Educated_Travel on Twitter!
See last week's top tweets here
Did you read or tweet something great this week? Share with your fellow Educated Travelers by leaving a comment below!
By Julia on Friday, May 17, 2013 8:03 AM
Beijing Forbidden City
History comes alive at the Forbidden City, in the center of Beijing, China. The Forbidden City (called Gu Gong, in Chinese) was the home of 24 emperors, and was the center of politics from the Ming Dynasty through the Qing Dynasty – about 500 years, ending in 1912 with the abdication of Puyi, the last Emperor of China. The Forbidden City took 16 years to build (1406-1420), and is an enormous symmetrical palace complex, consisting of 980 buildings and thousands of rooms. It was built from precious wood, marble, and golden bricks, by over a million workers and a thousand artisans, pressed into hard labor. It is now a World Heritage Site, and proclaimed by UNESCO to be the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.
In 1925, the Forbidden City began to be administered by the Palace Museum. The Palace Museum is currently carrying out a restoration project, which is expected to take 16 years. The Forbidden City is the best preserved imperial palace in China, and a true representation of traditional Chinese architecture. The Forbidden City is surrounded on three sides by Imperial Gardens, and on the fourth side, by Tiananmen Square. You can enter via Tiananmen Gate, the Gate of Heavenly Peace. You exit through the Gate of Divine Might.
Now, the Palace Museum has converted the inner palaces to exhibition halls, where a variety of Imperial art and artifacts are displayed. It is the largest tourist attraction in China.
Download a larger image and share the photo with your class, then try these discussion questions and classroom activities:
Look at the layout of the Forbidden City, and pay special attention to the Ancient Chinese theory of the five elements, and associated colors (about halfway down the page). When you know about the importance and use of colors, do you look at the photos of the Forbidden City differently? How?
Browse the curators’ picks at the Palace Museum website and pick two of your favorite items. Share why you chose them, and discuss the importance of art and design in Imperial China. My two favorites? These incredible blue glass perfume bottles and this cloud and dragon-embroidered armor. I love the colors, the intricate details, and try to imagine their use in Imperial Palace life.
During the Qing Dynasty, there was a cultural tradition called the Tea Reception, where the Emperor had tea with his subjects, and composed poems together. Read this article on the Tea Reception and then, in small groups, compose short poems based on something you’ve learned about the Forbidden City.
This lesson was contributed by Jessie Voigts, get to know her! Want more lesson ideas? See last week's Teach Through Educational Travel: Monet's Water Lilies - perfect for your next classroom activity.
We'd love to hear your ideas! If you've completed a similar classroom activity, tell us about it by leaving a comment below. You could be our next guest blogger!
By Jessie on Thursday, May 16, 2013 8:57 AM
Categories:Teach Through Educational Travel
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|Hi, I'm Julia! I am an art lovin', travel nut and my goal is to share my insights and discoveries with humor and enthusiasm on all of our social media avenues. On The Educated Traveler blog, the official blog of WorldStrides International Discovery programs, you’ll find all kinds of great information about travel and education, tips, news, classroom lesson ideas and more! Subscribe above!