The alternative title to this Tea Towel Blog is ‘A Comprehensive Guide for Making Conversation in The North East of Scotland’. Doric is the dialect of Aberdeen. If you are in Aberdeen, there are phrases that people use where you think “What on earth did that mean?” It’s a very strong dialect, and accent. When I visit jean, I am always surprised that she rarely uses ‘the Doric’ and with her accent you can understand everything she says. Having recently listened to a recording of Aberdeen Football Club (fans and players), singing ‘Here We Go’ you can hear the unique phraseology, and distinct accent, come through in the singing,
I love a good dialect tea towel; it’s a terrific reminder, while wiping up, of all the memories associated with an area, in this case Aberdeen. This, however, is going to be a tricky Tea Towel Blog to write because ‘spell check’ does not understand, or even recognise, Doric as a dialect. Therefore every time I try to type in some Doric it will change it to the nearest word that it knows. ‘Div’ always turns into ‘dive’, ‘ata’ becomes ‘ataxia’ and ‘haud’ becomes ‘hard’. Apologies if there are any uncorrected mistakes. It’s important not to be frightened by dialect. The key is to read the words, literally, say them fast, as you see them, and listen to what it sounds like. You can then have a good stab at the meaning; however, it may not always be accurate. “Fit ye speckin aboot?”. Say it quickly and loudly: ‘speckin’ = ‘talking’ or ‘speaking’ and ‘aboot’ is ‘about’. It then can be translated as “What are you talking about?”. “Foo’s yer doos?” is trickier: “how are you?”. I’m not sure that I would have got “Like snaa aff a dyke”: “They disappeared very quickly”. That’s what’s so good about this tea towel, a whole series of phrases that you can practice (and have translated) with the aid of a tea towel.
In October 2017, Hamish came with Liz and I, to stay for a week in the Aberdeen Lighthouse Cottage, Girdleness. He wanted to meet with his Great Great Aunt who he had last seen when he was about 2 years old; he wanted to explore where his Great Grandfather grew up, played on the beach, watched salmon leaping up the Falls of Feugh, ate cake in the Inversneckie Cafe. He did that and much more. His Grandma took many photos in that week of glorious weather and has put together a ‘Slide Show’, with music, for his birthday, to remind Hamish of that week. The music is probably something that you would not expect to be on the playlist for a 9 year old boy: “Donald Where’s Your Troosers?” and “Aberdeen” by Andy Stewart, “Scotland the Brave” and “The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen” by Kenneth McKellar and starting off with Aberdeen Football Club singing “Here we go”. Hamish was always a football fan but there are probably few children in Birmingham who claim to be fans of The Dons. This is where the links between culture, heritage, family, roots all come into play with language, with dialect. Sometimes understanding the expressions, the roots of words can help explain your history and an introduction to this will always be on a tea towel!
I bought this tea towel in a wonderful China Shop in Banchory, near Aberdeen, last Christmas. I try and go there each time I’m in Aberdeen. I haven’t seen tea towels in that shop before so I bought two: this one and a ‘Celebration of Scottish Mythology’. They were so good I couldn’t decide between the two. They are about history and culture in a jovial way so it seemed appropriate to blog about ‘The Doric’ on Hamish’s birthday, as another reminder of his roots.
Happy Birthday Hamish. I hope you enjoy the slide show and remember all the times you spent on the beach. And now “Ach, just haud yer wisht “!