I think it's time I had a little boast about my language skills. You may not be aware that I'm really rather a multi-lingual Westie. Let me explain how.
Being born on a farm near Fraserburgh, my mother tongue is of course Doric. It's all I heard for the first three years of my life, before I came down to the big city to be adopted by Gail. Now Gail as you have probably by now worked out, may live in Aberdeen but she is in fact English. Yes, we're a mixed race household! At first, her accent sounded rather snobby and affected to my Scottish ears, but I'm used to it now. Doric isn't much used amongst Gail's social circle; the only time I hear it these days is when old folk stop in the street and ask "fit age is he?" and tell me I'm "affa bonny".
Gail's friend Marse speaks the American form of the English language. Marse can be quite strict. What I would call being engaged on important tree-sniffing business, she tends to define as "lollygagging around".
When Gail goes on holiday, I'm looked after by Jacques, a lovely, kind Frenchman who lives next door but one. Jacques doesn't take me for "walkies", rather we go for a "mena, mena!" that's short for promenade, which is my favourite French word. Well equal favourite with camembert.
Ever since I've known her, Gail has been attempting, with limited success, to learn German. Of the two of us, I suspect I may be the better linguist. Most Tuesday nights we both go round to her teacher Margaret's house and for a hour and half, and she and a couple of other nice ladies grapple with their datives, word order and adjectival endings before reverting to English when they've got something really interesting to say. If I sit there quietly all through the lesson, at the end I get patted on the head and someone says that "er hat sich heute Abend sehr gut benommen".*
I do mostly try to behave myself round at Margaret's, to make sure I keep getting invited. I don't get many other chances to roam so freely in a house where food security is so lax. Oh, many's the delicious treat I've helped myself to at Springfield Road. Chocolate, biscuits, cake, bones in the rubbish bin, you name it, I've found it!
* I do hope I got this all correct. I'm sure Margaret will post a comment if not.
PS. We dogs hit the BBC news this morning. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7541633.stm . And next time you yawn, observe your dog/owner carefully.......
Miscellaneous Thoughts, by Jane Airedale.....
2 months ago