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Speaking Doric or is it just Slang?

Doric is the slang language spoken in Aberdeen by the natives who grew up here.  I call it slang as that’s what it was called the whole time I grew up.  It certainly wasn’t mentioned as speaking Doric.  Nobody bothered to tell me that it has a fancy name and is called the “Doric” back then.  All I remember are teachers and parents doing their best to stop us “spikkin” slang.

The t’s tend not to often not be sounded in the middle of a word and mostly have a harsh glottal stop on them.  (Buh er) instead of butter.  (Waah er) for Water.

It was a bit of a revelation to me to have the modern view that “intellectuals” think we need to preserve this way of speaking when I spent the first thirty years of my life being ashamed of saying the most slight Doricy pronunciation.

Even now, I give my children into trouble for using slang *cough Doric.*  In the last few years, I’ve learned that I had to embrace the worst of the local language that existed in the homeland and try to give it a chance as a heritage from my home, no matter how it still makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

I’ve written Doric poems and sold a few of them too, so people must like them.

I’ve put the picture of the foghorn at the Bay of Nigg in Torry as I spotted it and it has fond memories for me of my youth, cycling, adventure and good friends.  I’ve heard it’s being sold, that’s a shame.

It does make this a slightly controversial post for me.  I like writing the poems and I like that people ask me for them, but I still find myself blushing with shame if I launch into a Doric sentence out and about.  That ingrained indoctrination as a child has stayed with my brain.

Here are a few classics.  Would you know them all?

“Fit like?” – how are you?
“Far ye gaun?” – where are you going?
“Foo auld r ye.”  – how old are you
“Loons an quines.” – boys and girls
” Haud yer wissht!” – shut up
“It’s a sair fecht for a half loaf.” – hard to make the money cover everything.
“Like a skint rubbit.”  – someone far too skinny.
“Ony mair o yer lip an ah’ll skelp yer backside.” – any more cheek and you’ll get a smacked rear end.
“Ye mak a better door than a windae.”  –  I can’t see past you.
“Ken fit a mean.”  – do you know what I mean?
“Gie it a birl.” –  give it a try, or a whirl.
“A bosie.” – a cuddle.
“Claik or crack.” – gossip
“Clype.”  – tell-tale, usually kids telling on other kids.  Kids can have reputations damaged with each other by being accused of one small word.



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“Snow” Christmas Doric Poem

Wi thon muckle flurries, ah watch oot ma windae
Yon white draps, wi wee crystals aboot em
An ah dream o yon year, fan ah wis a quine
A lass wi a bin liner, slidin doon nigg bay slopes

We’d nowt on oor hauns, and sookit feet
The caul nivver entered intae oor heids
Thinkin back now, ah canna believe it
Ah feel the caul, jist thinkin aboot it

Ah’m stannin back, an love far ah am
Ahin me, is a fire, glowin n burnin
An the morra winna stap me, ah’m gaun oot wi the bairns
Fir an efterneen o sledgin, trussed up lik a chook

Ah’ll hae ma gloves, an ma hat oan ma heid
An them leggins wi paddin, thit keep oot the weet
Dinna forget thon bitts, wi paddin an fleecin
As ah’ll skite doon at mound, laffin and jokin

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“Scrievin Maist Weel”

Wir scrievin mad, maist still tae dae
Wi fifti thoosan wirds tae fill
Ah’m a fifth doon sae far tae gang
Wi a heart gaun boom, its rare ye see

Fir efter at, mair wirk wi wirds
Tae move at draft an find a hoose
It’s scrievers month an wir writin in fury
Dinna gibber tae me till its a ower

Fir nanowrimo’s a lot tae say
An ah’m daein ma wirk fae morn till nicht
An ah’ll see ye richt soon, na worries fir me
Fir me tae meet at yon bell, sae muckle tae dae

Ah’m up an doon fir wirds tae mak
Wi’ll a mak fun o ane anither
But fan it maks a diffrince
Is fan wir heids r dirlin

Far else culd ye scrieve sae muckle mush
An mak a tale hough an hale
Fir a o us fa mak it tae at winnin bell
Ah’ll raise me dram tae wish ye weel

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“Supper Time”

Fars thon kids

Jist fit on earth did yon bairns get up tae the day
Tea’s on the table an nae a soul in sicht

Open at windae an bawl aff me heid
Here’s ane o em, na, mak it twa
And richt ower e hill, number three maks it as weel

It’s caul on e table an ah’ve a richt tae scold
Ah’m e mug thit made it

An jist as a’m done wi my tongue
At middle loon pats is belly
An seys yum yum

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“Muckle Ba”

It’s guid ah am, wi it’s fair fine pitch
Ah’ll mak it yet, so dinna say nay
Kickin n spinnin that great muckly ba
Ma heiders are fair
Tho ah need some mair flair

The oors ah spint, wir braw
Ah forgot me tea
Me maw’s een were red

An the day ah focht
For ma place in the team
Ahh sweet, sweet
Nae mair in a guddle

Ah didnae get in
But ah had me day
Ahh sweet, sweet
Nae fash, mair mair

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“Ma Bonnie Yellow Lab”

Yer bonnie n bricht wi yer licht glossy coat
Ye’ve nowt tae say fan ye’re in yer bed
Yer auld n sad when ye teet oot o yer paws
Them auld grey een, with now tae see nae mair

 The dogs o yer youth, are ower the hill, or gone
All braw pups, eence loupin n floppin
Spinnin in tae mud, an treadin thru water
Free wi the birds an chasin roon hares

Settin doon on the grun, like the twa auld wifies we are
We mind hoo we were, an grin frae afar
Ye’re nae ready tae go, an ah’m nae ready tae lose ye
We’ve mair tae share, an ye’ve still nae had yer fill

Oor dreams come tae mend us, an ye see thru yer heid
Wi shut een, ye see clear, an yer limbs stride the air
As yer een and yer nose twitch, yer ears lift up high
An a whisper o dinner, brings ye richt tae ma heel

Ah’ve loved ye sin the day ah bocht ye
An ah’ll niver forget just a that ye gave me
Withoot a doot, a heart sae grand
My bonnie yellow lab, wi a retrievers nose

Then ye’ll be in ma dreams
Till ma last day o sleep
An we’ll baith race tae that river
Eence mair tae the breen

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“A bit o a guddle”

Ah ran ragged aroon me hoose
Sortin an ironin fir hoors ye ken
Wi a teet at e clock, ah feart mesel
Twas time tae gang, an ah wisnae richt deen

At plane thit flees up ower me hoose
Wouldna wait fir us nae mair ye see
A pit oan me braw claes an dressed at bairns
An shoved e bags far me man could lug

We wir aff at day an ah couldna wait
Fir at sun on ma face, at bonny wye
We’d mak a new hame fir a wik or twa
An fun wid hae afore gaun hame

It wisna lang afore we saw
Wid hae to gang an spen a bob
Fir in at guddle ah got mesel
Ah forgot tae pack thae claes ye see