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Dialect answers

Most of you got most of the answers right in Sunday's quiz, which may reflect my lack of imagination in inventing alternatives. I was sorry that nobody was atrracted by the option of someone "on the broo" being a bar-tender. Perhaps too good to be true.

Anyway, in order of decreasing difficulty, the answers were:

bake = mouth, as in the oft-heard phrase "shut your bake!" It is obviously derived from local pronunciation of "beak", which is why you might think it meant the nose, working from first principles. But the image conveyed is of someone screeching like a small bird, so it's the beak as source of sound rather than as a protuberance on the face that matters.

sheuch / sheugh (supposedly from the same root as "sough" as in "Sough of Despond") means a trench. Confusingly, a "ditch" in Ulster usually means a raised bank, rather than a trench, though "dyke" is also used, as in The Black Pig's Dyke. I was delighted that my alternative meanings of "horse" or "bread roll" found some favour here.

boke/boak is pretty onomatopoeic. I remember a schoolfriend, on being told by our teacher that a classmate had been sent home sick, asking with interest, "Did he boak, Miss?" He was reproved for asking a personal question but not for using incorrect language.

footering / futering does indeed mean wasting time. In Scotland it has more of a fidgeting connotation, which is sometimes has in Ireland also. Compare: David Trimble said: 'Sir Patrick is footering around" with Suzanne muttered something I couldnay hear, her haun footering with her silk scarf. There is an Irish verb "fuadar" which some see as a possible root, but since it means "hurry" and "footer" means the opposite, I would take some convincing.

In Ulster, a wain / wean / weean is a child, a wee 'un. Of course the word wain means "wagon" in standard English, but never in Ireland.

And almost everyone understood that someone who is on the bru / broo is claiming unemployment benefit from an office known at one time as the "bureau". Etymologies suggest "welfare bureau" specifically, but in fact the only entities I find in Northern Irish history with that official name are linked to political parties rather than the government. Of course, official names are not always the names that are used.

As she often does, shereenb had the best comment.



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2014 06:03 pm (UTC)
I did quite poorly, but then again, I was guessing and I'm not good at it :D
Jul. 1st, 2014 06:19 pm (UTC)
But there's no such thing as a Sough of Despond.
Jul. 1st, 2014 06:53 pm (UTC)
My dad, a Scot from Ayrshire, once spoke of "sliding down the hill on your behookey." I never heard anybody else say that. Can you or your commentariat offer any insight?
Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:32 pm (UTC)
Oh my (Jewish Glasgow) family says behookey! As with many of these things I wasnt sure if it was Scots/Glasgie or Yiddish - guess its the former then!
No you dont hear it so much these days...
Jul. 3rd, 2014 12:23 am (UTC)
I think it has fairly general Central Belt prevalence, but equally, as it happens I'm all-Ayrshire a mere two generations back, so that might be polluting my own sample space!

Most plausible-looking result of google-grade research is saying: "bahookie, n. Sc. colloq. [...]
[Apparently an alteration behind n. after hough n. and -y suffix.]"

(I'd favour a velarised pronounciation, myself, and a "-ch-" spelling to indicate this, but anyone's guess, really.)
Jul. 1st, 2014 07:30 pm (UTC)
Sheugh, wean and on the bru all have the same meaning in Scots. The latter two at least are still in common usage, to my knowledge. Can't say for certain about the others.
Jul. 1st, 2014 07:49 pm (UTC)
I use footering in my everyday speech. I'm a Lowland Scot who emigrated to the US and Australia 25 years ago.
Jul. 2nd, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
Sheugh and bake were the 2 which to me were not W Scottish.
Jul. 1st, 2014 09:28 pm (UTC)
My father was from Tyrone. I grew up with futering, pronounced more closely to futherin'.
Jul. 1st, 2014 09:32 pm (UTC)
Is footering related to foostering? I'm from Dublin and I would use foostering in speech to mean "fussing around in a time-wasting way" (though I don't think I've ever written it down before).
Jul. 3rd, 2014 12:02 am (UTC)
Two (southern) Irish people just mentioned foostering to me in this connection. which in turn called to my mind "foosty" (meaning mouldy or musty). But according to purported etymologies, the former is of Romance origin, the second from Irish, and the latter is from ME! Well, at least it's all proto-Indo-European...

The similarity with foo(s)tering makes me a little skeptical of these claims, or at least suspect some sort of assimilation between the two.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 03:21 pm (UTC)
That's interesting, because my Nan uses frewsty for that mouldy, musty smell.
Jul. 3rd, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
You have my google-grade research beat with that one. No Q-Celtic or Middle French etymologies leaping out at me there.

Best guess I can manage off the top would be might be an alteration of the aforementioned. Either via "easy come, easy go" rhotacisation, or perhaps a sort of portmanteau on the pattern of "foosty fruit"?
Jul. 3rd, 2014 12:34 am (UTC)
"Baik" was the one I answered I was least confident of, though my suspicion is that it's less of a false friend than a semantic split from the same root. (Following the general principle of insulting animalistic allusions to snouts, muzzles, beaks, etc.)
Jul. 3rd, 2014 09:45 pm (UTC)
Interesting, wain was used extensively in a play written by a Glaswegian to refer to children (in the 1920s).
Jul. 8th, 2014 03:20 pm (UTC)
Aw shucks. I think I (maybe) had a linguistic advantage over most of your readers, being Norn Iron born and bred. And not city-born, but from culchie country.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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