Friday, 30 September 2011

Picters In Yer Heid

A mind a puckle year syne takin pairt in a Radio Scotland braidcast aboot the Scots language. Yin o the ithers takin pairt threapit mair or less that oo war aw wastin oor times ettlin tae speak Scots cause maist o us aw thocht juist in English onywey. A taen him up on that pynt for A thocht at the time that A wis thinkin in Scots. A haed been speakin in Scots an A kent fine that A didnae think up a sentence in English first then owerset it intae Scots. It juist disnae work that wey.
The diffrence atween Scots an English isnae juist the diffrent soond o the words that's yaised. Ther diffrences in the gremmar, sentence structure an idiom an aw. A guid exemplar micht be the "Singularity o certain Scots plural verbs". English aye yaises plural verbs wi plural nouns an plural pronouns. Scots aye yaises singular verbs wi baith singular an plural nouns an juist chynges ower tae a plural verb whan it's cleekit tae a plural pronoun. Sae, ye can get the likes o, "The dugs is rinnin doon the street" or "They are rinnin doon the street".
Onywey, noo-a-days A'm no shair if oo think in languages at aw. A mind a while back ma youngest dauchter haed been bidin in Germany for a while an haed gotten engaged tae a German polisman. The neist time ma wife an masel wis ower for a veisit, oo got introduced tae oor dauchter's future Guid-Faither an Guid-Mither an efter a blether in thair hoose, they taen us a lang daunder alangside a canal an oot intae the kintrae side. This turnt oot tae be nae sma daunder but lestit for aboot three oors. Ma wife wis walkin alangside the mither an masel alangside the faither.
A haed aye taen an intrest in the German language syne the days o the War whan A yaised tae get a job on the scuil holidays warkin on the local ferm alangside some German POWs. A mind yin day A wis warkin wi yin cried Heinz an oo war baith liftin boxes o lettuce aff the conveyor belt efter they hid cam oot o the washer machine. Oo hid tae coont aw the boxes as oo steckit thaim up in a corner an it wisnae that lang afore oo war baith coontin thaim in German. Thon wis whit stertit me aff lairnin masel the leid.
The POWs wisnae allooed aff the ferm an yin day juist afore denner time, Heinz haundit me a twa-bob bit an speirt if A wad get him ten Woodbine whan A gaed hame for ma denner. A telt ma mither as A wis haein ma denner an she got anither twa-bob bit oot her purse an said, "Puir Sowel. Get him twinty."
Whan A gied the twinty Woodbines tae Heinz he luikit fair bumbazed an said that he haed only gied me twa bob.
"Von meine Mutter." wis yin o ma first real yuisses o the leid an A wis fair awa wi masel.
Onywey, wi ma dauchter's waddin comin up, A thocht A'd be best tae tak an O Level coorse in German at the nicht scuil. Sae, as A wis walkin wi ma dauchter's Guid Faither tae be, it turnt oot that he cuidnae speak a word o English sae oo juist spake for three hale oors in German. The thing is it cuid only hiv been in German wi him no speakin ony English an, tho A can mind maist o the things oo haed been bletherin aboot, A cannae mind whit language maist o the words wis spoken in. Ye see, whan ye think back on a crack that ye've haed, ye dinnae see the words spelt oot in the language that wis yaised, nor dae ye hear the words spoken in yer lugs. Aw that ye mind is the picters that thae words haes pitten intae yer heid. Picters that can be owerset intae ony leid that ye're acquent wi.
Sae A doot A maun hiv been hauf richt durin thon Radio Scotland braidcast. A hidnae been thinkin in English richt eneuch nor haed A been thinkin in ony leid. A haed been thinkin in picter like thochts that kythed in ma heid an A haed owerset thae picters direck intae Scots words. Aiblins, wi a monoglot English speakin body that disnae speak ony ither leid, A cuid unnerstaun thaim thinkin they war thinkin in English cause aw the picter thochts in thair heids wis aye bein owerset intae English an nivver intae ony ither leid. Howanever, wi bi-lingual or multilingual fowk, thae picters can be owerset intae ony nummer o leids. Sae the quaisten noo is, whan oo think aboot onythin, are thae thochts comin intae oor heids as words o yin, twa or ony nummer o leids or are oor thochts juist comin intae oor heids as picters for us tae owerset intae whitever leid oo're yaisin at the time? 
Bob Fairnie.