Saturday, 20 September 2003

- Nae bad

A local pub, anywhere in Scotland:

- ...aye...
- ....Och aye.

"Aye". Scots use aye instead of yes in more familiar situations. It has become standard and its use is accepted nowadays.

Scots will rarely express delight or give praise as easy and often as Americans or English. Thus, the expression "nae bad" ("not bad") is used constantly to express that something is OK, good or good enough not to complain about it. (More about complaining later...)

Another pub:
- How's it goin'?
- Nae bad... and yerself?
- Nae bad, nae bad...
- aye?
- Och aye aye...

The expressions "aye" or "nae bad", despite its shortness, can hide multiple -sometimes contradictory- meanings, many more than are apparent to the outsider.

Finally is very important to "get on". For example, your friend asks about your new job:
- How are ye gettin' on?
- Nae bad, nae bad...
- Enjoying it so far?
- Och aye.

It is very important "to get on", which means to gel with the rest of the population, to mix in without trouble. Thus, complaining in public about something is often seen as "attention-seeking" behaviour and therefore such people are labeled as egocentric and self-important. This leads to the wonderful expression of "making a stooshie", sometimes referred to someone who makes an issue of something to the annoyment of members of the public.

Restraint in giving praise to someone is better summarised with the phrase "Ah kent his faither", which means "I knew his father". This is the ultimate put-down, meaning that no-matter how well a person has done in life that he/she will always be his/her dad's son/daughter. This expression is widely used for Scots who have gained recognition and wealth outside Scotland as a way to keep them with their feet on the ground.

No comments: