Word Nerd Confessions: October
I might have mentioned it before that my heritage harkens back to the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Since that discovery I have grown more aware of all that is Scottish. This month I favor words that have Scottish roots. I might have to dedicate a post to famous Scots. I do enjoy listening to David Tennant and his broguish wit.
grumphie: a pig
sennachie: a storyteller
blellum: an indiscreet talker
shavie: a trick or a prank
I’ve come across other Scottish words in my readings of authors such as D.E. Stevenson and Allan MacKinnon that leave me puzzled to the point of setting my book down and searching out its meaning.
One of the words that stumped me was “ken.” Sentences like, “I ken your meaning,” really threw me. Context sleuthing pointed me towards understanding, but I finally looked it up and got this from dictionary. com:
verb (used with object), kenned or kent, ken·ning.
- to know, have knowledge of or about, or be acquainted with (a person or thing).
- to understand or perceive (an idea or situation).
Scots Law. to acknowledge as heir; recognize by a judicial act.Archaic. to see; descry; recognize.
To “ken” something means to have a deeper understanding that just a mere acknowledgement. It’s one of those words that doesn’t translate well out of its cultural context–I ken that some words do better in their home language.
What Scottish words have you come across? Better yet, which of the above is one you are adopting? I’m leaning towards grumphie, as I do enjoy Guinea pigs. Then again, tossing out hooly at the right instance could be satisfying.