Winnie-the-Kodiak (madam_silvertip) wrote in little_details,

Question on Scots usage

Hello all,

Today's question is: What would be the Scots equivalent for "gyp" as a word for pain, especially when you don't want to make too big a deal of it ("It's giving me a bit of gyp since the war")?

Would someone from Scotland born about 1916 say "gyp," especially if having spent some time in an English- rather than Scots-speaking context, or would there be some other word that would be just too indelible? Also, would "gyp" be just too English?

What I've observed about Scots speakers who switch to English is that there are some English colloquialisms they will use, and others they won't. It doesn't seem to follow any obvious rule but some words seem to be more neutral and others to identify you too much as English. In a context where Scots would be unacceptable, which is or used to be most venues for educated speech, they seem to use non-colloquial words rather than use English shibboleths (for instance you might not say "git," instead you'd say "bastirt"). But some words are perfectly OK to co-opt into Scots, or Scots-inflected English (not the same thing, though there isn't a clear demarcation): "bluidy," "airse," etc. It also makes a difference if the corresponding Scots term comes just too quickly to the tip of the tongue, as opposed to a little-used dialect term one would be likely to forget once out of the area. (For instance, in Maine where I'm from, we say "cunnin'" for cute, and it's something you hear often or used to, but it wouldn't occur to me outside of Maine.)

If timing and place are important, the person in question is from Moray, went to Manchester around age sixteen, served in the Korean War and was wounded (from whence the gyp) and would have been living in the U.S. from about the mid-sixties to the mid-eighties.

(I'm aware that "gyp" is pejorative due to the association with "Gypsies," but if it's something the character would have said I need to know about it.)
Tags: uk: scotland (misc), ~languages: english: uk
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