Tuesday, April 04, 2006

No, really, I'm Scottish

Mes Amis

Its not happened for a long time, but it had to happen again eventually...

I know that to you Americans, Canadians, English folks and sundry other chaps and chapesses what I know I sound quite the Scotsman when you hear me talk. Maybe not the thickest accent, but at least capable of bursting onto a scene in Taggart and saying, "Sur, there's been a murrrrrderrr*" should the need arise.

But to other Scots...

I was working at another shop and standing at the till, doing my thing** when this old fella comes in and says, "Aye, son, I've never seen you before." Obviously he's a regular. He asks if I'm here covering while one of the usual guys is off to be with his wife while she gives birth. I say, yes. He looks at me strangely and says, "You're not from round here." Tentatively I say no, because he's right: I'm from Fife. Then he says, "No, must be a long way to come from the States." I balk at this and say I'm not American and he laughs and says, "No, of course not, Son. I shouldae kent you were from Ireland."

This is not the first time this has happened. I seem to constantly need to assert my credentials with my fellow countrymen due to my accent which, while maybe not any specifically regional accent is still one hundred percent Scots. That cannot be denied.

But it brings me back to a note I got the other day on the novel. "You've got some brilliant characters and dialogue in here," I'm told. "And the scots accent thing you have with so many of them is great. But why does your protagonist read like he's American or maybe English?"

Looks like my PI is going to have the same problems, too.

Au revoir

Russel

*This line must be used at least once in any given episode of Taggart and I'm sure the extra R's are included in the script. Oh yes, and someone takes great delight in making me say murrrrderrr so I know I could say that line well.

**Oh come on, I know what you're thinking and I wasn't doing that. I was at work, you know!

13 comments:

Graham said...

A simple test: Is it pronounced "Scutland" or "Scootland"?

Jennifer Jordan said...

You say 'murrrrrderrr" almost as well as Ian Rankin. Maybe it's because his eyes got all flashy and weird when he said it.

Gary Smith said...

You don't pronounce it as Edinboro so I think you're ok :)

Ray said...

"And the scots accent thing you have with so many of them is great. But why does your protagonist read like he's American or maybe English?"

Add lots of swearing, the odd mention of "wee" and the phrase "See when you do that? Pure boils ma fuckin' piss, so it does. Ya cunt."

Works for me.

And I believe when Mr Mcmanus was still in Taggart the line was: "EsbinaMARRRDAR"

Sandra Ruttan said...

When I was flying back from Glasgow last summer I sat with a couple from the Orkney Islands. Hell, I'd've thought if nothing else that demonstrates the range of accents, because I could understand other people.

And when I lived in Ireland I was surprised by the lack of accent of a lot of people.

When my cousin moved to Nashville he picked up a southern twang, though, so clearly you and your protagonist need to spend more time around Scots.

Sandra Ruttan said...

PS Using au revoir and mes amis hardly helps uphold the tartan noir image.

Russel said...

You know, even I'm not sure how that started but now its become something of a tradition. And I wouldn't want to give up on a tradition.

And I'm being outpsychoed by someone? Even if it is Mr Rankin, I must try harder...

Sandra Ruttan said...

Face it Russel - you just aren't as scary as Ian.

That's why we all spam you with emails and Jen calls you Russy-poo.

Not something you do to Mr. Noir.

I have the perfect solution. Wear a kilt more often.

Charlie Williams said...

Russel, to avoid any further confusion re your nationality, I suggest you start your posts with "Hoots mon," and sign off with "Och aye the noo."

Stuart MacBride said...

I'm not going near this one with a stick.

Russel said...

Hoots mon, there's a moose loose aboot this hoose...

Nah, Charlie, it just isn't me, is it?

Ray: I hope you don't want royalties for those lines...

And Stuart, this is a moment of unusual restraint on your part... And as such I do applaud it.

that girl said...

I'm coming in with the biggest hooring stick EVER and saying
HA!
I can say "there's been a murrrduuurrrr" better than anyone.
Blythe Duff and Mark McManus excluded but one of them's Dead so its just me and wee Blythe. And I win

Mike Parry said...

Oh aye Russel, you can do the line from Taggart - but you still sound, oddly enough, like an American who's stayed in Scotland a long time. That is, you don't sound like a stereotypical scot.

Anyway it's better not to sound too Scottish - no offence to the national twang but it's bloody awful. Living in the arse-end of Fife is currently doing wonders for my sanity and accent, so much so that I'm forcibly reverting to the old Afrikaaner twang I used to have all those years ago.