All things counter, original, spare and strange in Khujand, Tajikistan


Dundee is a pretty straight up, working class kind of town.  It’s by no means a tourist destination, which is fine.  I get to hang out with Scots who are going about their lives, rather than Scots who are being paid to tell me I’m having a good time.  At the same time though, Dundee has its surprises.  There are islands of green space in the middle of the city where you can lose yourself in the woods and in five minutes feel like you are in the country.  I am very glad to be spending some time here.

Another thing I enjoy is the peculiar blend of sarcasm and absurdity that is the Scottish (and more generally British) sense of humor.  Forgive me for over-generalizing, but they have a way of making the most absurd wise-crack sound dry and ironic, just by the short, clipped, droll manner in their delivery.  It’s quite entertaining.

A taste of Scottish slang:

“Winging” (wingin’ actually)=disgusting

A “winger” is an extremely unattractive person.

“Pants!” Is an exclamation of minor forcefullness, like “dang!”



Some other language barriers:

An example of typical British wordiness is a soap bottle labeled “Washing Up Liquid.”

“Scheme” can be used interchangeably with “program,” as in, “Child Sponsorship Scheme.”  It has no element of sneakiness in this context, which is far less common in the states.

There is no good word for soft drinks here.  Not soda, not pop, not coke.  They’re all “juice.”  I’m informed in Glasgow they use the word “ginger.”  Way to be confusing.


One response

  1. Heather Nation

    I’m personally a big fan of the scottish/british humor, and i’m glad you’re getting to enjoy it.

    I love their wordiness as well. My favorite example is their street signs. In america, a sign would just say, “stop on red”, while the british street sign reads, “when light flashes red, please wait here”. So much more polite. 😉

    And talk about confusing, not only are cokes referred to as juice, but fruit juice is called “squash”. Personally, that’s a vegetable to me…

    I’m glad you’re having a good time!

    May 25, 2007 at 2:08 am

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