Andre McCrae on learning and using Scots on arrival in Lochmaben

Andre McCrae interviewed by Isabelle Gow on 2 May 2016 at Lochmaben.

Interviewed: 2 May 2016.
Ref: Acc LCDI May 2016.
© European Ethnological Research Centre, 2016.

Andre McCrae recalls coming from Manchester to Lochmaben when he was eight years old and finding the language quite different.

IG: What did you feel about going into school? I mean, how different was that?

AM: I couldn’t really understand anybody but, you know, you sort of get used to it. So, I picked it up quite quickly because I was around everybody that was speaking just Scottish so, yea.

IG: Did you feel quite welcome?

AM: I did actually, everybody was fine with me, with the way I spoke as well. And they’d actually like, help me out more with my speaking, you know, they’d encourage me to say other things that I wouldn’t usually say, you know, like more Scottish things.

IG: Uhuh, can you give me an example?

AM: There’s quite a few. For instance, there was ‘weesht’, and the first time that was said to me, my dad had actually said it to me and I didn’t understand what he was saying. I said to him ‘What do you mean when you said that?’ and he said ‘It means, you know, to shoosht, be quiet’.

IG: Be quiet, uhuh.

AM: It was good and another one’s ‘Aye’ as well, you know, and like when I said ‘yes’ they understood but when I was asking them a question and they’d say ‘Aye’ in response, I wouldn’t know what they were saying.

IG: You didn’t understand that.

AM: So, every, like, you know, ‘What’s that’ and then eventually, one day, one of my friends said ‘Oh, it means yes’.

IG: So you’d learn it. Did you think it was just like another language?

AM: Ah did actually, yea, because there’s actually so much to it that’s so different as well, but it’s, I found it quite easy to pick up as I went along, you know.

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