Friday, 20 January 2012

Dreich, drookit and mauchit

Sometimes regional dialects can describe things far better than standard English (whatever that is) - like the Australian crook - as in "I feel a bit crook" - immediate visual image of being not quite upright, and the audible emphasis on the double oo for 'eurgh, I'm sick'.

But for sheer onomatopoeic brilliance the Scots are hard to beat:

Take today for example -

The weather is cold, grey and damp, visibility is reduced by the constant rain, and there's a breeze that finds the gap between your jacket and neck and chills you to the bone. Thirty words, where one would suffice: dreich - pronounced dree - followed by the soft ch as in loch - something that most Englishmen completely fail to master; but whereas 'lock' is just about tolerable, in a have to feel sorry for them sort of a way, 'dreik' loses its meaning altogether. So try it - it's like the gentlest clearing of your throat, a soft wind across the back of your tongue - loch, dreich. Got it? Today defines dreich.

Four-legged-friend, out for a walk on a dreich day, became totally, but happily drookit; helped by plunging into a stream swollen by recent rain.

Drookit means drenched. Absolutely. "Dr-ooooo-kit" - say it and you can hear the image of dripping, hanging, sodden wet dog, who is now steaming and smelly by the Aga.

Lastly, mauchit:

My mauchit wellies - splendidly muddy!

So dreich, drookit and mauchit - a trio of miserable weather gnomes, Damp, Drenched and Dirty - or three fantastic words which deserve a wider audience?

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