BNC Text HV5

Orkney Sound Archive tape OSA/RO/D: radio broadcast. Sample containing about 3878 words speech recorded in leisure context

2 speakers recorded by respondent number C428

PS3F3 Ag5 f (Mary, age 60+, Native of West Mainland) unspecified
PS3F4 Ag2 f (No name, age 30+, radio presenter, Interviewer) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 107901 recorded on 1986-07-03. LocationOrkney: Orkney ( Radio Orkney ) Activity: Radio broadcast Interview, reminiscences

Undivided text

Mary (PS3F3) [1] It's very much worth it d'ya know.
[2] I think television would be as much to blame as any you know the bairns the children's programmes are all in English and so on you can.
[3] It amazes me I hear Orkney children [...] in Orkney and they'll be playing and talking to one another in English you know.
[4] They'll be exclamations and things they're just exclamations that they've heard I think on television.
(PS3F4) [5] Yes I know that with mine it was American.
[6] They used all these Americanisms because a lot of the problems were American.
Mary (PS3F3) [7] Yes.
(PS3F4) [8] And the they used to when they would speak Orcadian among their their pals and then when they when they were playing games all the kids the Orcadian ones whether they were Orcadian or not would adopt this American drawl and they all spoke like that .
Mary (PS3F3) [9] [laugh] Yes of course maybe play acting when they're doing that they're more conscious of the way they're speaking and they probably want to make it right with what they think it should be.
[10] And as I say I don't know what sort of things children watch on T V but it's all in English.
(PS3F4) [11] Did you find at school that your dialect was hammered?
Mary (PS3F3) [12] Yes.
[13] Er when I was young erm you know you didn't have to use dialect at all.
[14] Er we got leave to use it in the playground as far as I can imagine but we made an awful division or if we didn't [...] it pretty quickly in the class.
[15] I can't remember which teacher it was referred to anything Orcadian we used as Orkneyisms.
[16] And if you were used Orkneyisms you were a very poor scholar indeed.
(PS3F4) [17] I remember a wee boy in the class I was in in the primary school and he got a row he I remember him getting a row from the teacher and he s the teacher said what did you do wrong and he said oh I've gone and putten putten where I should've putten put
Mary (PS3F3) [18] [laugh] yes.
(PS3F4) [19] What was putten was that was that East Mainland?
Mary (PS3F3) [20] No that's that's West Mainland too.
[21] Putten and while am I putten nothing.
(PS3F4) [22] A putten something somewhere
Mary (PS3F3) [23] Yes.
(PS3F4) [24] instead of put it somewhere.
Mary (PS3F3) [25] Yes and we'd never use put.
(PS3F4) [26] Are there a lot of differences between the the East and the West Mainland?
Mary (PS3F3) [27] Er quite a lot I think maybe.
[28] Most would you know be in intonation and pronunciation.
[29] To anybody who's used to listening to dialect the East and the West are very different.
[30] All the parishes used to be different and it used to be possible at one time to know approximately where in Orkney somebody came from.
[31] And this is still the case with older folk.
[32] Many of the older folk if you get them really going in their own dialect you can just say roughly where they come from.
[33] One of the common differences between East and West is the words like table and table in West we'd say table and East they'd say table.
[34] And the West peal comes appeal and the West's heard becomes a heard and the one sort of difference that's still there and it may take quite while to go is that the East Mainland when they're saying a sentence they tend to go up at the end of the sentence the voice rises.
[35] Whereas the West Mainland never goes really up at the end of the sentence or at least not to the same extent.
[36] I can't make the East Mainland very well.
[37] I would like to go to the [mimicking] town today [] , and she's awfully she's no [mimicking] [...] the day [] and they tend to go up at the end.
[38] And there's other wee things too.
[39] Something that the East Mainland folk find awfully funny is the West Mainland call potatoes [...] .
[40] We don't go out to gather potatoes we go to hunt taters And the East Mainland don't say that at all they would call them more tatties or taties
(PS3F4) [41] I thought taties was north isles.
Mary (PS3F3) [42] That's verging on north isles right enough.
[43] Well Westray maybe has as distinctive a dialect as any apart from North Ronaldsay of course.
[44] North Ronaldsay is in a class by it's own and easily recognizable.
[45] But er I believe that at one time people from the islands settled in some of the farms for the East Mainland whether there's a similarity in the matter of table or heard and all these sort of things.
[46] There is a similarity creeps in there whether that came with [...] islands or whether it was there before I just don't know.
(PS3F4) [47] Because they table and heat instead of table and [...] .
Mary (PS3F3) [48] Yes.
(PS3F4) [49] It sound far more proper in the West Mainland then.
Mary (PS3F3) [50] Well you could say that and yet we're awfully broad.
[51] I would say in just a general accent the way we talk you know.
[52] Birsay folk are always considered very broad and so are the Harray folk.
[53] Maybe more so than say Sandwick and I find like Rendal folk you could tell some of them even yet.
[54] I always think they have a very nasal pronunciation.
[55] They seem to talk quite a lot up high in the in their nasal passages.
[56] And Evie of course well Evie's great for sort of old fashioned exclamations you know.
[57] They're great for [...] that sort of thing.
[58] And [...] that's a good old Orkney word too.
[59] Just as an exclamation and Evie folk would take it into their conversation I think even yet the older ones of them.
(PS3F4) [60] I've got a granny who comes from the south isles and she says [...] and that's [...] .
[61] If you say something and she's surprised she'll say, oh [...] .
Mary (PS3F3) [62] Yes.
[63] That's a thing I find that we're losing very much is all these exclamations and of course a lot of exclamations were calling on a divine hand of God to look after you.
[64] I mean there's a whole range of exclamations that, bless me, or bless me as we would say.
[65] And God [...] and mercy me that was just have mercy on me.
[66] And mine matey and bess be about me that was quite a long exclamation but it was something surprise them terribly, Oh bess be about me, just sort of, Oh God come to me help, sort of thing.
[67] And the blessings on me, that was the thing that sort of for anybody who helped them.
[68] It wasn't, Oh thank you very much I'm much obliged or anything like that.
[69] It was, Be blessings on thee, I mean and may God bless you for the help you've given me.
[70] And [...] that's a common enough one yet.
(PS3F4) [71] Granny she says, My [...] .
Mary (PS3F3) [72] [...] yes.
[73] [...] was a a very common one too.
[74] You see you don't hear them any more.
[75] Oh [...] yes.
(PS3F4) [76] What was that supposed to mean?
[77] Was it just
Mary (PS3F3) [78] Oh just the same thing.
[79] Just an exclamation.
(PS3F4) [80] And [...]
Mary (PS3F3) [81] [...] I think [...] would be more Scottish.
(PS3F4) [82] Was it [...] bairns.
Mary (PS3F3) [83] Oh [...] yes [...] bairns.
[84] I I could not say it wasn't fairly common too but no maybe [...] yes [...] is a good one.
[85] [...] doing dialect there's still a [...] things like the wireless and the weather things like that sometimes give it a personality as a [...] .
[86] My mother when she wanted anybody to turn off the wireless used to say [...] [laugh] .
[87] Much to the amusement of two American girls who stayed with us because they didn't know what this phrase was I mean they couldn't have sort it out in the first place of what it meant.
[88] When they had sort it out they just didn't know but [...] they would go you know prancing around saying to one another saying [...] then [laugh] .
(PS3F4) [89] A lot of Orkney a lot of, I'm going to sneeze now, a lot of Orkney men use the word, She,
Mary (PS3F3) [90] Mhm.
(PS3F4) [91] when they're referring to the tractor or the horse or the car
Mary (PS3F3) [92] Mhm.
(PS3F4) [93] is that an Orkney way of doing it or is that just a sort of male thing?
Mary (PS3F3) [94] Erm I've never really thought about it I think it's a male thing probably isn't it?
[95] I think maybe English men would refer to their car as She or so on if they get to think you know they make things have personalities you start to give them personal pronoun there.
(PS3F4) [96] Or their boat you know boy she's
Mary (PS3F3) [97] Yes.
(PS3F4) [98] boy she's no running right.
Mary (PS3F3) [99] [laugh] That's right.
[100] The tractor's a she right enough very often.
[101] And there's another sort of things now that we don't hear is when you sit down at the table to eat erm they're probably the most the hostess would say now would be, Help yourself.
[102] But er there was a whole range of things like, Put in the hand and [...] and erm [...] they thought you weren't eating plenty or told to [...] and [...] supper.
(PS3F4) [103] Yes [...] that's just an Orkney way of saying fall too.
Mary (PS3F3) [104] Yes.
[105] And Put in the hand just literally put your hand in and get something to eat.
[106] Cos it makes for a lot of [...] you know if you don't have [...] and say well I'm not going to put in my feet anyway.
(PS3F4) [107] Yeah another thing that that old folk use I know that my granny used to say she'll say she'll turn things round she'll say, I'm having nothing with it to do, instead of, I'm no having anything to do with it.
[108] Is that common?
Mary (PS3F3) [109] Yes it's fairly common among older folk still.
[110] We s tend to move the sentences around more and they lines [...] sort of you know, Do you know where my shovel is, [...] where my shovel is and erm, Who's [...] the day, asking how are you.
(PS3F4) [111] That's from Shetland, Who's [...] the day.
Mary (PS3F3) [112] I know [...] who's [...] the day, yes just a similar similar phrasing.
(PS3F4) [113] The thou and the thee and the thines.
[114] You've just said thou who's thou the day.
[115] There are a lot of old folks still use that?
Mary (PS3F3) [116] Oh yes it's quite common and common in middle aged folk even yet among people you're familiar with.
[117] I mean even when I was small you wouldn't use thee and thou to an older person.
[118] It was somehow thought of as being irreverent but to members of your own family and people your own age or somebody younger than you you would use thee and thou.
[119] But if it was perhaps even a little one your own age if you didn't know them very well it would be you.
[120] Thee and thou were s a term implied intimacy and affection and closeness the thee and thou as far as I always understood it.
[121] And another sort of very close phrase that [...] disappeared is [...] is a phrase awfully much used.
[122] Orcadian dialect it's often said has no words of endearment no dears or darlings but I think [...] perhaps came as near to it as any word.
[123] It was said to small children and maybe a young man would say it to his lass but [...] always implied affection of something young and tender.
(PS3F4) [124] Yes I'd forgotten that.
[125] Yes.
[126] [talk in background] You said about West Mainland folk.
Mary (PS3F3) [127] Well well just the different words it's really a matter of pronunciation.
[128] Like in Harray we would say, up to go up and er the Deerness folk then would say, up or something like that, up.
[129] And erm
(PS3F4) [130] It's just to go up.
Mary (PS3F3) [131] Up yes mhm.
[132] Up and up and er in Harray we'd say, wee that's just for us you know, we.
[133] And I think the Deerness folk say, wey and we would call a young heifer a [...] .
[134] Whereas the Deerness people would call it a [...] .
[135] Just very similar the difference is there in the pronunciation.
[136] But a completely different word would be the word for what's behind the cattle in the West Mainland it's a [...] and in the East Mainland it's an [...] or an [...] .
[137] I think that varies too from parishes to islands.
[138] There is this just this slight difference in in the words.
[139] I think I'm really sorry now is to see all the old words really going.
[140] I don't think they'll be any left once the generation who were born before the war see are gone.
[141] But we still have the dialect and the sort of tone of it and and phrasing of it but so much of the old vocabulary is just disappearing altogether.
[142] I sometimes find myself using them yet long years you know when I thought I'd forgotten them and any younger person just looks at me in amazement and has no idea what I'm talking about.
(PS3F4) [143] Yes I remember my granny coming out with the word [...]
Mary (PS3F3) [144] Mhm.
(PS3F4) [145] and I hadn't a clue what that was.
Mary (PS3F3) [146] [laugh] [...] sort of called a lot of things it was a fright or a flapping around or a haste or a, what did what did granny somet
(PS3F4) [147] Mm, We don't get enough [...] she said.
Mary (PS3F3) [148] [...] yeah that's right aha.
[149] Well I went into the shop in Harray very short ago.
[150] I used to go to Orkney for [...] to go and asked for some cardboard boxes only we call them pasteboard boxes.
[151] And when the girl came with them I says I think I'll take them all if you can [...] them.
[152] And she looked at me and blinked her eyes I says you [...] what [...] means.
[153] No she said.
[154] And I says well it is two different meanings the one I'm using is just if you can spare it, if you can [...] it.
[155] And a [...] of course is also what they used to get when you wanted to make mealy puddings you made them with the [...] the intestines of an animal and that's also called a [...] .
[156] Well that's two that's a word with two meanings that's now just completely out of use more or less.
(PS3F4) [157] I haven't heard of that one either.
Mary (PS3F3) [158] Mhm.
[159] Oh you wouldn't [laughing] [...] [] .
(PS3F4) [160] No.
Mary (PS3F3) [161] Yep.
(PS3F4) [162] Something I did think of when you mentioned about the the cattle dung that the word that we remember was [...] .
Mary (PS3F3) [163] Ah yes [...] .
[164] Well it can be inside but it's really outside and rotted.
[165] Rotted wet cattle dung, it's no fresh cattle dung's never [...] .
[166] It's when you get this black really stinking rotten hole that you call it [...] .
(PS3F4) [167] And that's what came out of the [...] was the [...] .
Mary (PS3F3) [168] That's right.
[169] What seeped out of the [...] and mixed with some air from there would have been a little dung in it to [...] it stood half the summer and got to be really high.
[170] That was [...] .
[171] And heaven help you if you fell in the [...] .
(PS3F4) [172] Yes that's how I remember [laughing] it [...] [] .
Mary (PS3F3) [173] [laugh] .
(PS3F4) [174] I did.
[175] Yeah there's there's there's a whole lot of others that were in me head that I I meant to write down before you came in.
Mary (PS3F3) [176] Mhm.
[177] Oh you know it's all right.
(PS3F4) [178] There's erm ...
Mary (PS3F3) [179] [...] it's just that I like it you know .
(PS3F4) [180] Yeah.
Mary (PS3F3) [181] Mhm.
[182] So long as they understand that there's this also the erm [...] you know er [...] said to me, Oh it's just English sort of said differently.
[183] I said well no really at all there's the whole vocabulary as well.
[184] Which is the vocabulary is disappearing first and then I think maybe the actual intonations and phrases will disappear then too.
[185] But it'll take quite a long time for them to go though.
[186] But I do think the vocabulary will be lost very shortly now.
(PS3F4) [187] Something that I noticed is in the towns like Kirkwall and Stromness there's a kind of slovenly way of speaking Orcadian where they go [mimicking] butter water [] .
Mary (PS3F3) [188] Yes that's very much Kirkwall I would say particularly.
[189] There is a slight difference between Kirkwall and Stromn so Kirkwall's another place you the accent of a native born Kirkwallian unless you say the [...] [mimicking] butter and water [] and things like that.
[190] And Stromness accents no quite so easily picked out as Kirkwall but you know that they're from one of the two towns anyway usually.
(PS3F4) [191] I don't know if it's progressed into the villages.
[192] I haven't noticed
Mary (PS3F3) [193] No that's very much well very much Kirkwall I would say.
(PS3F4) [194] Has Kirkwall always been like that then?
Mary (PS3F3) [195] Yes.
[196] Oh yes.
(PS3F4) [197] I wondered about that.
Mary (PS3F3) [laugh]
(PS3F4) [198] Yeah I suppose in the country too there Kirkwall would have been the first Kirkwall or Stromness probably Kirkwall would have been the first place where the accents would have been going to go.
Mary (PS3F3) [199] I would think so and the particularly the folk living in the towns consciously tended to use less Orcadian you know they they'd more dealings with folk from outside the islands for one thing and folk come on in off ships and so on.
[200] And part of the reason of course the dialect is gone is that we unconsciously sort of translate what we're going to say into good English so that we're understood.
[201] Because there are so many English folk now in every community and we do tend to sort of doctor up the language a bit you know when we talk to them.
[202] Otherwise they just wouldn't understand us.
(PS3F4) [203] And some places that erm I know that in some places they have their own local way of speaking and then they speak a different way to other folk.
[204] But then they lapse back into the local way of speaking when they're on their own.
[205] But they don't seem to do that here.
Mary (PS3F3) [206] Er not in Kirkwall you mean?
(PS3F4) [207] Yeah they they don't seem to like I I know that in Wick a lot of the folk in Wick have have two se they've got their own dialect and they've got English.
[208] And in fact in some of the schools [...] was here I know that Mrs Flaws erm from Wyre her idea at the school was to make Orcadian children bilingual.
Mary (PS3F3) [209] Mhm.
(PS3F4) [210] And that they would have the the language that they spoke at home and the language that they spoke at school.
[211] And that they found it easier when they that that English was English and Orcadian was Orcadian.
Mary (PS3F3) [212] Yes.
[213] Yes I see what you mean probably thou thought Wick's a strange dialect to you they relax it some more [...] too.
[214] You see [...] it's really what happens to the older folk like me.
[215] I never talk to anybody as I'm talking now even.
[216] Er to me friends [...] you know.
(PS3F4) [217] No it's a it's a totally different when
Mary (PS3F3) [218] It's a
(PS3F4) [219] you're relax you speak in a totally different way.
Mary (PS3F3) [220] Ye yes totally different way.
[221] Aha.
(PS3F4) [222] Do you find that the school used to make you very inhibited about the way you spoke?
Mary (PS3F3) [223] Oh yes when I went to Stronsay Academy first we were very much kids for the country being all this country ones and often we'd sometimes be [...] and said some terribly wild and woolly awfully countrified phrase you know until pride sort of came to our rescue when we we got out of it as much as ever we could.
[224] The Orkney word for what we were doing is chanting.
[225] You know that of course if you chant [...] .
[226] Chanting's when you're talking to other Orcadians in your best English when there's really no need for it when you just want to show off that you're.
[227] Here ago you see it implied that you were so much more learned and knowledgeable and clever if you could talk English.
[228] And if you spoke English to a fellow Orcadian you were chanting.
[229] Which was their sort of way of making fun of you because you were showing off which is what a native Orcadian thinks any of his contemporaries talking in English to anyone other than an English person.
[230] They they're showing off.
[231] Or did do mind you I I wouldn't think it now not for younger folk that's not the case but for the older folk it very much worse.
(PS3F4) [232] Do you think they're being slapped down over dialect?
[233] ... [whispering] Erm I must have gonna put yeah [] Do you think they're being slapped down over dialect at school?
[234] Made Orcadians very reluctant to speak up in public?
Mary (PS3F3) [235] Oh certainly.
[236] In fact you couldn't adequately express yourself in English you were just better to shut up.
(PS3F4) [237] Do you think that's still predominant?
Mary (PS3F3) [238] Oh no no.
[239] I think young folk now are much more ready to express themselves and express themselves in public.
[240] We were erm not given many opportunities to do that only through things well local clubs like the W R I and which er and in that way all Orcadians just trying to do our best together you know.
[241] And the Young Farmers' Clubs were quite good for they encouraged speech making and how to express yourself lucidly and er how to speak nicely.
[242] That was quite good.
[243] But you see there was always this thought that it was always to better yourself that you were doing this that your Orcadian was just for home about and among yourselves and what it didn't really matter.
[244] But if you really wanted to make an impression you had to get rid of this Orcadian fast. ...
(PS3F4) [245] For for visitors coming to Orkney do you think it that there's a happy medium? ... come to Orkney.
[246] Is there a way of talking in your natural dialect that they can understand you and yet without losing it?
Mary (PS3F3) [247] I don't really think there is.
[248] I know some folk won't change for anybody they just go harping on in their dialect and er well this fellow said some visitors just don't understand him I always find myself translating in a situation like that.
[249] They can't even pick up just the words that are English words only pronounced in the Orcadian way.
[250] ... Like I'm
(PS3F4) [...]
Mary (PS3F3) [251] I'm gone to the shop.
[252] Well just the intonation and the and the way you would say that they they can't pick it up.
(PS3F4) [253] The Shetlanders don't seem to do that to the same extent they don't seem to change their dialect.
Mary (PS3F3) [254] No they're they're much better at keeping it and they seem to manage quite well too.
(PS3F4) [255] And yet doesn't Shetland doesn't seem so difficult to un maybe it's because we're Orcadian but Shetland doesn't seem to be so difficult to understand for somebody outside than Orcadian is I wonder why?
Mary (PS3F3) [256] I think that's maybe because we're Orcadian for no matter how good we're feeling if we go you know that yourself if you go south anywhere and you meet up with just anybody that's ever heard an Orcadian.
[257] Well my you come from Orkney.
[258] You think that's especially true and like say Aberdeen if you go in a shop there and and, at least it used to be the case, and asked for something you be thought you were speaking fine but they would just say, Oh my you down from Orkney for a holiday?
[259] You know right away picked you up right away.
(PS3F4) [260] Did folk often used to accuse you of being Welsh?
Mary (PS3F3) [261] Qui quite frequently Welsh and once [laughing] German [] .
(PS3F4) [262] Yes I often used to be accused of being Welsh but it is different.
Mary (PS3F3) [263] It's different but erm if you really get an Orkney talker just talking to one another and er drawing out the words sometimes and so on it can get to be the same lilt as Welsh.
[264] And probably to a you know to an untutored ear it would sound reasonably similar. [recording ends]