Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Apparently I do know some Scots

and so I should. My ancestors were all Scots. 
Yesterday, while waiting for someone to respond to an e-mail - and knowing that I was going to get an almost immediate response - I did something I almost never do. I took one of those "quizzes" that appear on the internet from time to time.
This one was posted on my personal Twitter feed by the Scottish  Book Trust. Did I understand Scots? The quiz was talking about the language of course, not the people. 
Did I? Yes. Full marks - but don't get too excited because there were only fourteen questions. I sent a cheeky message off to the Scottish Book Trust asking whether was going to be given (virtual) chocolate as a reward? No, came the reply, you get a piece of (virtual) tablet instead. (For the uninitiated this is a uniquely Scottish, sickly sweet "toffee" of sorts - almost certainly almost pure sugar.)
Hmmm.... Scots. I am reminded of the visit of the then Glasgow University Theatre Club to my hall of residence in London. I had no difficulty in understanding the members of the group but other students, particularly those from Africa did. I had to act as an "interpreter" the gap was so wide. 
It is less remarkable than it seems. Accents of any sort do not unduly bother me - although, like everyone else, I need to listen more carefully to some than others. They do bother the Senior Cat now. His hearing is not good. He can no longer understand Middle Cat's father-in-law. Mind you, Middle Cat's father-in-law's speech has also deteriorated in recent years. The Senior Cat never understood Middle Cat's mother-in-law. She was softly spoken and her English was never good. It was one reason why I found myself learning to say half a dozen polite words in Greek.

This morning the Senior Cat is venturing out alone. He will need to get a taxi both ways. The drivers will almost certainly not be Australians and he will, if they choose to be chatty, probably not understand them. 
This bothers him. He likes to talk to people from different cultures and backgrounds. He is always full of questions for them. He believes it is rude not to make conversation if someone else wishes to do it.
From my teens onwards I have always mixed at times with people who have severe and profound communication difficulties. Some of those of them who are able to speak at all can be almost unintelligible. It takes patience on both sides for them to be understood. I hope I will always have the patience and the ability to listen to what they have to say. It's important.
Really, it is time someone invented a machine to make this easy!

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