‘Aprile is the coorsest month,’ accordin tae TS Elliot. He didna scrieve in Scots, richt eneuch, bit the personification dis gaur ma think oan the metaphorical natur o wir leid.
A wis spikkin tae a wifie nae sae lang syne faa pyntit oot foo direct Scots is. Her example wis the English, ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’ – flooery, evocative an metaphorical. Scots disnae yaise as mony wirds. ‘It’s bucketin’ is a shorter wye o sayin it. Sae is ‘hale watter’. Bit ye ken, thir are baith fair flooery, evocative an metaphorical an aw.
Tae gang awa fae the wither (fir peetie’s sake wi maun ga’wa fae it files!) a fair puckle o Scots is afa metaphorical, ye ken. Billy Kay is fair tricket that ‘wapinschaw’, a term meanin ‘muster’ thit he thocht wis lang deid, is bein yaised in Ayrshire fir bowlin gaitherins. Fit a graan metaphor thon!
Lowsin time and yoking time are baith wirds ma faither yaised ilka wirkin day. Bit as a jyner he nivver hid tae tie horses tae a ploo nor yet lowse them. Foo mony wirkin Scots yaise thay terms withoot minin, or kenning, far they come fae?
Ma mither aye telt ma A hid a ‘tongue that wid clip cloots’. A dinnae ken thit it’s oany less insultin than being telt tae ‘whisht!’ (forbye it hid the same result). In Dundee, fowk telt ye they’ll ‘nae miss her an hit the wa’ – she’s an afa besom, so she is. Fit a rehr image thon! An of course, we hae anither metaphor there an aw, as weel yaised as tae hae bin forgotten: the witch’s besom is bein yaised as synecdoche – the pairt fir the hale. Ilka time ye cry a bodie a ‘besom’ yer likenin her tae a witch.
Maet gie’s us an afa lot o guid images. A fine smell ‘gangs roon ma hairt like a hairy worim’ and a fine taste is a ‘histe ye back’. Noo dinna tell ma ‘moreish’ says as muckle. We yaise metaphor tae name wir maet tae: flees’ cemeteries, bowler hatties, sair heidies and pokie hats. Fine seein A’v a sweet tooth!
Fit metaphorical wirdies his ticklit you, A winner?