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16 October 2014
Where I Live Scotland

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Scunnered
BBC ONE Scotland
Monday 22nd August 2235BST
The Scots language is a funny thing...

Chewin' the Fat's nedsThe average English speaker uses 50,000 words - that's roughly two thirds of a concise English Dictionary. In Scotland, things are slightly different - here the average speaker uses about 50,126. Rather than being a burden, the extra words are easily remembered because they are the funny ones: bahookie, podger, simmit and malky. They were the backbone of many of a Rab C. Nesbitt rant but as producer, Colin Gilbert admits,

"A lot of the time in Rab C. Nesbitt I didn't understand what all the words meant because if I had done, I probably would have taken them out because they were so filthy."

Then there are the made up words. As comedienne Janey Godley puts it, "The good thing about the Scottish language is it can be bent, manipulated into sounds that are genuinely, absolutely funny."

Hence Rikki Fulton's supercop can confuse vertigo with far-to-go or Jimmy Logan's request to a Glasweign hotelier that he be called (cauld) in the morning only to be told to sleep with his windows open. But it was Stanley Baxter who took this to its comic heights with his Parliamo Glasgow. Originally written for a fictitious visiting professor, Parliamo Glasgow gave us words like "Izziaffi" and "Tummul-Tinty". Stanley Baxter was surprised that Parliamo Glasgow was a success all over Scotland,

"I realised that Glaswegian patter is really the lingua franca of Scottish comedy."

Maybe but Parliamo Glasgow was popular back in the '70s. Nowadays as writer, performer, Sanjeev Kohli says,

"When I listen to his [Stanley Baxter's] version of what Glasgow was then it doesn't ring true to me now. I'm much more fascinated with the way that Neds speak now and to me it is slightly different to that."

But not everything has changed. Today, Burberry-clad Neds will use words from the Parliamo Glasgow generation like 'stoori,' and 'swatch' but also 'tube,' and 'edgy'. There is also a growing use of catchphrases; Scottish streets now resonate to 'gonnae no dae that,' and 'pure dead brilliant'. Yet after all this in-depth analysis, 'Scunnered' is just an excuse to revisit some very funny sketches.

Scunnered is on BBC ONE Scotland on Monday 22nd August at 2235BST.

More Voices programmes: Big Scots Road Trip : Last in Line : Muriel Gray's Trip off the Tongue : Radio nan Gaidheal : Welcome Home Peter Kinnen : Your Word Against Mine


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