Lesson 2 Self, Family and Friends
In this lesson, you will learn about:
- nouns for family members
- nouns for parts of the body
- describing appearance
- describing yourself, family & friends
Read the following passage in which a young man describes himself:
A’m caa'ed Tammie. A’m twuntie yin, an’ A’m leevin in Greeba. A’m no ill lukkin fur A’m licht heidit an tal. A hae blue een an a sonsie fisog.
This translates as:
My name is Tommy. I’m twenty one and I live in Greyabbey. I’m not bad looking, for I’m tall and blonde. I have blue eyes and a cheerful face.
When you are describing or talking about yourself you will need to use some adjectives. See the words in bold:
A'm stoot an rid heidit but A’m no ill lukkin." (I'm well built and red haired but I’m not bad looking.)
Here are some more adjectives (describing words):
- no ill-lukkin
- reasonable looking (an adjective phrase)
- tal or lang
- sma or wee
If you are seeing a child who has grown since the last time you met, you might describe them as being "
pooerfu big gat" or that they’ve "
growed a brave bit".
- licht heidit
- light haired
- rid heidit
- red haired
- gray heidit
- grey haired
- broon heidit
- brown haired
- blek heidit
- black haired
If you have a receding hairline or are bald you could be described as - scaldie
Expression/ attitude/ mental capacity
- gaping; witless
- quick oan tha uptak
- blue or blae
In terms of personality you could describe yourself or another, if you wished to be complimentary, as:
- "She's a geg" or "She's a quare geg"
- "Sam's a stoot lukkin craither"
- "He's gye weel lukkin"
- "Mary’s gye stoot"
Note: gey; gye – very. The spelling of this word and of other words on these pages is not standardised. You will find different spellings in various texts and in different regions of Ulster.
Now try to describe yourself in the way Tommy did, choosing expressions from the lists of adjectives. Look back to Lesson 1 on introducing yourself and forming numerals if necessary.
- The' caa me __________.
- A'm __________, an' A'm leevin in __________.
- A'm __________ fer a'm __________an__________.
- A hae __________ een an a __________ fisog.
The Templepatrick poet Samuel Thomson (1766-1816) wrote a lively poem called ‘The Simmer Fair’ which begins with a vivid description of the many individuals who pour into Templepatrick village to buy, show off, drink and flirt and fight on Fair day:
Here grey-clad farmers, gash an’ grave
Drive in their sleekit hawkeys;
With many a flee, auld-farrant knave,
To sell their heftit brockeys;
An’ Jockey louns, sae gleg an’ gare
Wi’ boot-bedeckit legs,
To glow’r an’ drink, cheat lie an’ swear
An’ sell their glossy naigs
Come here this day.
Here grey-clothed farmers, shrewd and serious
Drive in their smooth white-faced cows
With many a fly, precocious young rascal,
To sell their black-faced milk cows;
And jockey boys, so quick-witted and talkative
With legs sheathed in fine boots
To stare and drink, cheat, lie and swear
And sell their well-brushed nags
Come here this day.
Here is a list of nouns (naming words) for body parts:
- forehead / brow
- shooders / shoothers
- finger (pronounced like singer)
- palm of hand
- hips / buttocks
If you wish to go into more detail about your appearance you might say:
A hae a lang neb an muckle shooders.
(I have a long nose and big (broad) shoulders.)
Adjectives to use when describing various body parts might include:
- thin, skinny
- stout / fat
The members of the family are:
- the males in the family (or in a group of people)
- wee fella
- baith o yis
- both of you
- grown up
Here is a list of nouns (naming words) for family members:
- faither; fether
- wean; chile; grouselin
- childer; weans
- (sometimes) sister’s or brither’s dochter
Here is a short passage. Read it and try to work out what is being said. (Answer below)
The' caa me Tammie Mc Donald. A leeve in Boneybefore wi ma faither an mither. A hae twa big brithers caa'ed Johnnie an Michael. Baith are ouler nor me. A hae yin wee sister. She’s Ashley. She’s merriet on yin o ma freens. The' caa him Bob Taylor. We wus at schuil thegither but Bob’s twa months ouler nor me.
Bob’s gray heidit, sma an no ill lukkin. He haes a lang baird and he’s a quare geg. He an Ashley hae three weans – Jordan, Paul and Thomas.
Translation to Ulster-Scots Passage
I’m called Tommy McDonald. I live in Boneybefore with my father and mother. I have two big brothers, Johnnie and Michael. Both are older than me. I have one little sister. She’s Ashley. She’s married to one of my friends. He’s called Bob Taylor. We were at school together but Bob’s two months older than me.
Bob’s grey-haired, small and not bad looking. He has a long beard and he’s good fun. He and Ashley have three children – Jordan, Paul and Thomas.