Back amidst the Bonhomie

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
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23
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Trip End Jun 04, 2006


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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Every time I come to Glasgow, I enjoy it very much. It has what all great cities must have in my book, a river at it's heart, but most importantly the people are fantastic. The natural tone of their speech is apparently abrupt by most standards of Anglo-Saxon usage, but lest we forget, these folk are neither Anglos, nor Saxons, but are proud of their own unique heritage. Some English friends may be shocked at my declaring the openess and friendliness of Glasgow, but Scots and Glaswegians will readily admit that they more than most become more virulently Scottish, and perhaps a wee bit more assertive when they head beyond their own borders. I can only speak from my own experience and say that the welcome, the cheefulness, the self-deprecation and above all the humour of the Scots people is second to none. For these reasons and many more, I'm glad to be back here to work for a few months.

On first arrival, I'm aware that I have to listen carefully to tune in to listen to local sayings and maybe even to peoples' accent. I can't hear without listening carefully, which in itself is no bad thing. Maybe I'm more aware of it after a year teaching English but the way in which people here seem to use the language is far more playful and fun than in many other places. In England, messing around with the language, especially for humour is matter of course even though we sometimes need to borrow the "double entendre" from French to explain what is going on.

However, given the vibrantly cheerful mood I generally find up here in Glasgow, you could be forgiven for concluding that creative use of language is a measure of cultural idenitfy and dynamism of thought. I wouldn't say it's the only measure, but perhaps it's a sign of self-awareness and culture that is sometimes discounted. All this is purely speculation on my part, but I like the theory and will keep half an eye open for this in future. I'm certainly glad to be back, if only to get the simple laughs out of signs like these as I walk down the street:

Roland Butter - a sandwich bar
Candy Bar - a beer bar
Crow Bar - a beer bar
Mussel Inn - a seafood restaurant
Lettuce Eat - a sandwich bar
Peking Inn - Chinese Restaurant with big glass windows
Bia Bar - you guessed it...
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