or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


So, let's see. I watched part of some YouTube video or other which turned out to be some Scottish guy talking about The Secret, and it reminded me that some Scotsmen (though not this one in particular) have a devilish sexy accent, as I discovered when we were in Edinburgh last year, though you'd think it would be the sort of thing I would have noticed earlier in my life, but I suppose it's different when you're face-to-face with them.

And I went to Wikipedia to check out the particularities of Scottish English, though I don't know why I bother with the linguistic pages because I can never quite imagine what the sounds being discussed sound like (I don't know what "Scottish English has no /ʊ/, instead transferring Scots /u/" means). And that is where I came across this interesting fact: Scottish English uses the word

doubt for "think the worst" (I doubt it will rain meaning "I fear that it will rain" instead of the standard English meaning "I think it unlikely that it will rain")

which is dreadfully confusing to North Americans. And that in turn reminded me of something even more interesting. Newfoundland English has, in common with some other Englishes, a word not found in Standard English, because it is very old and now obsolete: "dout". I heard it from time to time when I was growing up; it means "to extinguish", as in "dout the fire" (which gave the title of the movie "Mrs. Doubtfire" a meaning surely not intended by the writer).

It's a contraction of two words: "do out". Go ahead. Use it. Pretend you're a Newfoundlander. Baffle your friends and family.


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