AN EASY OSY (EASY GOING) WAY TO LEARN SCOTS!
‘The Minister’s Cat’ is a parlour game played by adults and children using words in alphabetical sequence to describe the cat: e.g. The Minister’s Cat is an Almighty, Beautiful, Clean, Damp, Envious, Fat, Gorgeous, Handsome, Intellectual (etc) ... Cat, each person in turn adding another descriptive word. In one version of the game, each player has to describe the cat with the same letter (i.e. the first round is A, second round B etc) until someone is unable to think of a descriptive word (particularly difficult with the letters X and Z!) and then that player is ‘out’. In another version, the players take it in turn to add descriptive words following the alphabetical sequence—A,B,C,D—again until one player is unable to provide a word, but they also have to remember what has gone before by repeating the words, so by the time the end of the alphabet is reached the player is having to repeat 25 descriptive words as well as supplying one beginning with ‘Z’! This book puts this game into pictures, beautifully drawn by Barbara Robertson, and uses Scots words taken from the Concise Scots Dictionary - so the Minister’s Cat is an Almichty, Breengin, Clarty, Disjaskit, Easy Osy, Fushionless, Gleg.... Cat!
From the Introduction:
Whether Scottish or English, the game is certainly a firm favourite in Scotland and what more natural way to play it than by using Scots words. (I am told that the Scots Language Society used to play the game this way at meetings, calling it, predictably, ‘The Meenister’s Baudrons’.) The words chosen here as examples, illustrated with Barbara Robertson’s lovely funny drawings, range from ordinary Scots words like clarty to the more unusual such as veeand. There are old, sometimes obsolete, words, words in contemporary use, words from different parts of the country (the minister’s cat is a synthetic cat?). They and their definitions are all taken from The Concise Scots Dictionary and a selection of other options (with meanings) is included.
There is also, as is usual, a little cheating.
Scots is such an expressive language for this kind of game (and it often seems, as Barbara Robertson remarked in the course of putting the book together, that all the really fascinating words usually mean ‘dirty’). If this compilation has any serious aim it is just to encourage some interest in Scots and not, I hope, to add another tourist bookie to the ‘isn’t Scots a funny language’ pile, though there is always the danger of that. I am no expert on Scots, merely getting to know it —dictionary-trawling for interesting words, remembering words from my childhood and words from reading. Everybody will have their own words and their own style of playing the game. This is only one way of looking at the minister’s cat.—Hamish Whyte
‘This A-Z treasure trove of Scots words and their explanations explores many interesting possibilities for completion of the well-known alphabet game. An ideal way to expand or revise your vocabulary.’—The Scots Magazine
‘This delightful publication…needs no recommendation from me. It’s already a bestseller, and should prove popular with tourists and others.’—West Coast Magazine
Hainish Whyte lives and works in Glasgow. His publications include two collections of poems: apple on an orange day (1973) and Rooms (1986). He has edited several anthologies including Noise and Smoky Breath: An illustrated anthology of Glasgow poems 1900-1983 (1983) and The Scottish Cat (1987).
Barbara Robertson is an artist, illustrator and printmaker. Trained at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee, she now lives near Forfar where her household includes five cats of assorted colours and types.
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Book Description Elsevier Science Ltd, 1991. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 80412084