GlasgowEvery year we try to visit a country for the first time. This year, that will be Scotland, with just a few days in Glasgow before we head on to Ireland. The photo above shows the equestrian statue of the Duke of Wellington. It’s been common practice for the past few decades to place traffic cones on his head. Glaswegians (or “Weegies”) find this amusing, though the practice is apparently irksome to police and city officials.

As much as I love language learning and look at it as a lifelong pursuit, there’s relief in heading to an English-speaking country, not having to invest in language courses for an upcoming trip, as I did when learning Spanish for Spain and Portuguese for Brazil.

However, there are many English-speaking countries that don’t let you off that easily. Scotland is a great example of this.

From Vagabonding with Kids:

I sat in a London coffee shop where an elderly Scottish gentleman struck up a conversation with me. For all I know, he could have been telling me how his wife had just left him and he’d been told by the doctor that he had a mere three months left to live, during which time he would suffer excruciating pain. If that was what he was saying, then I must have looked like a real asshole sitting there nodding with a markedly unintelligent grin on my face. But he could have been saying anything. I honestly have no idea. At one point I thought he was trying to tell me that he was Canadian. Against all logic and reason, in a desperate attempt to take part in our conversation, I blurted, “You’re Canadian?” He was obviously not Canadian, and this is quite possibly the stupidest thing I have ever said. I might as well have asked him if he was a puppy.

I’m pretty sure I have more such instances in my future. Glasgow has its own dialect called the Glasgow Patter or Glaswegian. I found a great introductory tutorial on it here:

I’ll brush up on the patter as best I can, but I’m not too worried. Everything I’ve learned so far tells me that, at the very least, Weegies have a sense of humor.

Connect with me on Facebook at AK Turner and Vagabonding with Kids and on Twitter @VagabondingKids.