10 January 2012

Words Again. Or Is It Books Again?

Detectives, lawyers, police, crime mysteries. I eat them up. The more complicated the better. Not for me genteel “cozies” and slow-motion psychological suspense novels. Give me mean streets, maverick cops, foreign intrigue, twisted plots.

That’s just by way of introducing the mindset because I should keep track of the pulp I digest. Keep track, because I’m at the stage where I sometimes try to sign out a book I forgot I already read. The pace ensures I usually forget the titles. Good thing one special library that I frequent has a record of borrowers going back ten years or so.  

Ian Rankin, The Impossible Dead (London, UK: Orion, 2011).
One would expect this impossibly popular author to incorporate Scots words in his Edinburgh-based crime novels, and one would be right. At least in this book. Bampot (p. 97) sounds suspiciously almost like an Anglo-Indian-maritime word Amitav Ghosh might have used in his Chrestomathy in Sea of Poppies. But since I have Collins Gem Scots Dictionary at hand, I learn it means “a foolish, stupid or crazy person.” Then there’s glaikit (p. 118) which must be an adjective, with almost identical meaning ... “silly, foolish or thoughtless.” Oh those cops, always joshing with each other.

Collins Gem, I noticed, does not contain craic. A shame, really, because occasionally it crops up in a blog or Facebook among Scottish insiders. Reading between the lines, I think it could have something to do with having a good time or morning-after suffering.

I think I can use glaikit in an appropriate conversational way. It rolls off the tongue. Bampot doesn’t ring that well. Unless, unless, what about a double insult? You glaikit bampot!

Right now I have three new books on my TPL wait list and one at my special library. Did you ever have about four books come in all at once? Lots of too-late nights and sore eyes. If you’re like-minded and into the Scandinavians and felt a small death when Mankell stopped the Wallander series, don’t despair. Go Nesbo.

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