Being a ferry-louping in-comer, from south of the river (or at least the Pentland Firth), it's taking me a while to tune my ear in to some of the Orcadian dialect.
Both Our Lass and I have become aware that the language continuum between English and full bore Orcadian is much wider than the 'either one or the other' that we had initially thought.
In conversations with work colleagues, customers or clients, it has been apparent that there's a level of dialect which can only be described as 'half throttle'. By this I mean that it is delivered slower and with fewer dialect words than if the conversation is between two Orcadians.
At this early stage in our education, we are grateful for this relaxation of the official language, especially as two Orcadians in conversation would not necessarily speak in this fashion.
Having said that, there are pitfalls aplenty and, unfortunately, yesterday I committed a faux pas at work. A customer pointed across the yard and asked if we wanted any chairs for our recycling site. My gaze followed in the direction of his outstretched arm and I saw several plastic chairs stacked beside a walkway. I quickly responded with a full description of the usefulness of plastic chairs for a project that donates loose items of scrap to schools to encourage creative and imaginative play at break times.
The customer listened intently and patiently, but with an increasing amount of confusion. When I paused for breath, he hurriedly said, "Not chairs... chars! Those glass chars over there."
In the Orcadian dialect, the English 'j' is pronounced 'ch', especially at the beginning of words. And I had walked straight into the linguistic minefield.
Crestfallen, I looked beyond the chairs to a box that was full of empty jars.
"Er, yeah, we accept those, too," was all I sheepishly managed to say, as I looked for a handy fish box to crawl under.