Staff Required vs Help Wanted

If you’re looking for a job in the UK the signs you are looking for in shop windows say “Staff Required” or a more specific “Sales Staff Required”.

In the US we ask for help. The sign says “Help Wanted”. I wonder if this has to do with some negative connotations to the word “Help”? Not in the sense of needing assistance, but in the sense of “The Help”.

Till Vs Register

In the states the machine used to pay for things you buy is called a cash register, or the register for short.

In the UK it’s called the till.

I also confused a shop person at the Apple Store in Glasgow when I said I needed to “check out”. They don’t seem to use that term at all. Rather they just say the straight forward “I want to pay.”

Wee Scottishisms

Scots speak differently than the English and have a whole slurry of words that are different. Here a few that I’ve picked up recently.

Scotishisms Tea Towel
Scotishisms Tea Towel

Wee = little

Before I got here I really thought the Scots wouldn’t possibly use wee for little much. I was wrong. They pretty much always say wee vs little. Matter of fact when I heard a Scot say little yesterday I noticed.

Crabit = Grumpy

Learned this one recently from a tour bus driver. I found it interesting because she said it in the context of describing the difference between Glasgow and Edinburgh. She said Glasgow people were more open and friendly and “we in Edinburgh can be a little crabit”.

Glen = Valley

Not a major one, but it’s relevant.

Loch = Lake

There is only one lake in all of Scotland Lake of Menteith. It used to be called a Loch as well but when John de Menteith sold out William Wallace, Scots stopped calling it a Loch. Or at least that’s the story our highland tour guide told us. Every other inland body of water is referred to as a Loch.

Even though it is pronounced the same, it shouldn’t be confused with a Lock. A Lock is like a water elevator on their canals. Of course the Falkirk Wheel really is a canal elevator, but there are still lots of Locks on the canals around Scotland.

“Naughts and Crosses” vs “Tic-Tac-Toe”

naughtsAndCrossesWent to a comedy improv show in Leith the other night. They gave everyone a sheet of paper and said you could doodle on it and I played myself a game tic-tac-toe in the corner. It was a draw of course, just like thermonuclear war.

Then they had us name a play. I tore off my suggestion and it included the little game. The guy who read my title said, “The Caterpillar Christmas, and a game of naughts and crosses.”

It may be a Scottishism, but it is very different.

“Hold Ups” vs “Stockings”

hold-upsWas reading a model’s profile and she said, “I love hold ups and heels.” Mmmmmmm……

I actually I was thinking it was going to be the same at “push up” as in bra. But a quick search showed me that it was stockings. Nor is it the same as garter belt.

“Fish Fingers” vs “Fish Sticks”

Fish FingersIf you are a Dr Who fan you already know this one, but they refer to thin rectangular pieces of breaded fish as “Fish Fingers”. I guess it is no more unusual than our calling thin fried pieces of chicken as Chicken Fingers, though I haven’t seen chicken fingers on a UK menu yet.

I did also buy custard, though I haven’t tried it yet. And for the record Matt Smith wasn’t actually eating Fish Fingers and Custard in Dr. Who, though he later did on the Graham Norton show (9:37). FF&C is not a normal British thing.

I also found some cookie like things called Chocolate Fingers. They weren’t very good.

“Pegs” vs “Clothes Pins”

Wooden PegsIn the UK what we call clothes pins, the things you attach washing to a clothes line with, they call Pegs. Wooden ones are called Wooden Pegs, though plastic ones are just referred to as Pegs.

As an interesting addendum, in the film industry they call clothes pins C47s.

“Unattended” vs “Missed” Appointments

Unattended appointments
Unattended appointments
The Mrs has been having back problems since we got to the UK. In the US she’d make a couple of trips to the chiropractor and this would be fixed. In the UK, there are no chiropractors. The are osteopaths, which are like chiropractors, but have a different methodology which uses a slower method of manipulation. They also aren’t like a US D.O. (Doctor of osteopathic medicine), which is equal to an M.D. Osteopaths in the UK have the same kind of position in medicine that chiropractors have in the US.

There are also physiotherapist which do similar things. She went to a Osteopath when we were in Brentwood, but when we came to Edinburgh we ended up at a physiotherapist, which is where I saw this sign.

The British say you “attend” an appointment. If you don’t go to your appointment it is “unattended”. They also use attended with events. For instance if you ask how many people should be at a concert, they’ll say it will be “well attended” or “12 attended”.