Accent is nae bother now

1st May 2009 at 01:00

Learning a foreign language at school may not always make you fluent, but ideally it should help you get by when confronted by native speakers.

Polish bus drivers in Glasgow certainly thought their education had given them a good understanding of English, until they found they were struggling to understand some of their passengers.

Phrases such as: "Geezan aw day tae toon" and "Wharla stick ma wean's buggie?"* left many drivers scratching their heads. Even phrases such as "big man" and "nae bother" caused problems - until James Lillis came along.

James, himself a bus driver for 30 years, saw his colleagues' bemusement and decided the solution was for a Glaswegian speaker to learn Polish. So James took a 10-week course in basic Polish, as well as spending time with a family in Poland, so he could give his fellow drivers lessons to help them with the local dialect.

His efforts could also pay off in the drivers' canteen. It's now less likely that a Polish driver will eat another man's "pieces", or sandwiches.

Translations: *"Give me an all-day ticket to town", "Where can I put my child's buggy?"

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