Scots/Gaelic shout help needed
January 29, 2010 4:24 PM   Subscribe

Scots/Gaelic shout help needed

When I was kid, my Glasgow-born grandma used to shout something like "heinemahina" and "hatchemahana" when we did something that she didn't like. It was some sort of warning or "stop!" shout. It could be Scots, Gaelic or completely invented. Any idea what she said? Thanks.
posted by acoutu to Society & Culture (13 answers total)
It's actually really hard to guess this: I've tried shouting it with a few different pronounciations, but can't make any of them sound Glaswegian. The other difficulty is that in Glasgwegian entire words can become mere syllables -- "nawmurnae" expands to "No I am are not" -- and reverse-engineering that's really difficult.

I can make "hatchemana" into "whtchyamanna", which could be an angrily hissed Glasgow version of "watch your manner" sound, but that's not really a common phrase here.

Do you think it was supposed to be parsed as language or just as a chiding sound?

(I'm guessing it wasn't Gaelic because Gaelic has many more sh and hard-ch sounds in it, and although Glasgow has a high percentage of the Gaelic-speaking population, it's actually very rare among native weegies)
posted by bonaldi at 4:38 PM on January 29, 2010

Could she have been saying "Hell mend you"? That's a Glaswegian address to a person who "despite all warnings continues on a course likely to bring trouble on his own head."
posted by languagehat at 4:49 PM on January 29, 2010

Hmm yeah. Mind yer manners or watch yer manners would be my guess, but neither are that common. Can't get much else from what you've written.
posted by fire&wings at 4:50 PM on January 29, 2010

"Hell mend you" is a good suggestion, actually, although it's usually used as the conclusion to a fight where someone is rejecting advice, as in:
"You keep boozing like that and ye're gonnae come a cropper"
"nawmurnae; ah kin haud mah drink. ahm away tae the pub"
"well, hell mend ye"

I can't think of it being used in a "stop!" way.
posted by bonaldi at 4:57 PM on January 29, 2010

haudyerhorses / haudyerwheesht?
posted by scruss at 5:05 PM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

"hell mind ye" always struck me (American with Aberdeen-born family) as the Scottish equivalent to "mmhmm good luck with that" or "suit yourself." Less fighty, more resigned.
posted by zoomorphic at 5:36 PM on January 29, 2010

h is not really a letter in Gaelic. Could it have started with a ch sound as in 'loch'? Chaidh is go (sounds like haa with the h being more like the ch in loch). My mother used to shout something at us that would have sounded like 'haa le yach'. Could that have been it?
posted by IanMorr at 6:00 PM on January 29, 2010

Response by poster: Well, the family is gathered here for Grandma's memorial service. We don't think she was swearing, but it's possible she got it from someone else and didn't know. Maybe "Hell mend ye" or something like IanMorr says.

Maybe it didn't mean stop. It was something she'd shout to tell us "no" or"stop" when we were kids getting into her candy jar or whatever.
posted by acoutu at 9:06 PM on January 29, 2010

Could she have been speaking Welsh?

I know it is a totally different language.

My own family has hazy Celtic origins, but I've come to realize part of the confusion is that they are more Welsh than they admit. Migrated to America circa 1900's.
posted by jbenben at 10:16 PM on January 29, 2010

Response by poster: I doubt it would be Welsh. She moved to Canada from Scotland just after WWII. She probably heard it as a kid and didn't have any reference point by her early 20s when she used it on her own kids and then later her grandkids. My mom is saying she thought it was more like "heishamanina".
posted by acoutu at 10:35 PM on January 29, 2010

Best answer: "heishamanina".
Said quickly enough, that strikes me like wheeshtaminnit would sound after transatlantic signal loss. wheesh' a minna' na = wheesht a minute now (wheesht = hush). In other words, "shut it".
posted by bonaldi at 10:52 PM on January 29, 2010

Best answer: I'm wonderind if the 'heish' part could be similar to the Irish Gaelic, éist, which means to listen ?
Sometimes a prefix of h is placed before an e.

So, maybe bonaldi's explanation is closet.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 5:12 AM on January 30, 2010

Response by poster: Oh, I like those. Okay. That helps. It's bugged me since I was little. :) Thanks so much.
posted by acoutu at 10:29 AM on January 30, 2010

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