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Postby Elanor » 2005-04-12, 18:56

Recently I've been reading the novel "The Wee Free Men" by Terry Pratchett, which tells about a funny folk of pixies (or, pictsies) called the Nac Mac Feegle. In the book they speak, or at least are supposed to speak, Scottish English (I can't judge the authenticity of the language). It was quite funny to try and extract the meaning from their talks and guess what means what.
I had only one major problem - the creatures use the word "Crivens" very often as some kind of swearword or interjection. I couldn't help wondering if this is some real ScE word, or maybe some word intentionally misspelled (to emphasise different pronunciation), or is it simply the author's invention.

OK, I have to admit - if it proves authentic I plan to add it to my active English vocabulary for good ;)

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Postby JackFrost » 2005-04-12, 20:59

Well, I never heard of it, so I looked in the dictionary, and it is not found. The closest word found is "cravens," which means "coward." :)
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Postby ctoncc » 2005-04-12, 22:21

According to the following link it means 'goodness me'

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Postby Stan » 2005-04-13, 21:27

I've never heard that word either and English is my native language :wink: It looks perhaps like a word from Scotland (since of course the book you're reading takes place in Scotland). But I suppose if it's being used as a swearword it could mean the same as "yikes!". Perhaps you could give us a few example sentences from the book that use the word "crivens"?

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Postby Stan » 2005-04-13, 21:30

oh thanks to the poster above that posted that link. It seems I was almost right since "yikes!" is pretty much the same as "goodness me!". Both are used as a statement of shock or surprise, except that nobody ever would say goodness me or "crivens" anymore. :wink:


Postby Elanor » 2005-04-17, 18:57

Thanks for the help. I simply wanted to be sure it isn't some kind of a vulgar or nonexistent word before I started using it.
By the way, the book takes place not in Scotland, but in a fantasy world, but the model was quite obvious.


Postby Guest » 2005-05-20, 20:19

Crivens is a mild expletive that I was familiar with in east-coast Scotland (Angus) in the 1950's and is probably to be found in Oor Wullie and The Broons DC Thompson publications of that era.

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