LAST wik Ah hoppit in an Aiberdeen taxi an telt the driver far Ah wis gaun. The ferst thing he says tae ma wis “At’s an affa kwintra tongue in yer heid. Are ye a teuchter?”. Ah puffed oot ma kist like some kyne o poultry an proodly telt him; “Aye, Ah am a teuchter”. This kyne o encounter has nae doot happened tae coontless North-East fowk, coontless times ower their lives, an a maist o the time they will gie the same repone as Ah gied – ane fu o pride. Tae mony o us it’s a term deeply associatit wi oor identity – it’s jist fa we are. That micht cam as a bittie o a surprise though, fan ye taak tent o the dictionary definition o the ward.

The Concise Scots Dictionary cries the term a derogatory wye tae describe an “uncouth countrified person”, an subtly hints tae the fact that it wis used bi Lowlanders tae insult them fa cam fae the Highlands. Noo, wi the North East fittin in tae the geographical boundries o the Lowlands, ‘at means that we noo identify strangly wi a ward that oor ancestors micht hae hurrled as an insult at their enemies, fae a totally different region tae oor ain. We’re caain oorsels bi oor ain insult.

As wi ony ward associatit wi identity, “teuchter”, fan used nooadays in the doric spikkin warld has a plethora o meanins an connotations. The maist simple meanin o the term is “kwintra”. If ye idenify as a teuchter then ye maist likely cam fae or bide in the kwintra. But, it’s nae jist as straight forrit as that. As weel as the term bein a wye tae differentiate atween toonsers and kwintra-fowk, it’s aye aften used bi fowk fae the costal areas o the North-East fan refferin tae them fae mair in-land. Sae ye can still be a teuchter fan ye bide in Turra, even though Turra is technically a toon. Aside fae definin fit it actually taaks tae qualify as a teuchter, aire’s aye been false, negative connotations tae gang wi the term an aa, as is usually the case regardin rural fowk an areas.

The maist untrue, an frustratin o these assumptions bein that teuchters are stupit an undeducatit. This is in acordance wi The Concise Scots Dictionary, and the ootdatet defintion o the ward. Of course, this could be far the stereotype cams fae, alangside the generalisation that fowk fae rural areas are nae sae clever as toonsers. Nivertheless, it’s simply nae true. Modern day teuchters cam in aa shapes an sizes. Aye some o us prefer tae wark wi oor hauns on a fairm tae academia, but aire’s still thoosands o us fa gang tae college an university, fa hae oor ain businesses an so on. ‘At kyne o diversity is appairent in mony a cultural group aroon the warld.

Tryin tae finn translations o the ward in tae ither leids is nae easy. The nearest in Inglis is maist likely tae be “country-bumpkin”. Nanetheless, it’s nae a true translation considerin that country-bumpkin is a generalisation an disnae comply wi the idea that aire’s a requirement for the ward tae be in relation tae a specific region. Again it cams wi aa the negativity that is unfairly attributed tae kwintra-fowk, sic as bein uneducatit an inferior tae toonsers. Sae, teuchter and country-bumpkin disnae really mean the same thing at aa, meanin that aire’s nae a sufficient translation o the ward in tae the Inglis leid.

Polish leid has the term “burak”, fit again means somethin simmilar tae teuchter, but disnae quite hit the nail on the heid. ‘Burak’ can, at times, be seen as derogatory, but it can also be seen as a bit o a joke atween pals an aa. It literally means “beetroot”, sae it disnae lose the essence o the idea that us fowk fae the kwintra are closer tae nature (though this is nae aye the case wi teuchters, since ye get toonsers fa identify as teuchters). The fact that it has been used tae degrade fowk, but is noo aften used as a friendly wye tae refer tae somebody fae the kwintra maaks it the closest term tae teuchter that Ah’ve funn in ony leid.

“Chicano” is a term fit has been chosen bi some Mexican-Americans in the United States tae express their identity. Fooiver, ower history it’s a term that has been spat aff o fowks tongues like a bad taste. It, like teuchter, has previously been seen as, an tae this day is still sometimes seen as, derogatory an has been classed as bein the slander o a specific ethnic group. Mebbe aire’s mair similarities atween teuchters and Chicanos than meets the een, as Chicanos hiv also stairted tae taak back this ward as their ain. Ane o the wyes that they’ve been daein this is releasin an publishin Chicano music an literature, in a mixture o Inglis, Spanish an ither Mexican dialects sic as Tex-Mex, thus provin their legitimacy as a culture, an reclaimin the term Chicano for guid. For hunners o ‘ears aire’s been teuchter sangs an scrievin in existence, again in a mixture o Doric, Scots an Inglis. Could it be that us teuchters hiv been restitutin the term for centuries athoot really noticin, or even meanin tae?

At the end o the day it disnae really maitter ower muckle foo and fan we stoppit hurrlin ‘teuchter’ as an insult at oor highland enemies an stairted proodly usin the ward tae describe oor ain identities. Fit maitters is the noo. Fit maitters is that it’s kent that teuchters are quines, teuchters are loons, teuchters are young, an teuchters are auld. Some teuchters bide in the kwintra, some teuchters bide in the toon. Some teuchters are fairmers, some teuchters are doctors an some teuchters are even politicians. Teuchter is nae a derogatory term, an nae langer an insult, but a wye tae describe a culture an aa the fowk fa belong tae it. It’s aboot time that ‘at wis recognised bi aabody.