There is an expression very common to every day speech of the part of Scotland from which I come which sounds odd when literally translated into English; and that is “kin’ o” or as it is pronounced, “kinna.” This turn of phrase is characteristic of that Scots caution which is proverbial.
The canny Scot does not commit himself without a reserve to definite statements. “It’s kinna wat the day.” “Ah had a kinna sair throat.” “She’s no kinna weel the noo.” and so on.
Sometimes a narrative is rendered almost ludicrous by a constant repetition of the phrase. I heard a Scotch woman talking about a neighbour who was “a kinna jiner but he took a kinna sair back and couldna work. So he started a kinna shope. That didna dae and there was a wee bit park ahint his hoose whaur he had a kinna shed and he kept a kinna horse…” But the “kinna horse was too much for my gravity.
It reminded me of an ancient relative of my own who, country fashion, before the milking began, took her guests upstairs to inspect the contents of her wardrobe. Fresh from an English school I used to notice all their quaint Scotticisms much more readily these days of my childhood and than I do now.
Among her gowns was a black one which she accounted for by remarking that “When Davy kin o’ dee’ed ah had tae get a black frock.” “Kin’ o’ dee’ed has been a family joke with us ever since. (It may be recalled that Margaret Shanks’ grandfather was David Smith).