A muffit of tea

‘Do you want a muffit of tea?’ This expression – if you’re unfamiliar with it – can be heard in a short sketch by the Scottish comedian Brian Limond, aka Limmy, in series 2 of his brilliant Limmy’s Show:

*

*

As well as being a wry comment on how new usages can spread, the sketch got me thinking about words that are used informally by small groups but never go beyond that (and aren’t meant to), like codes and catchphrases that develop within circles of friends, peer groups and families. I’ve been compiling a list of expressions used uniquely by my siblings and me, and they would baffle anyone outside the family.

The muffit sketch shows the expert control of expectations, timing and tone characteristic of Limmy’s Show, while the closing moments hint at its more serious side. (Here’s a couple of good reviews of this highly original comedy.) I like the Glasgow dialect, but some may find it occasionally difficult to follow, so I’ve included a transcript below, adapted slightly from material (PDF) on Limmy’s website.

*

DONNIE: The week from hell, so he’ll probably be drinking himself into oblivion tonight.

LIMMY: Aye. So d’you want to just head round now, or…?

D: Naw, we’ve got another 20 minutes. D’you want a drink? Beer? Coke? Muffit of tea?

L: Aye, just get us a… a what?

D: Beer? Coke?

L: No, the other thing.

D: Tea?

L: Aye, but what did you say? A what of tea?

D: A muffit. A muffit of tea.

L: A muffit of tea?

D: Aye.

L: What’s a muffit of tea?

D: A muffit of tea, a cup of tea.

L: What’s a muffit?

D: A cup.

L: What, is it a type of cup?

D: Naw, it’s just a cup, it’s just another word for a cup.

L: Since when?

D: I don’t know. Look, d’you want one or not?

L: Aye, get us a tea. A cup of tea. (To himself) Muffit?

 

DEBBIE: What d’you want for dinner?

LIMMY: Eh, I don’t know, spaghetti bolognese.

D: Well we need to get mince, and we’ve ran out of teabags and all.

L: Oh here, that reminds us, wait’ll you hear this. See when I was in Donnie’s, he said, ‘D’you want anything to drink?’, and one of the things he offered us was… a muffit of tea. A muffit of tea.

D: Aye, that is a bit civilised.

L: Did you hear what I said? A muffit of tea. A muffit.

D: I heard you.

L: Oh, no you anaw. [not you and all, i.e., not you too]

D: No me anaw what?

L: What’s a muffit of tea?

D: A cup of tea.

L: What?!

D: Och, just go and hurry up and get teabags. And remember to get mince.

L: (To himself) Has everybody lost their mind?

 

WAITER: Yes, sir, what can I get you.

LIMMY: Eh, can I have a coronation chicken focaccia please?

W: D’you want something to drink with that?

L: Aye, can I have a… Can I have a tea, please?

W: Yep. Is that a, a pot of tea?

L: Naw, just a… Fuck it. A muffit of tea.

W: Ahahaha, you said a muffit!

DEBBIE: A muffit? What’s a muffit?

DONNIE: ‘Can I have a muffit of tea?’, hahaha! Aw, mate.

L: Aw how stupid of me! How stupid and weak-minded of me to start calling something by another name for no reason other than that’s what everybody else is calling it now! D’you know what I mean?

8 Responses to A muffit of tea

  1. wisewebwoman says:

    Love Limmy. And yes, can relate to family words. One our best is “bunga” which can be best defined as “layabout on government benefits.”

    XO
    WWW

  2. jecgenovese says:

    Reblogged this on peakmemory and commented:
    The muffit sketch

  3. Reblogged this on mareeleesa05/i-promote and commented:
    This is hilarious! :)

  4. Alina Cincan says:

    That was highly entertaining, Stan! :) I think I might adopt that: ‘a muffit of tea’. Thanks for providing the transcript as well, though I did get most of it without reading it.

    Regarding phrases and words that are unique to certain groups, my partner and I have quite a few of those. They would certainly not make sense to anyone else. Sometimes, one of us would happen to say one of these in front of others and their baffled expressions made it clear they had no idea what we meant. It is kind of cool actually :)

  5. Stan Carey says:

    WWW: I love him too; the characters he creates are inspired. Bunga is a good word. One of ours is honk as an exclamation of dissatisfaction, though we don’t use it so much any more.

    Alina: A muffit of tea would go well with a muffin. I’m tempted to adopt it as well. :-) That’s the thing about having private or in-group words: it can lead to funny or interesting situations when they’re used in front of other people.

  6. lonelygramma says:

    In our family, a pepper grinder is called a “Brad”. It comes from those obnoxious servers in restaurants in the 1970’s who were invariably named “Brad” who come up to your table with a gigantic pepper mill and ask if you want pepper on your meal.

    So its not unusual at family dinners now for someone to ask you to pass the Brad. Nobody else in the world understands it, but its pretty common usage with my sibs.

    I will now adopt “Muffit of Tea” and see how far it gets in my lifetime…..

  7. […] [For more linguistic fun from Limmy, albeit non-sweary, see my post on his sketch ‘A muffit of tea’.] […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s