Linguistically speaking, this means that sometimes the unfamiliar terms that come up in the university's administration-speak are Scottish imports. I'm not sure if we're the only university south of the border in which the year's exam diet is spoken of, but my colleagues who have come from other parts of England to work here find this term as foreign as I do. In Scottish law, a diet is a court session--and in academia it is the series of exams and examination boards (a feat of mind-wrenching administration necessitated by the classification of degrees) that happens at the end of the academic year--i.e. the examination 'session'.
I was reminded of this today when I was filling out a form concerning a new course. It said:
List all the programmes which will include this course. This should include ALL programmes within and outwith your school.This was not the first time I'd encountered outwith where I would say outside or possibly (but only if I wanted to sound highfalutin) without. But this time, I was moved to investigate it, and (whaddya know?) it's marked in my dictionaries as Scottish. (My concise dictionaries say Sc(ottish), while the OED says Now chiefly Sc.) A little further investigation on the (BrE) uni website reveals that the author of the document is a graduate of the University of Aberdeen.
I wondered whether I should start to develop a paranoid theory about the Scottish conspiracy to run my life and drown me in paperwork (for all of my paranoia is deliberate), but then I thought about the fact that all the Scottish people I know are super-nice and very efficient. Contrary to popular stereotypes, they always seem willing to buy a round of drinks. (So what if my sample size is limited to less than a dozen Scots? They're buying!) If these people do have plans to run my life, well, maybe I should let them. Perhaps it'll turn out that all the drink-buying was a ruse, but it's a lot better than the other paranoid fantasies I have to choose from.