My toast the day is wir gran mither tongue - April 11, 2005
Author(s): Robbie Shepherd
Copyright holder(s): Robbie Shepherd
Fit a gran nicht we hid, as John Mearns wid o said, wi thoosans o pouns inta the kypie o es maist worthy institution.
Weel, wi Jim McColl, Jack Webster, Robert Lovie, Adam McNaughton an Glenfiddich Fiddle Champion Ross Thomson taakin turns on stage, it cwidna fail - Robert taakin the hoose doon wi Ian Middleton's poem Teen Short: I needna explain fit at wis aa aboot. The twa short wirds o the title tells aa.
It wis my great pleasure to tak on the role o compere an my link tae the biannual event wis throwe Edyth Argo, sister o ma first radio producer, an aathority on traditional sang an music, the late Arthur Argo.
SO, ON THE menchin o poets an the mither tongue, lat's stick wi that the day, startin wi an afa fine letter fae Margaret Lowe, o Kingswells, expressin her delight at me reading oot a George Stephen poem on radio a wikk bi Sunday an includin him in last wikk's column.
As I said, George Stephen wis Lord Provost o oor city back in the 1950s and Margaret his lang been disappintit that his poems an hymns hinna hid mair recognition. He wis a cousin o her faither's an she's fortunate tae hae in her possession twa o's scrapbooks wi cuttins o his early wark publish't in different papers, including the Buchanie, People's Journal an Evening Express.
She wis kind eneuch tae sen me in an article he wrote under the name o Russell Greenleaf aboot a denner for Charles Murray. Written early last century, it maks gran reading as George praises "the unfailing charm and expressive beauty of our Aberdeenshire Doric".
"Why do we despise the Doric and disdain so frequently its use in conversation? When one listens to the mongrel English that passes for superior speech, the smart twang that affects culture and the Yankee home on holiday 'guessing' how best to get 'a hustle on', one sighs for the sound of 'Ay, fairly' spoken bi some Buchan loon ahin a ploo." His toast, as is mine the day, wis tae the continuing use o wir mither tongue "in which so much of our best poetry and prose has been written, something distinctive of our character and climate and possessing the note of true culture".
THAT snatch o a verse I quote at the heid o the column cam fae a poem o David Grant gyan back near a hunner eer afore George Stephen expressin the same sentiments an it wis David that scriev't The Muckle Spate o Twenty-Nine, sae graphically describit in braid Scots.
I took it fae the North-East Muse Anthology, publish't bi the Press and Journal an edited by the late Cuthbert Graham. Nae praise can be high eneuch for fit Cuthbert did for oor north-east culture - a great man o modest bearin.
NOO tae tidy up an antrin wird arisin oot o es column. Stanley Rothney, anither fine aathority on oor tongue an on fairmin in days gone by, brocht up the wird "forhooiet" anent the Teuchat's Storm.
He myns on traivellin ahin horse an harra, skirtin gingerly roon a nest an, if at wisna possible, liftin it cannie-like in case the teuchat wad forhooie (abandon) her bit hoosie biggit on the bare grun.
It wis the same for us as bairns rypin eggs for oor collection. We were warn't jist tae tak the een an nae disturb the nest in case the birdie forhooiet her unborn young.
NOO, reluctant tho I be, I feel I maun feenish the day bi explainin the reference tae the "singin hens" last wikk.
This wis fin a wifie had tae sign at the droggists for meth an write doon fit it wis for. It wis for singein hens an ma mither confirms it wis athoot the "e" in Doric, singin hens.
Oh, it brocht back the verra smell tae Esma on watchin her mither, efter pluckin a hen, pittin a suppie o meth in a tin lid, syne lichtin a spunk till't an then haudin the bare hen abeen the flame turning roon an roon, furlin back an fore singin the fluffy down maakin't ready for the pot.
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My toast the day is wir gran mither tongue - April 11, 2005. 2022. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved June 2022, from http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1037.
"My toast the day is wir gran mither tongue - April 11, 2005." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2022. Web. June 2022. http://www.scottishcorpus.ac.uk/document/?documentid=1037.
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