Document 1810

Scots Tung Wittins 159

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 159
Feb 2007

Keep a guid Scots Tung in yer heid, hert an mooth!!

[NOTE: logo here of the dot Sco in original]
Scots Tung WITTINS

Eydently Campaignin tae Uphaud the Scots Language
Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber] Scots Tung wabsite: Stravaiger Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber]

Auld Scots Writin For The Day's Speakers' Een
[NOTE: image here of the original 1568 text]
THE third edeition o "Discover", the magazine o the National Library o Scotland, cairries wittins o its complouteration wi the Scots Language Centre an its new wabsite,
The NLS ettles tae mak reglar contributions tae the site wi a different historical exemplar o screivit Scots bein uploadit ilka month. This month's exemplar (see pairt copy ablow) is taen frae the NLS's rerr buik collections. It wis written in 1568 in late Middle Scots bi Gilbert Skeyne an cairries instructions on hou tae evyte infection frae the plague that wis soupin throu Edinburgh at the time. It is the airliest kent medical document written in the vernacular Scots language an wis furthset this wey sae its word wad reach the braidest nummer o the population.

This 1568 writin isnae aw that hard tae read yince ye get yaised tae the auld farrant font that wis yaised. Gin it wis prentit in a mair modern font it micht hiv luikit like the follaein:-

Preservatioun fra the pest C.2.7.
THE principal preservative cure of the pest is, to returne to God, quha is maist puissant with ane affectionat and ardent will and hart, to imploir the support of his Majestie, be the intercessioun of his deir Sone Jesus Christ, to pacifie his wrathe aganis us takand away sic punischement; and as he hes saifit us fra eternall dethe, so he wald saif us fra the corporall dethe quhilk justlie for oure demeritis persecutis us. Thairfor not pretermittand sic support as it hes plesit his Godlie will to schaw us, be guid succes of dew prescriptioun of nature be quhilk meanis, reasone preservuis preservatioun to cosist in twa thingis: first to prepair the bodie apte to purgatioun: Secundly to mak it quhilk may offend debile in actione or impressioun. B.

The Director o the SLC, Michael Hance, walcomed this complouteration wi the NLS an threapit that they wantit tae shaw that the Scots language haes been pairt o oor culture for mony centuries an they war delichtit that the NLS wis blithe tae wark wi thaim in forderin sic an important pairt o the wabsite.

Forbye the NLS, the SLC wabsite shaws contributions frae popular braidcasters the likes o Billy Kay an Mary Blance, an it ettles tae shaw baith written an spoken Scots an tae uphaud Scots speakers in keepin the language alive.

Scots speakers an ithers interestit in the Scots language can dae nae better nor gie a visit tae this new wabsite o the Scots Language Centre an the abuin item can be gotten in aither Scots or English at the follaein URL:-

A BBC Scunner
BBC Scotland's raicent "Hogmanay Live" shaw maun rank as yin o the warst yet an thon's really sayin somethin. Set in the Gret Ha o Edinburgh castle, it tried its best tae match the souch o the White Heather Club shaws frae the BBC's imperial bygane an gied faur ower muckle un-natural exposure tae Jackie Bird's wallies.

The nethermaist pynt o the hail nicht wis shuirly thon "Scots" laddie in the tartan troosers wi a shaky leg an a readin problem, singin Auld Lang "Zine" (Syne). Rabbie maun hae been birlin in his grave. It maks ye wunner hou he wad pronounce yin o the word's English meanins, "since". Wad he really pronounce it as "zince"?

Ally Bain, Phil Cunningham an some o the ither airtists wis fu o thair usual excellence but maun hae felt richt oot o place in sic a "Brigadoon" like production an whiles, the sheepish expression on thair faces juist seemed tae beir this oot.

When o when is the BBC gaun tae discover the real Scotland?

Appearinly no till they gie up aw thegither an let the real Scots professionals like Ally an Phil get on wi thair ain production for Hogmanay athoot ony fause ootlin interference. The scunnert Scottish nation deserves naethin less for its ain Hogmanay in 2007.

Burns Suppers
BURNS Nicht faws for ordinar on Januar 25 but Burns Suppers can be hauden onywhaur athin reach o thon date an whiles can be fund raxin intae Februar if some organisations wants tae get haud o guid speakers an is prepared tae wait till they hae a free date.

Some Burns Suppers is formal an hauds tae the bona fide recitations o Rabbie's warks an ithers is mair informal an yaises a mixter maxter o the bona fide an the mair jovial adaptations o his warks but there nae doot aboot whit kind the Bard wad be mair at hame wi.

It haes tae be said tho that the highlicht o ony Burns Supper maun shuirly be the Immortal Memory. This is whaur the speaker gies a history o the life o Robert Burns an eiks a consait or twa o whit it aw biles doon tae. In the coorse o this maist speakers will tell thair audience that Robert Burns' faither wis cried William Burnes but they will pronounce his name as "Burness" insteid o "Burns". This is juist as wrang as pronouncin Barnes as "Barness" an highlichts the speaker's ignorance o the fact that, unlike English, Scots haes never haed a standart orthography - a standart wey o spellin ilka word. In aulder forms o Scots the penultimate "e", "i" or "y" wis maistlins silent an "Burnes" is juist an aulder wey o spellin "Burns" but baith forms wis aye soundit as "Burns". In thae days whan maist fowk wis illiterate the chyce o spellin wis aye left tae the screiver that wis daein the writin an wi nae standart orthography maist o thaim haed thair ain wey o spellin words. Sae, if at the Burns Nicht that you gaed tae the speaker tried tae tell ye that the Bard's faither wis cried William "Burness" juist you gaun an get him telt!

Scots Tung WITTINS
On the wab.
Mair raicent copies o the Scots Tung Wittins can be gotten in pdf format frae Scots Tung‟s wabsite at:-
A hard copy o STW is sent free o chairge tae aw maimbers o Scots Tung ilka month.
Maimbership subscreivins is £5 (Scotland/UK)
Peyed ilka September. €9 (Ireland/EU)

The New Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border 1805 - 2005
Bi Walter Elliot. A review bi Irene Broon (Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)
MAIR years syne nor A care tae mind o, A screivit an essay aboot the vailye o historical study. In the foremaist paragraph, A quotit frae a source that micht hiv been apocryphal, sayin that a body shuid bide whaur they hae a history. (It is attributit tae a wyce auld wumman addressin a stravaigin Vietnam veteran in the US). Athoot that history, there can be a sense o ruitlessness an a feelin o no belangin. It is, efter aw, shared experience that helps tae big a pairsonal history as pairt o a braider social history.

Walter Elliot is steepit in Border history. He wis born in Selkirk in 1934 an grew up in the Ettrick Valley. He served his twa year Naitional Service wi the King's Own Scottish Borderers, then warkit as a fencin contractor an wuidcutter. This ootdoor wark alloued him tae tak guid tent o the history o the Borders in the landscape. Eikit tae this, the words o tradeitional poems an sangs o the airt gied him a soond unnerstaundin o his environment an its history. Aw this shaws in high relief on ilka page o his raicently furthset The New Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border 1805-2005. This is the saicont Borders' Minstrelsy. The first wis publisht aroond 1804 bi Sir Walter Scott an wis the ingaitherin o the Border Ballads in prent for posterity.

They telt o battles, raids an rievers in a romantic style that haes confuised history. Walter Elliot haes picked up this threid but haes woven his claith in a plainer but truer form cause his stories comes frae the mooths o warkin fowk. The buik gies vyce tae bondagers, ploumen, cairters, drovers, shepherds, anglers, weavers, hoosewifes, tramps, emigrants an immigrants throu warks bi gey near 150 poets. Some o the poems in the collection haes been recordit in dialect for posterity.

In siccar Borderer fashion, Walter Elliot is sweir tae blaw his ain trumpet, awnin,

"Ah am nae poet but Ah rhyme
For pleisur or tae pass the time
Recordin orra things Ah see
Or tales that are passed doun tae me."

He haes yaised thae criteria in his chyce o poems: yins that haes rhyme an rhythm while tellin a tale an shawin the chynges ower twa hunner year. Whit Walter Elliot daes hae is a balanced view o language an its yuiss. His first chapter is cried Language an is weel worthwhile readin for onybody interestit in writin in Scots. In his innin he says, "Scots is still the spoken language of most Borderers although few write in it." (A lesson somewhaur for thaim that chuises it as thair written form, but that chuises no tae speak it). He writes o the difficulties dreed when writin in a language wi nae formal orthography an hou a body is aye open tae criticism o spellin a word in yin wey raither nor anither. Twa pages o this section is written bi Walter Elliot in his ain vairsion o a Mid Ettrick dialeck tae pruive his pynt. He haes a gey balanced view o the yuiss o language, decidin that English is "the most useful one for communication in today's world" an dingin doon the consait that sic a thing as 'pure Border Scots' exists. (see the Makar's Neuk) Maist importantly, he writes his verse in his ain vyce, no in a pitten on Scots tae please a trend. He acknowledges that e'en Scots speakers can find it fykie tae read the language but that spoken Scots isnae deein, juist chyngin like ony ither language.

Bi its vera nature, this compilation is esoteric tae Borderers that will recognise characters an characteristics an enjoy this in weys that "stoorie feet" widnae. Howanever, onybody interestit in social history will gain muckle bi readin this buik. Hou mony fowk kent that it wis a Borderer, Henry Francis Lyte, that wrate the hymn Abide with me or that there wis tradeitions like Barrin Oot Day an sic a thing as the Hill Post or that the poem Mortality written bi William Knox o Lilliesleaf wis a favourite poem o Abraham Lincoln? Ilka yin o the 21 chapters that covers topics as braid reingin as war, angling, rugby, religion, can be read independently an ilka yin shaws Walter Elliot's deep yet unblinkered love o his ain Border country. His ain balanced consait is summed up in the hinnermaist poem in the buik, The Conservationist bi Tim Douglas, that he descrives as "one of the best poems about the Borders that I have ever read". As it's aboot leukin forrit while at the same time awnin the past, an sae creatin new histories, A wad agree.

The New Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border 1805-2005 ingaithert, compiled an written bi Walter Elliot is publisht bi Deerpark Press, Selkirk.
ISBN13:978-0-9541979-3-3 price £19.95 © Irene Broon

Bilinguals an Dementia
EUROLANG reports on twa studies that spells guid news for bilingual fowk but bad news for monolinguals. The results frae the studies that leukit intae memory an senility in 2004 an dementia in 2006, shaws a haud back in the oncome o senility an dementia in bilinguals.

The first study, furthset in 2004 bi Ellen Bialystock o York University in Toronto, Canada, discovert that symptoms o senility averaged at 71.4 year auld in monolingual fowk, agin 75.5 for thaim that's bilingual. The exemplar wis makit up frae English monolinguals an French-English bilinguals. The difference steyed the same whan the level o education, gender, social backgrund an country o origin wis taen intae conseideration. Nae pharmalogical treatment haes sic an effect as spectacular as speakin twa languages, accordin tae the Canadian researchers, that pynts oot that thae results is preliminary.

The 2006 study, juist furthset, leukit intae the effect o lifelang bilingualism an haudin on tae cognitive functionin an pittin aff the onset o symptoms o dementia in auld age. The ensample wis taen frae the records o 228 patients that wis referred on tae a Memory Clinic wi cognitive complaints. The hinnermaist exemplars indicatit that bilinguals shawed symptoms o dementia fower year later nor monolinguals.

Makar's Neuk
Pure Border Scots

In the land o the Borders, ye'll find there are lots
O fowk whae speak in a pure Border Scots.
Bit is it? Ah've quaistioned that theory o late;
It isnae that pure as Ah'll now demonstrate.

When the Romans left here, the tongue that was spoken
Was a form o Welsh - an No; Ah'm no joken.
Welsh lested a while until the time when
Some Germans sailed owre frae a place, Angeln.
Of Course, they spoke German tho historians hide
An caa it "Old English" for the sake o their pride.

Then oot o the North, a peculiar mix,
An airmy composed o the Scots an the Picts
Conquered at Carham; sae Scots Gaelic was flung
Intae the mix o the "pure" Border tongue.
Bit the Scots cam frae Ireland, gaun back a guid while
In big leather boats an hed settled Argyll.
The lands aroond Dublin wi its Viking Remains
Then kindly chipped in an sent us some Danes.

Efter a while, David cam up frae the Sooth
Wi scarcely yin guid Scots word in his mooth,
Accompanied bie Norman-French freends in wee bands,
He settled thaem here an gied them wide lands.
(The Normans were Vikings whae hed lost their wey
When they landit in France an decided tae stey.)
Sae that added French whuch was spoke wi decorum
Intae oor language - it made quite a jorum.

As oo traded wi Hamburg an Holland an such
This gied us mair German an a wheen words o Dutch.
The Gypsies frae Yetholm then topped up the lot
Bie chucken some Hindi words intae the pot.

The language o pure Border Scots, ye can tell,
Is a source o great pride as Ah speak it masel.
It's maybe no "pure" as Ah've telt ye at length
Tho variety gies it its vigour an strength.

Frae "Jorum"
(Border Scots for "mixter")
Bi Walter Elliot

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APA Style:

Scots Tung Wittins 159. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 16 June 2024, from

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"Scots Tung Wittins 159." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 16 June 2024.

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2024. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 1810

Scots Tung Wittins 159


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2479
General description monthly newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)

Text publication details

Publisher Scots Tung
Publication year 2007
Part of a longer series of texts
Name of series Scots Tung Wittins

Text type

Prose: nonfiction
Other mixed text type


Author details

Author id 95
Forenames Robert
Surname Fairnie
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment College
Age left school 16
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Consultant Marine Structural Engineer (Retired)
Place of birth Musselburgh
Region of birth Midlothian
Birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Musselburgh
Region of residence Midlothian
Residence CSD dialect area midLoth
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Fisherman
Father's place of birth Musselburgh
Father's region of birth Midlothian
Father's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Father's country of birth Scotland
Mother's occupation Fishwife
Mother's place of birth Musselburgh
Mother's region of birth Midlothian
Mother's birthplace CSD dialect area midLoth
Mother's country of birth Scotland


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes At work
German Yes Yes Yes Yes In Germany to communicate with two grandsons
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes Wherever Scots is understood