Document 1817

Scots Tung Wittins 166

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 166
Sept 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]

Doric Taks A Guid Polish
DORIC beirs the gree weel aheid o the mainstream Scots language muvement. A BBC report tells aboot a group that's learnin Polish weemin hou tae speak the Doric an haes juist been gien a daud o siller tae keep its heid abuin watter.

The community haed been feart the projeck wad hae tae shut doon for want o siller an then Aiberdeen City Cooncil loupit in an gied it £4000 tae lest for the lave o the year. It threapit an aw that it wad ettle tae fund weys o keepin the group gaun for a while langer intae the oncome.

The Polish weemin's group wis setten up in Torry tae help weemin frae Poland tae mell intae the airt bi rinnin clesses whaur local weemin cuid lairn tae speak Polish an the Polish weemin cuid try thair haund at speakin the Doric an English. The projeck haes been a muckle success up tae noo an organisers says it haes helpit tae ding doon some o the tensions atween the twa communities. Lang mey its lum reek!

Wi no hivin cam up throu the Scottish education system, thae Polish weemin will be free o the politically imposed socio-linguistic brain-washin an its associatit inhibitions. Thon's whit gars the feck o oor professional Scots tae creenge the day at the thocht o speakin Scots as a language in conversation. The only raison they dae that is cause Liberal politicians in the bygane decreed they wad be gart tae think that wey. It's a richt sair thing for the Scots language the day tae see sae mony o its upsteerers still giein in tae sic bare-faced political jiggery-pokery.

Efter a gey puir repone tae Colin Wilson's proponed Scots speakin clesses that gaed oot wi the Wittins lest month, it disnae luik as if there gaun tae be muckle want for adult Scots speakin clesses ootside o the Doric airts. Howanever, if the day e'er daws whan aw Scots upsteerers can thraw aff thair ain political sheckles an adult Scots speakin clesses is in demand furth o the Doric airts, then the Scots language muvement micht weel be richt thankfu for a curn o Doric speakin Polish weemin that can help tae ease the scant o Scots speakin teachers or help upsteerers that's no canty wi spoken Scots.

Please! - Gie's a Brek
CAN A mak a plea on behauf o the fowk that claims tae want tae lairn Scots but wha seem no willin tae spik it? It maun be easy eneuch tae spik Scots gin it's yer ain mither tung; but for ither fowk it michtnae be their first leid at aw.

Gin as a bairn ye were (metaphorically) brankit for spikkin Scots, ye wull hae pitten awa yer Scots in some daurk press o the mind. The key wis lang syne tint. It's no easy tae open up an dae fit wis sae forciely forbidden!

A wheen Scots words micht be raxed oot o the press but, for masel, A dinnae hae a muckle vocabular. A'll suin grind til a staundstill. A need a guid vocabular fir ilka subject - an aw the ither leid-words forbye. An A need tae hear it an tae practise it (aften!) juist like ony ither fremmit leid.

Gin A ken that the fowk A'm spikkin tae can unnerstaund English, of course A'll revert tae it. Fit's "slowly" in Scots? Foo dae A say "slowly"? A need an English-Scots dictionar an a thesaurus. An whit tae say or fit tae say depends on whit (or quhilk) form o Scots A'm ettlin tae spik. Or a mixter-maxter fae twa three airts?

Sae dinnae think A'm a cockapentie wi a self-image tae preserve. A dinnae want tae tak guilt tae masel fir yaisin English tae jyne up ma Scots wurds. It's juist that A dinnae spik Scots verra weel!
Heather Thom

Editor's Consaits
THE abuin letter writer wis juist ane o the haundfu o fowk that shawed ony interest in the Scots speakin clesses proponed in lest month's Scots Tung Wittins an the only ane that speirt for her letter tae be makit public in this newsletter. The STW is gey thankfu tae her for this.

For a body that threaps a sair want o Scots vocabular, Heather writes a no bad Scots letter an, syne she awns it's the speakin o the language that's sairest for her tae beir, it juist gauns tae highlicht the fack that, gin a body's no a hamelt Scots speaker, it's a guid sicht easier tae write in Scots nor it is tae converse in it in mixed company.

Tae fowk o oor generation, it's easy tae see whit wey she wad aye chynge back tae English in English speakin company for that's the wey we war learned at the schuil. English wis "polite" an Scots wis "rude or common". Ye aye haed tae be polite in polite company. Howanever, cairryin on wi this concep can only be tae the guid o English at the expense o Scots an, gin Scots upsteerers is wantin tae be serious aboot hainin an forderin the language, they maun ettle tae be mair aggressive an force the Scots language oot o the informal an intae the formal situations. Efter aw the Scottish estaiblishment isnae gaun tae invite Scots intae thair ain formal domains. The sleekit wey they dinnae cairry oot the requirements o the European Chairter for Regional or Minority Languages is a guid exemplar o this. Sae it's up tae aw Scots upsteerers tae stell thair creenge an force an invasion o thae English language domains bi yaisin Scots in thaim.

"Be a Scots language
Dinnae be
a feardie."

Heather cries doon her ain Scots abeilities for no haein the vocabular tae evyte yaisin English tae jyne up her Scots words. This is a consait hauden bi ower mony literate Scots language upsteerers the day an leads tae an airtificial kinna Scots that never haes been spoken an isnae spoken the day e'en bi its writers. Formal written Scots gaun aw the wey back tae aboot 1200 shaws that only aboot 30% o the words in a formal written text is words that's particlar tae Scots an the ither 70% is words that's shared wi the English language. Thae shared words cam intae baith leids aboot the same time sae baith languages haes the same richt tae yaise thaim an cry thaim thair ain. Maist o thae English words Heather an ithers thinks they're yaisin tae jyne up thair Scots words wi is in fack Scots words that English yaises an aw.

(See Official Scots Registers in the Consaits page o the Scots Tung wabsite)

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)

Willie Hershaw's "Makars" Poems In Scots
A review bi Irene Broon (Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)
[NOTE: image of the book cover in original]
WILLIE Hershaw's hinnermaist pamphlet, Makars poems in Scots, isnae juist whit it says on the batter. It's faur mair nor an ingaitherin o 23 sonnets, 15 o whilk is in honour o particlar Scots poets. Thon in itsel wad be a laudable venture an nae sma ploy. This, howanever, is political. As Hershaw threaps, in his innin an agane on the pamphlet's hinnermaist batter, "This is not a parochial concern."

A've been an admirer o Willie Hershaw's wark syne first A cam ower it a puckle year syne an the unnerlyin souch A picked up wis ane o modesty. This wis confirmed on ma cutty an only meetin wi the man airlier this year. That modesty kythed in this pamphlet bi the verra acknowledgement o whit haes gaed afore him tae mak him the Makar he is. Naebody is a tabula rasa but no awbody is big eneugh tae acknowledge it. The sonnet The Inquisition o The Makars is aboot the nichtmare o thae lang deid poets risin frae thair graves tae pynt accusin fingers at Hershaw tae speir "THON CHUCKIE STANE YE TAEN - WHIT DID YE BIG?" as if the wecht o thair heritage lay heavy-like on himsel. He e'en dedicates a sonnet tae thon kenspeckle poet, Anon, bi referrin tae the Ballads o Tam Lin, Thomas the Rhymer, The Twa Corbies an The Cruel Brother/Sister/Mother.

As an English dominie in Scottish schuils for ower 20 year, Hershaw is gey awaur that "Scottish literature, history an music isnae ...embedded in the curriculum the way they should be." It taks an individual teacher, as it did in Hershaw's case, tae enlichten scholars that's apen tae it an whae micht tak it faurer. For thon raison, Hershaw's dissertation wis written on Robert Henrysoun.

The poets kivvert in the pamphlet gauns as faur back as Dunbar, Henrysoun an Lyndsay wi Fergusson, Burns, Soutar, McDiarmid, Goodsir Smith, Garioch an Glen in atween. Ilka sonnet shaws no juist hou acquent Hershaw is wi his craft but wi the life an wark o his predecessors an aw. He peys tribute an aw tae the less weel kent poet, Alistair Mackie, that he sees as a "major poet...overlooked because of the language he chose to write in". The title o Mackie's collection Back Green Odyssy is woven intae the sonnet in the line "...and holidays are fine raxin lang for backgreen odyssys", while he alludes tae Mackie's suspectit depression in the line "Then daws the day when holidays are duin: the black dug yelps, hersel seeks fremmit places."

Ilka sonnet is setten oot in the same format i.e. the sonnet itsel, a vocabular, the name o the poet it's dedicatit tae wi a cutty backgrund particlar tae the theme o the sonnet. Whaur appropriate, Hershaw gies faurer relevant readin. It's plain tae see this is the teacher in him at wark, makin whit cuid be obscure suddenly accessible; a lesson tae selindulgent poets that prefers the esoteric. An aspeck o Hershaw's wark that maks it sae appealin is its accessibility. Whan he comes tae his sonnet tae Duncan Glen, he gies credit tae his influence as Glen " the colloquial dialect ...that is the normal expression of the majority of Scots." Ma impression is that thae sonnets is written in mair dense Scots nor Hershaw's usual style, but for the purpose o the pamphlet it warks an the vocabulars is helpfu. Hershaw smertly yuisses the sonnet Auld Sant Aundrians tae mell in twa three themes, highlichtin 3 poets connectit wi the toun o St Andrews, agane wi a particlar helpfu explanation. Here, as aw throu the pamphlet, texts is suggestit. Thae micht be bi the poets on the theme o the particlar sonnet but there the suggestion an aw o seein Clint Eastwood's film The Unforgiven efter the sonnet Unforgien. Mind, A doot Hershaw is recommendin that we read "trashy bleezy novelettes" the likes o thaim preferred bi The Vital Spark's Dan McPhail whan he rails agin thae "linen suited" writers that micht win prizes but wha dinnae hae Scots in thair herts "or gie twa figs for ma auld bairnheid leid".

We've been hearin a lot thae days aboot the words 'process' an 'event' wi regaird tae devolution. They apply juist as weel tae education. Bein enlichtened or uphaudit juist bi chaunce isnae guid eneugh. This pamphlet is a message tae Scottish education on hou it shuid full its gaps. It's a message an aw tae the likes o me, an ootcome o Scottish education, tae get masel doon tae the SPL (Scottish Poetry Library) an re-acquent masel wi thae Makars.
© Irene Broon
Makars - Poems in Scots publisht bi AKROS
ISBN 78-086142182-4
White Rose o Scotland design bi George Mackie, [CENSORED: postaladdress].

Makar's Neuk
Robert Henrysoun
(He's no been roun syne the Reformatioun)

Speirin the ups and douns ablaw the moun,
Reengin up the New Row in plouterin Joun,
Trauchlin the causies o Dunfermline toun,
Pechtin up stey braes in search o Henrysoun.
King Boab ligs hertless in the Abbey's grouns
Carnegie's millions monie biggins founs,
Margaret's doun the Glen in deep devotioun,
But I cannae fin the bard, Rab Henrysoun.
A dominie in reid medieval goun,
Wha's music dings the constellatiouns,
Wha's morals daurs secularisatioun,
He's juist the boy, the makar Henrysoun!
Now I'm fair wabbit, daunerin roun and roun
The Auld Grey Toun, luikan for Robert Henrysoun.

William Hershaw

Harry Potter
THE kenspeckle Harry Potter buiks haes been owerset intae mair nor fifty warld languages includin the likes o Irish, Welsh, Latin an Auncient Greek. It wis reportit bi Eurolang that the publishers Bloomsbury haed ettilt tae fetch oot a Gaelic vairsion o "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" bi Yule 2006 but thae plans aw fuil throu for whit they cried the want o suitable Gaelic owersetters.

For aw that Bloomsbury aye threaps the day that it haes nae ettles noo tae furthset a Gaelic vairsion o HP, it's comin unner growein pressure tae dae juist that frae the Bòrd na Gàidhlig alang wi Alasdair Allan MSP for the Wastren Isles. Thae upsteerers howps that there a guid chance for this syne the author, JK Rowling bides in Scotland an the Scottish Hielans kythes sae muckle in the Harry Potter picters.

Coorse, thon airgiement cuid be yaised an aw for haein the buiks owerset intae Scots as weel. Wi the ongaun muckle success o Itchy Coo's owersettins intae Scots frae kenspeckle authors the likes o Roald Dahl an Robert Louis Stevenson, it wad seem that there nae want o suitable Scots language owersetters in thon stable.

It wad be a richt kenspeckle day for the Scots language an its culture gin owersettins o JK Rowling's buiks cuid be eikit tae Itchy Coo's CV.

SCOTS Tung's Stravaigin Reporter taen a dander last week tae see whit wis gaun on in the capital's Edinburgh Peace & Justice Resource Centre. Amang aw the stalls wis ane that wis sellin jaurs o jeelie an whan the SR haed a closer keek, she saw the labels on the jaurs wis threapin:-


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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Scots Tung Wittins 166. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 20 April 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 166." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 20 April 2024.

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots Tung Wittins 166," accessed 20 April 2024,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

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


Information about Document 1817

Scots Tung Wittins 166


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2498
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