Document 1825

Scots Tung Wittins 174

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 174
Mey 2008

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]

The Emperor's New Kilt
A Review bi Irene Broon (Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)
[NOTE: a photograph here of the actors performing 'The Emperor's New Kilt']
IN the National Theatre o Scotland an Wee Stories' adaptation o Hans Christian Andersen's The Emperor's New Clothes, the norrie that fantoosh things cannae be seen bi donnert fowk is gien a clivver like innin bi a faimly o twa brithers an a sister gaun on holiday tae the Westren Isles. The Wee Brither an Sister is fair up tae high doh an blithe on the gait, sittin in a motor (repraisentit bi a tartan hap on a bink) an pyntin oot sichts on the wey but the Big Brither can juist see sheep, sheep an mair sheep. He'd raither be in Spain! Whan they win tae thair destination, the Wee Brither finds the islands o Skye, Muck, Rhum, Eigg an – Kiltie. The Big Brither haes tae decide gin he wants tae be seen as glaikit bi no seein this imaginary island or bi gaun alang wi his brithers' gemme. Sae the story gets telt aboot the Laird o Kiltie that loves hissel an his muckle wardrobe o kilts mair nor the fowk an craiturs that shares the island wi him. It's near tae the Laird's burthday an he ettles for a new kilt 'the likes of which has never been seen'. A couple o fly men, Mr Harris an Mr Tweed, arrives on the island an senses an opporchancity. The Laird's burthday is in the winter sae this means the local sheep haes tae be clippit oot o season. The oo frae this is yaised bi the fly men tae mak fleeces tae be selt on the mainland, giein thaim e'en mair profit nor the 'awfie, awfie loat ...' they war bein peyed areddies bi the vauntie, sellie an nou gey fleeced Laird.

The Emperor's New Kilt bi Andy Cannon an Iain Johnstone is tourin frae 12 Aprile tae 28 Juin 2008, eikin in 5 venues in England. That hisnae contered the maistly English dialogue bein smattered wi eneuch Scots tae necessitat a 'Kiltie Glossary' at the hinneren o the program. The maist consistent Scots speaker in the piece wis the character, Mrs McMutton - Mrs McMouton tae the Laird -(Louise Montgomery), wha cooks, cleans an generally 'daes' for the Laird (Iain Johnstone), an haed lines the likes o 'A thoat A'd sheared aa the sheep' an 'A cannae dae it but A've goat tae dae it'. The ither characters disnae juist hae braid Scots accents, but moves easily atween staundart English an Scots English or Scots the likes o whan the Laird shifts frae his inglified tones tae 'ye've goat nae class', 'or 'I'll be a true Scotsman wi naethin oan'. The toun crier turns the tradeitional cry o 'Oyez, oyez' tae 'O youse, O youse'.

The sma cast o five shaws thair versatility bi playin twa or three characters each. Three o thaim includes animals: Glen Eagle (Alan Steele), the Stag (Stewart Cairns) that's nivver seen his faither an thinks he's turnin intae a tree cause there 'branches growin oot ma heid' an Ramsay the Ram (Andy Cannon) that gey near stole the shaw at the clippin an slauchter scene. They yaise puppetry skills an aw tae gret effeck, yaisin the tradeitional theatrical backdraps tae hide ahint. In the scene whaur the Laird gauns tae Mr Harris an Mr Tweed tae 'see hoo they're getting oan wi it', thair mime o shawin the imaginary kilt is a joy. The rhymin lyrics an reinge o words in the sangs o Iain Johnstone reaches a Gilbert an Sullivan staundart an the pawkie taigelt wire seetiations caused bi Big Jessie's deifness is wordy o ony clessic farce. The hilarious slaw motion reunitin at the hinneren o Rhona an Ramsay is wordy o watchin oot for!

Thae days we're yaised tae a Brechtian style o theatre whaur stagehaunds openly walks on tae the set tae shift props aboot. The auld farrant pentit backdraps that yaised tae set the scenes in theatre are gey near things o the bygane. But no in The Emperor's New Kilt! This is a shaw aboot claes, claith an fabric an set designer Becky Minto haes creatit muckle haund stitched back-claiths wi sindry textured fabrics stoundinly creatin muntains, rivers, forests, the castle an crofts. There soond effecks frae coat hingers, claes horses as yetts an there a Hielan coo wi a sporran for a heid, a tartan rug for a body, a tartan tie fur a tail. (A cuttie video on the shaw's design can be seen at The Emperor's New Kilt page at

The kenspeckle yarn haes been re-imagined intae the style o Scottish music ha, pantomime an ceilidh wi taigelt wires, puns, sangs, baurs an the audience jynin in. Gallusly, the shaw feinishes wi the cast takin a bow tae the blithe strains o the accordion played bi the character Big Jessie (a gey Scottish joke!) an the audience clappin in time. I'm surprised naebody got up in the aisles tae pas de bas! This shaw is awthin theatre shuid be – entertainin, imaginative, excitin tae leuk at an thocht provokin, wi the greedy Laird gettin whit wis comin tae him an guidness an innocence bearin the gree. Nae maitter whit age ye are, be ane o the clivver anes an mak shuir ye see this wunnerfae woven tale.

The Emperor's New Kilt wis first performed in 2004.
The performance on 19th Aprile at the King's Theatre Edinburgh wis signed.
Venues still aye tae come is Glesca, Inverness, Aiberdeen, Dundee, Warwick, Coventry, Watford, Marlowe, Canterbury an Richmond.
Wee Stories haes been fetchin oot guid quality faimly theatre syne 1995.
The National Theatre o Scotland celebratit twa year o theatrical success in Februar 2008.
© Irene Broon

Scots Tung WITTINS
On the wab.
Copies o the Scots Tung Wittins gaun back tae Nr 41 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 Unco Case o Dr Jekyll an Mr Hyde
A review bi Irene Broon (Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)
[NOTE: image here of the book cover in original]
JEKYLL AND HYDE. It's a tairm that's gotten tae be pairt o the language tae descrive somebody wi a daurk side tae thaim ahint an itherweys licht ootside appearance. We're aw fameeliar noo wi characters that lives dooble lives, the likes o The Hulk, Superman, Batman etc. We're yaised tae seein thae characters shawn wi thair dumfoonerin physiques, cairryin oot bumbazin acks or garrin terrification while aw the time thair words comes floatin oot thair mooths in baloons. The furthsettin o a novel in this style foondit on a classic wark o fiction haes been accomplisht an I wad daur tae say is a bumbazin ack. On tap o that, it's been owersetten intae Scots.

Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde micht no hae been setten in Edinburgh, but it haes a gey strang association wi it, no juist cause o RLS hissel belangin the Capital, but cause o its possible inspiration comin frae the dooble life led bi Deacon Brodie, that wis frae Edinburgh an aw. Syne it's a weel seen chyce as the buik for this year's readin campaign One Book - One Edinburgh bi Edinburgh UNESCO City o Literature Trust. The tale's sense haes been pawkiely distilled bi Alan Grant (faumous for writin for the likes o Batman an Judge Dredd) in his faithfu haundlin o Stevenson's words. The tale's daurkness haes been weel catched bi Cam Kennedy (faumous for illustratin Judge Dredd an Rogue Trooper) wi his pouerfu airtwark whase shedaes creates an atmosphere o nivver-endin broodin nicht time. The tale's Scottishness haes been catched bi James P. Spence, poet an a freelance storyteller, that haes owersetten the adaptation in tae Borders Scots.

The buik is sindert intae the same ten chapters wi the same titles as Stevenson's original. It's airtit at the mercat that's yaised tae the graphic novel an haes a page at the hinneren wi a select Scots vocabular. Howanever, the souch o the graphic novel is sich that the feck o the story is in the stylised drawins, wi the words in balloons an dialogue kists eikin tae the narrative. The key word at ilka pairt o the story is in wechtie letters, sae the readin in Scots is uphaudit at ilka step o the wey. In chapter 1, Story o the Door, the phrase 'ramstam champit' is yaised tae descrive Hyde cauld hertitly tramplin ower a bairn. In chapter 4, The Carew Murther Case, there cannae be ony doot that 'mouligrabber' is anither word for a murderer an in chapter 9, Dr Lanyon's Narrative, whaur Lanyon descrives wutnessin Hyde's physical chynge intae Dr Jekyll, whit cuid be mair alive nor "hae dirled, stotit, glowerin wi jag smitteneen, gowpin wi mooth ajee...". Wi sic-like words, this publication maun shuirly succeed in giein a lift tae thrawn readers that micht be yaised tae this particlar kinna writin no juist tae read Scots in this form, but tae upsteer thaim intae seekin oot the original.

In his note at the hinneren o the buik, Spence writes aboot his oncome tae the owersettin. His is an open an caller ane. He accepps that "There is nae such thing as standard scrievit Scots..." an invites readers tae "...bring their ain accent..." tae the readin wi the ettle that he wants tae appeal tae aw Scots readers, acceppin that " micht no suit awbodie." He haes written it in his hamelt Jeddart dialeck wi spelling that Scots Tung readers micht no be yaised tae but as ane's nae mair richt nor anither, the reader quickly gets intae the wey o this. He pynts oot that the characters in the story, Dr Jekyll hissel, the lawyer Utterson an his cousin Enfield, wis educatit men that wad hiv haed a braid vocabular. Spence's owersettin haes been weel thocht oot on this imagined "parallel universe" whaur Scots is the lingua franca, giein a richt believable text an dialogue.

This link wi a weel kent classic an modern praisentation is an excitin an radical wey o shawin hou Scots can be yaised. The team that brocht it thegither, alang wi the publisher, is aw Scottish an hiv been thocht o as 'the dream team'. I prefer tae cry thaim 'superheroes' for whit they've won tae wi this publication.

Robert Louis Stevenson's Unco Case o Dr Jekyll an Mr Hyde - A graphic novel in Scots wi full colour, price £6.99 wi Scots vocabular. ISBN978-1-902407-59-3 publisht bi Waverley Books, David Dale House, New Lanark, ML11 9DJ tel [CENSORED: phonenumber] e-mail [CENSORED: emailaddress]

James P Spence wis awardit an SAC grant in 2006 tae gaither stories frae his native Jedburgh. He haes haed 3 buiks o his poetry publisht. He can be contactit on
[CENSORED: phonenumber] or
[CENSORED: emailaddress]
© Irene Broon

The Owersetter's Tale
AH loved owersettin Jekyll an Hyde (originally pr. Jeekyll), Ah felt right at hame. Bidin in Embra the last toontie-six year Ah dinnae yaisually speak Scots, except in ma storytellin, whaur Ah mak it a policy, so it wus jist grand tae drook masel in ma first tongue fur that time.

STV askit iz whether it wus difficult tae scrieve. It wus intense, gien Ah hud less than a month tae scrieve it, so Ah hud tae jist git tore in, an onie difficulties jist got smoored in the breenge Ah hud for it aw.

The owersettin intae Scots wus lik plooin a field. The first draft wus jist whit lowpit intae ma heid as Ah wis scrievin it doon, but wi ivverie re-plooin o that field Ah howkit deeper intae ma maimrie an ruits wi the tools o various Scots dictionaries; an mair an mair Ah cud hear ma faither speakin; heez fermin upbringin giein him a richer dialect than maist.

The Scots Ah yaised huz aw come frae livin maimrie. Fur the maist pairt it is Border Scots, but this owersettin is no jist fur Jethart High Street, it is intended fur aw Scots speakers, an so Ah huv yaised wirds frae ither airts fur the braidest chairm, athoot, Ah howp, makin it soond artifeecial. Besides, the characters in Jekyll an Hyde wur educated traivelled fellaes, whae wud huv hud a muckle vocabulary. Ah wud expeck fowk tae bring their ain tongue tae it as they read.

Ah hink it's a grand thing tae hiv graphic novels in Scots, wi aw the clues ee git frae the picturs. Ideal fur bairns, bit wi a story wi sae monie pairts as Jeekyll an Hyde, there's plenty there fur the aulder yins an aw.
© James Spence.

Makar's Neuk
Get happy

Get happy, here
oan the dooble-decker.
Dooble-deckers are twice
as happy as ornary buses.
Get happy air
frae a drink o juice
oan the dooble-decker bus.
Mind an dinnae bash yer teeth
oan the coalie boattle
if the bus stops sudden.
Get happy air
frae oot the wundae.
Oo yins hing oor streamers
oot of aw the wundaes,
their rainbow colours flappin
an birlin in the sun.
Signposts an hedges
an jewelled hooses flee by,
but the sea tae the left,
gigantic an blue, is harlie movin,
is waitin fur uz. Cud Ah
jist stick ma elbae oot the wundae
intae the sea? It's that close,
tae feel its icy cauldness
skite chitters up ma airm.

© James Spence

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Information about Document 1825

Scots Tung Wittins 174


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2357
General description monthly newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)

Text publication details

Publisher Scots Tung
Publication year 2008
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