Document 1037

My toast the day is wir gran mither tongue - April 11, 2005

Author(s): Robbie Shepherd

Copyright holder(s): Robbie Shepherd


My mither tongue! Owre seldom heard Your accents thrill me through My Mither Tongue - David Grant OOR tongue - my mither tongue - wis getting laldie doon at the Holiday Inn in Glesga on Friday nicht as mair nor 300 fowk gaither't to raise siller for the Prince an Princess o Wales Hospice an enjoy an Aberdonian Night.

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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APA Style:

My toast the day is wir gran mither tongue - April 11, 2005. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 2 March 2024, from

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"My toast the day is wir gran mither tongue - April 11, 2005." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 2 March 2024.

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "My toast the day is wir gran mither tongue - April 11, 2005," accessed 2 March 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 1037

My toast the day is wir gran mither tongue - April 11, 2005


Text audience

General public
Audience size 1000+

Text details

Method of composition Wordprocessed
Year of composition 2005
Word count 771

Text medium


Text publication details

Publisher Press and Journal
Publication year 2005
Place of publication Aberdeen
Part of larger text
Contained in Press and Journal
Page numbers 14

Text setting


Text type



Author details

Author id 897
Forenames Robbie
Surname Shepherd
Gender Male
Decade of birth 1930
Educational attainment University
Age left school 15
Upbringing/religious beliefs Protestantism
Occupation Freelance Broadcaster
Place of birth Dunecht
Region of birth Aberdeen
Birthplace CSD dialect area Abd
Country of birth Scotland
Place of residence Bridge of Don
Region of residence Aberdeen
Residence CSD dialect area Abd
Country of residence Scotland
Father's occupation Shoemaker
Mother's occupation Housewife


Language Speak Read Write Understand Circumstances
English Yes Yes Yes Yes
Scots Yes Yes Yes Yes