Document 1698

Scots Tung Wittins 47

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 47
December 1997

Scots Tung WITTINS

Eydentlie uphaudin the Scots Leid Campaine
E-mail: [CENSORED: emailaddress] Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber]

Scots Tung Wittins bids aw its Readers a Blithe an Hertie Yule an a Richt Guid 1998.
[NOTE: image here of Christmas decoration in original]

Scrievin in Scots tae the London Estaiblishment.
The Secretar got a letter fae the Office for National Statistics in London on the same day that he got a repone fae the Scottish Office anent ane he haed scrievit airlier tae Sam Galbraith aboot the Census. The S.O. letter wis fou o excuises for no haein a quaisten on Scots in the Census an the ane fae London threapit that it wis the office that organises the Census an speirt gin the Secretar wad be guid eneuch tae answeir quaistens anent the Family Expenditure Survey. The Secretar wis that fashed ower the furst letter that he sent aff the follaein repone tae London scrievit in Scots wi copies o the ither twa letters inclosit athin:-

Mistress Chris Ash
Survey Manager
Social Survey Division
Office for National Statistics
1, Drummond Gate
London, SW1V 2QQ.

Guid Mistress Ash,

Monie thanks for yer raicent scrieve speirin efter ma cast wi yer Faimlie Ootgauns Vizzy. Efter readin the copies o the scrieves A'v inclosit inower, Ye'll nae doot unnerstaun that haein a quaisten on the Scots leid in the 2001 Census (alang wi the quaistens greed areddies on Gaelic, Welsh an English) is juist as heidie tae the likes o masel an ithers lik me, nor quaistens anent the ootgauns o fowk's siller is tae yersel. Thir a guid provokshin here for me tae lat yer speirins lig onansweirt aw thegither, for whit wey shuid A scart your back whan yer ain depairtment winna lift a finger tae scart mines? Hooivver, A micht be perswaddit tae gie answeirs tae yer speirins gin ye'll speir thae quaistens in Scots an accep the answeirs in Scots.
Wi aw guid-wullie,

Twa weeks efter this, a wifie wi a Scottish souch fae the Edinburgh brainch o The Office for National Statistics phoned the Secretar. She sayed that she wis Scottish an unnerstuid Scots aw richt but wisna aw that guid at the speikin o't (she wisna aw that bad at aw an ye cuid tell she wis makin a maucht tae yaise Scots wirds) sae, wad it be aw richt for her tae come an speir the quaistens. (Tae be conteenit).

Thochts on Fetchin an Inveesible Language oot o the Daurk Press intae the Licht.
Wha wad hae thocht that scrievin a letter in Scots tae a goverment office in London wad hae kythed sic a repone? Is it no aboot time for uz tae be a bit mair randie anent the speikin an scrievin o Scots? Shuid we no be giein up oor polite set in aye reponin tae English wi English, baith wi scrievin an wi speikin? Aiblins the auld farrant norie o thir bein a richt time an place for the yiss o Scots shuid be gien its jotters an we shuid noo be haein thochts alang the gait tae some kinna boycott o the English leid, leastweys whaur speikin an scrievin tae goverment, local goverment, the media an the estaiblishment is concairned. It's nae wunner the Scots leid is an inveesible language tae thae fowk gin thae nivver hear oniebodie speikin it nor see oniebodie scrievin it. We hae the richt wappen tae haun for brekkin throu the cocoon o English thae fowk cairrie aboot wi thaim – oor ain mither tung! Dinna be feart tae yaise it ootside the boons o freens, faimlie an upsteerers. Gin we dinna yaise it, naebodie else wull, than it'll bide an inveesible leid an juist dwine awa.

Neist Forgaitherin
Mon. 19t. Januar 1998 7.30pm tae 9.00pm. Comatee Rm. C,
Brunton Ha, Musselburgh.

Mair New Maimbers.
It wis mintit in Wittins Nummer 46 that twa fowk fae Musselburgh wis ettlin tae jine Scots Tung. Weel, noo it cuin be reportit that thai hiv jined an no juist that, but three ither fowk his jined up an aw. Ane fae Clynder, ane fae Garelochhead an ane fae Edinburgh. Heather Thom, the new maimber fae Edinburgh, wis walcomed bi the ither maimbers tendin the forgaitherin on Mon. 8t. Dec. Her learit kennin o languages maun shuirlie mak a yuisfae inpit tae the forgaitherins o the curn.

The ootlyin maimbers that canna tend the forgaitherins for ordnar, cuin aye jine in wi aw the letter scrievin campaines we whiles get rowed intae. Anither wey thai cuid hae an inpit tae the curn wad be bi scrievin a letter tae the Wittins. Letters cuid be anent onie pairsonal consait or threap thai micht ettle tae pit ower tae the ither maimbers or onie ither wittins thai micht think o intrest. Letters shuid be scrievit in Scots (guid practice for awbodie) an, bein mindfu o the scant o weygate, shuid be keepit cuttie an aw.

Forgaitherin o Monday 8t. December.
The hinnermaist forgaitherin for 1997 was gey weel tendit forby Heather's new face an Alan Keay's auld new ane. We aw ken that Alan is aye gey thrang wi aw his scuil an faimlie ongauns an canna aye manage alang tae the Brunton Ha but it's aye guid tae see him whan he dis. He gied uz aw the wittins anent whit haes been gaun on wi the scuils an that. His scuil, Portibellie Hie Scuil, is gaitherin Scots language graith aw the time an he telt uz anent some the new buiks thai'v been ingaitherin. In parteeclar he shawed wee bits oot o Paix Machine bi Iain W. D. Forde but thocht the spellins wis a wee bit ower orra tae haud a scuilbairn's tent. Scorn - My Inheritance bi Wullie Graham wis anither ane the scuil haed gotten an it wis a bit better spellin-wise. He selt some copies o the scuil's magazine, Porty Blethers, as weel. The November issue is up tae Nummer 11 noo an aye gaun strang wi it.

Alan gied the curn fotocopies o an airticle bi Mike Cormack in the hairst 1997 issue o Scottish Affairs. This airticle, Spoken Scots in the Media, is o parteeclar intrest tae Scots Tung for it maks the follaein reference:-

"Yet the nation's history and culture is bound up with the use of Scots, and, unlike Gaelic, it is still of central importance to large numbers of people. One language activist has gone so far as to claim that ‘Ootside o Gaeldom, the Scots language is the keystane that hauds oor Scottish identitie an cultur thegither' (Letter from the Secretar of Scots Tung in The Scotsman, 4 March 1995)." It's richt hertnin tae ken that some o the thoosans o wirds that comes oot o oor wird-sorters, ower the years, is taen guid tent o bi some fowk.

Wi sae muckle tae be reportit on at the laist forgaitherin o the year an wi sortin oot anent the Yule cairds, thir wisna muckle time left tae gie ower tae oor proponed owersettin o the Psalms an that tho ane or twa bits an pieces wis spoken o. It wis greed that, at the neist forgaitherin, we wad gaun hale-heidit for owersettin some o the wee'er

Proverbs an aiblins a text oot o the buik o Ecclesiastes. Gin we cuin gaither a guid leebrarie o owerset texts an Proverbs, aiblins
we micht cuin hae thaim prentit on cairds happit wi plastic an, aither gie or sell thaim tae scuils, kirks, bible clesses an Sunday-scuils.

Scots Leid Owerband.
Meinutes o the gaitherin o Scots Leid pairtakers hauden on Seturday 29t November 1997 at the Settle Inn, Stirlin, atween 2-6pm.

Fae AU Scots Leid Quorum: Rod Lovie, Steve Murdoch, Dauvit Horsbroch.
Fae Scots Speikers' Curn Glesca: L Colin Wilson, Reid Moffat, Janet Menzies, Matthew Love, Bill Wilson, Craig Halliday.
Fae Scots Tung, Musselburgh: Robert Fairnie, Richard Heinsar.

1. Awbodie gree'd at we shuid be cryed the Scots Leid Owerband an at this wuid be coontit the founin gaitherin. Ilka associe wuid cairrie on its ain ongauins but wuid form a brainch o the owerband. Forby it wes gree'd at the owerband wuid tak tae dae wi campainin on maiters o politics an the media affeckin the Scots leid. The owerband wull forgaither whanever the associes is brocht thegither in a place for the ettle o campainin.

2. It wes forder gree'd at ilka associe shuid hae a Forespeaker tae represent it inower the owerband. The follaein fowk wes eleckit: AUSLQ Rod Lovie, SSCG Colin Wilson, ST Robert Fairnie.

3. Forby, Bill Wison wes eleckit Heid Press Secretar o the owerband an Richard Heinsar as Press Officiar o Scots Tung. It wes decydit at the owerband wes wantin a heid figure sae Dauvit Horsbroch wes eleckit Preses o the owerband.

4. Awbodie thocht it a guid consait tae sen oot wittens tae memmers an sea an editor wuid hae tae be fund for thon. It wes gree'd at the editor wuid hae the hinmaist say on the wey airticles/screives an sae furth, wes tae be prentit.

5. Syne spellin is sic a fouterie subjeck it wes decydit awbodie wuid cairrie on spellin thair ain gait. It isna the ettle o the owerband tae be soukit intae fechts ower spellins.

6. Memmers o the owerband wull be coontit in associes an no bodies thair lane. Full memmers wull pey a £20 stent ilka 1st April. Aw three founin memmers gree'd tae pey £20 the nou forby the £20 due in April.

7. Rod Lovie haes awreadie stairtit an owerband accoont in Aiberdeen. Aw siller wull be peyed intae this an an accompt buik kept. Rod wes eleckit thesaurer o the owerband.

8. The AUSLQ sayd it wuid gar prent heidit owerband paper.

9. Thare wes a tait blether anent haudin a public plaint furth the Office o Scotlan on Seturday 24t Januar 1998.
It wes thocht bi a curn fowk at 50+ fowk wuid be wantit for this. Fowk cuid sit wi steikit gabs an we cuid aiblins burn the BBC chairter an government census screives.

10. Scots haesna been mintit at aw on the Hame Raing Bill sae fowk is fleitcht tae screive tae Donald Dewar anent thon.

11. We pit roun consaits anent a stravaig roun Scotlan ettlin tae learn the scuils aboot Scots. This cuid be a lang-term projeck an wuid want a bus an siller.

12. At the hinneren fowk talked aboot a peteition for Scots at we cuid gie tae the Office o Scotlan or tae the BBC.
A Pauchle o Wice Wirds.
Glib o tung is aye glaikit o hert. Better a bauld fae nor a feardie freen.
A broken kebbuck gauns suin duin.
A steekit mooth catches nae flees.
A cauld wants the cook as weel's the doctor.
A drap an a bite's but sma requite.
Money's lik the muck midden – it daes nae guid or it gets spread.
Haste maks waste, an waste maks want, an want maks strife atween man an wife.

[NOTE: image of poster of the Public Plaint in original]

Anent the Public Plaint o Seturday 24 Januar 1998

Oniebodie ettlin tae tend the abuin Public Plaint is speirt tae lat the Convener or Secretar ken bi the neist forgaitherin on Monday 19t Januar. Mind, it's no juist maimbers o the curn that cuin tend this plaint but onie o yer freens an aw an onie maimbers o the genral public that grees wi oor ettles – the mair the better.

Mind, nummers coonts
[NOTE: cartoon Santa Claus saying to a child 'No ye canna scrieve yer line in Scots!It haes tae be duin in English']

This work is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

The SCOTS Project and the University of Glasgow do not necessarily endorse, support or recommend the views expressed in this document.


Cite this Document

APA Style:

Scots Tung Wittins 47. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 24 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 47." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 24 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots Tung Wittins 47," accessed 24 July 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 1698

Scots Tung Wittins 47


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 1939
General description monthly newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)

Text publication details

Publisher Scots Tung
Publication year 1997
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