Document 1701

Scots Tung Wittins 50

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 50
Mairch 1998

Scots Tung WITTINS

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

Ee grippin pouer o Scrievit Scots gets the job duin in nae time.
The secretar's central heatin biler haes a balanced flue that comes oot throu the hooseen. On the ootside it's surroonit wi a mesh an kivvert wi a stainless steel plate. Ae week-en efter a muckle gell o wund he fund the plate lyin on the grund – it maun hae blawn aff. A gas-ingineer wis cried in tae sort it an he sayed it wad be nae bother at aw. He wad tak the plate awa, coff some Araldite cement an the neist time he wis passin, he wad sort it athoot e'en comin tae the door. Efter mair nor twa weeks haed gane by, thare wis nae signs o oniethin bein duin sae the Secretar gies thaim a phone but aw he gets is a speikin machine that tells him tae aither say his piece or sen a fax. He thocht the hinner wad be the bettermaist an sent the follaein fax:-

Guid Sir,
It maun be a guid week or twa noo syne ye taen awa the stainless-steel kivver for ma C.H. biler flue wi the intent o fixin it back wi Araldite glue. A'm gettin a wee bit concairned aboot the time it's takin, for the pilot licht haes blawn oot yince areddies an A'm a wee bit feart o some kinna craitur gaun intae the flue whan the heatin's aff an causin skaith shuid it dee thare yince the biler's lichtit.
Cuid ye tell us hoo muckle langer it's gaun tae tak?
Wi aw guid-willie,

The fax wis sent at 3.05pm an the neist forenuin, aboot 11.00am, the Secretar haed a gliff o the ingineer's motor gaun by the windae. He haed a keek oot the back door an saw that the flue haed been sortit. We dinna ken gin the job wad hae been duin juist as quick haed the fax been scrievit in English or no, but gin it wirks this weel wi Scots, whit wey shuid we gaun an chynge it?

Gettin the Spellin Richt.
An Edinburgh man wis drivin hame in his motor fae Aiberdeen an, whan he wis gaun alang the Kingsway in Dundee, he mindit his wife haed speirt him tae gaun intae B&Q on the wey hame an coff a tin o pent, sae he turnt aff intae the toun ettlin tae fin a B&Q in Dundee. Efter a while, he still haedna fund yin sae he poued ower tae the side o the road, rowed his windae doon an stoppit a passin fuit-ganger.
"Excaise me Jimmie! he speirt, ―Is thare a B&Q in Dundee at aw?"
"Naw!" reponed the Kettle-biler*, "Thare nae B&Q in Dundee pal. But thare twa 'd's an twa 'e's in it."

* Kettle-biler = a byenem gien tae the men o Dundee. No lang syne, maist o the weemin wirkit in the jute mills an the men wirkit in the docks, the Caledon shipyaird or in ither heavy ingineerin wark. Noo the men wisna sweir tae gaun on strike an, wi maist o thair weemin-fowk wirkin in the mills, thai cuid afford tae bide oot a guid while langer nor men fae ither airts. Sae, excepp whan thare wis a fitba match on, thai juist bid in the hoose an biled the kettle tae hae the wife's tea on the table for her comin hame fae the mill. We'r no sayin thai wur aw tarred wi the ae brush but, thare maun hae been a wheen o thaim for the byenem tae stick.

The sicker eikin o Scots back intae Prent.
No ower lang syne, gin ye wur tae pick up a copie o the Scots Magazine an hae a wee keek throu it, ye wad nae doot fin ae wee pome in Scots an the raigler auld freen, Speaking Scots. This is a wee bit, maistlie in English, aboot a parteeclar Scots wird an it gied a wheen dialogue exemplars o hoo it shuid be yaised, an aw the particularities o its meanins whan yaised in diffrent weys. Maist months, this wis as muckle o the Mither Tung as ye wur lik tae fin. Chynged days noo tho, we'r gled tae see. The Februar edeetion haes the uswal pome cried Listen ti the Silences an the uswal Speaking Scots aw anent the Scots wird foosty. The scriever quotes fae the Scottish National Dictionar:- 'foosty' was in use as far back as 1566 and was still in favour in 1883 when a J.S. Sands wrote:-

Mid rotten cheese an bacon foostit
Syne Christenmas was past a year.

We doot thon 1883 is a guid 115 year oot. Hoo monie o oor maimbers haesna yaised or heard ithers yaisin 'foosty' in raicent years – ay! an e'en in 1998 an aw.

Forby thae abuin twa scrievins, the Februar edeetion cairriet a cuttie storie cried The Go-for aw scrievit in Scots an anither piece that wis aw aboot Jenny Chaplin's mindins o her faither's faither, Grampa Mac, an cried The Laird o Govan. Ae newfangle o this scrieve is the wey it sterts aff wi the furst twa-three paragraphs scrievit in English syne Mistress Chaplin, bit bi bit, chynges ower intae Scots sae that bi the stert o the fift yin, she's yaisin a guid growthie Scots an cairries on yaisin it richt tae the feenish.

The Scots Magazine wab-steid on the Warld Wide Wab is weel wordie o a wee keek an aw. (Hoo's that for alleeteration?) Forby aw the main stories an letters an that, it haes a Scots wird leet cried Wirds. Wi juist aboot 30 wirds, it canna be cried a dictionar but it gies some awfu guid exposeetions o some yuisfae Scots wirds an, as it says (in English but owerset bi STW) at the heid o the leet, “Eik tae yer wird leet wi oor guidal tae the Scots Language.”

A braith o caller air.
In Wittins nummer 48, ye wur telt aboot the wifie fae Radio Scotland that speirt Richard whaur thae 1.5m Scots speikers wis for she haedna ivver met wi onie. Weel, gin she haedna been a wumman, she micht hae met mair nor sixtie o thaim at the Musselburgh Boolin Club's annual Burns' Nicht on Thursday 12t. Februar. Ay, Februar no Januar. The Musselburgh Boolin Club's no daft. Aw the best guest speikers is aye unco thrang in Januar an it's awfu hard tae buik a guid yin binna ye buik up twa three year aheid. Bi the time Februar comes alang tho, thai'r aw lowsed an MBC cuin tak thair pick an thai aye pick the best. The weel kent faces at this year's Burns' Nicht wis up tae thair uswal guid heich staunart. For a stert the cheil that gied the Immortal Memorie spake o Burns' faither bein William Burns. Nane o yer William Burness nonsense juist cause he yaised an aulder farrant spellin. Aw the speikers wis ex-miners fae East Lothian an aw the quotes an scrifts o Burns' wark wis deleevered in a sicker Scottish souch. Scots spoken wi a Scottish souch an no wi onie English nor e'en a Morninside souch. No juist that tho, but aw the lave o thair speiks, whit ye micht crie the narrative bits, wis aw in unco guid naitral East Lothian Scots an aw. A bodie wad hae tae hae thair lugs weel cockit on this 'aw men' nicht tae licht on monie English wirds for thare wisna onie want for thaim. It wis a braith o caller air tae hear sae monie men haudin sic a foy for Burns an daein it aw in the language o the Bard hissel. Wi it bein an 'aw men' nicht, some o the baurs canna be repeatit in the mixed companie o oor maimbership, parteeclar the yin aboot the Edinburgh cludgie tendant that wis….….but it's aw richt tae tell the yin aboot the diver on the bottom o the sea that wis telt bi his ship, "Come up quick! The boat's sinkin."

Neist Forgaitherin Mon. 30t Mairch 1998 7.30pm tae 9.00pm Comatee Rm. C. Brunton Ha, Musselburgh.

The Scots Speikers Curn
Glesca Gie's the Wab
Anither Scots Language Wab-steid. That's the wab-steid backin for the Scots Speikers Curn's new steid an it's weel wordie o a guid keek or twa. Thair hame page is gien ablow an ye cuin see it haes aicht ikons that ye knick on tae tak ye tae ither airts o the steid. The furst yin gies a leet o aw thair maimbers wi a biographical innin tae some o thaim. Cleiks is a leet o ither Scots leid wab-steids wi thair backins. A knick on onie o thae backins taks ye richt tae that wab-steid. Tho some o the ikons dinna hae ocht in thaim yet, the yins that dae are richt guid, parteeclar the Skreivins an A'm shuir it'll no be lang or the ither yins gets fou an aw. Efter that it's sonse wull aw lippen on whit kinna turn-ower o wittins, witterins an facks it haes for some steids the day disna hae onie at aw (turn-ower that is).

[NOTE: image here of an advertisement for the Scots Speikers Curn Web site]

Mair Electronic Scots.
Wittins in The Scotsman on Thursday 26t. Februar, telt o the Scottish National Dictionary Association's lang waitit on Electronic Scots Dictionary, suin tae be follaed bi its Scots spellchecker, tae be cried Cannie Spell. The Electronic Scots Dictionary is expeckit tae be furthset on the 21st Aprile an thae wittins tells us that it's gaun tae be mair nor juist a computerised vairsion o the Scots Scuil Dictionar. Appearinlie, this dictionar, for yiss wi yer computer or wird-sorter, yaises sic thochtie ploys as the yin cried Virtual Scots Toun whaur awbodie speiks Scots, as weel as its ain bidie-in richt-leidit beastie cried a Grammar Broonie that kythes on the screen ilka noo an agane at the richt time tae guide ye whaur tae pit yer definite airticles an that. The spellchecker, Cannie Spell, wull highlicht onie wird in yer wird-sorter scrieve that it jalouses tae be no richt, forby tellin ye aw its plurals, tenses an verb forms whan sic a tellin is whit is wantin. It gies as weel, witterins anent the diffrent forms o the wird in the by-leids o the diffrent airts. We ken whit ye'r thinkin – ye juist canna wait - ay no?

Walins taen fae the Comatee stage o the Scotland Bill as clypit bi Hansard on 29 Januar.
Mrs. Ewing: ……It is vital that our first languages are seen as very important in a new Scottish Parliament. It is appropriate that we are discussing these issues during the season of Burns suppers, which many hon. Members will be well aware of. We are all stappit to the gunnells with haggis, bashed neeps and champit tatties, washed down with a good wee nip of uisge beatha.

It is appropriate that we should be using these words at this stage because they are natural words to all Scottish Members.

I remember that, when I was a student at the University of Glasgow, where I read English language and literature, I found myself in a strange lecture in which the lecturer thought that he knew all the answers. He kept throwing out words at the students to see if we could understand what he was saying. I found myself in almost an isolationist position, because when he used phrases like ―sneck the yett,' or being ―oot o kilter,' or ―it's a mochy day,' I knew exactly what he meant. Those words were as natural to me as breathing.

It is wrong for us ever to feel like indulging in mockery against the use of good Scots words or the Gaelic language. An element of mockery came back to me from that class, as though I were a strange person from another planet because I understood those words—as though that was inappropriate.

Mrs. Ewing: ………..The amendments do not seek any form of compulsion. Let me say to all the bluffelheids who do not understand either Scots or Gaelic that I will not force bluffelheids to learn Gaelic, or Gaels to learn either the Doric or the Gaelic. All I want is a recognition of all those languages in the proceedings of the new Scottish Parliament.

Mr. Connarty rose—

Mrs. Ewing: I give way to the bluffelheid.

Wittins fae the Scottish Office anent Scots in a Scottish Pairliament.
The follaein wittins wis gotten fae the Arts and Cultural Heritage Division o the Scottish Office in repone tae airlier scrieves tae the Secretar o State for Scotland an Henry McLeish. Here the gist o it:-

"The Scots language is part of Scotland's distinctive linguistic heritage. The White Paper on Scotland's Parliament set out that responsibility for Arts and cultural heritage matters would be devolved, and this includes policy on the Scots language. There is no need for a specific reference to the Scots language in the Scotland Bill. It will be for the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Executive to decide future policy on the Scots language. As you know, the place of Scots and Gaelic in the procedures of the Parliament was debated in the House of Commons during the Committee Stage of the Scotland Bill on 29 January…….Decisions on what provision should be made for Scots or Gaelic in the proceedings of the Parliament are clearly best left to the Parliament itself. However, I understand that the All-Party Steering Group, which has been set up to consider how the Parliament will operate, wishes to consider the matter at the earliest opportunity."

In repone tae aw that, the follaein scrieve haes juist been sent back tae Maister Henry McLeish:-

"Monie thanks for yer letter o 26t. Februar, signed bi Gavin Barrie, an A weel tak yer pint that, gin the Scots language, alang wi airts an cultur, is set tae come aneath the owerance o a Scottish Pairliament, it micht no be necessar tae hae a mint o that leid in the Scotland Bill. A maun speir hooivver, whit wey ye thocht it necessar tae hae a byordinar mint o the Gaelic leid eikit athin thon same Airts an Cultural Heritage umberellae. Dis the Gaelic leid no come athin the owerance o the Scottish Pairliament an aw juist like Scots?

We dinna speir for Gaelic tae be taen oot o the Scotland Bill or the ootcome o the All-Party Steering Group. It haes a cultural richt tae be thare. Whit we're speirin for is for the Scots language, wi the same cultural richts, tae be visible up thare alangside the Gaelic leid. Bi leavin Scots oot, ye're eikin tae the language's invisibilitie athin the government an the estaiblishment.

Juist twa three weeks syne, a wifie fae Radio Scotland speired us whaur wis aw thae 1.5m Scots speikers the GRO wis threapin o, for she haedna heard onie speikin Scots athin the reenge o her lugs. She haedna heard onie speikin Gaelic aither but it wis nae bother for her tae lippen the 65 tae 70 thoosan speikers bein threapit for the Gaelic leid. Dis Scots no hae the same richts o visibilitie as Gaelic or, as some micht say, e'en mair, on a 1.5m tae 70,000 ratio?"

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Information about Document 1701

Scots Tung Wittins 50


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2638
General description monthly newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)

Text publication details

Publisher Scots Tung
Publication year 1998
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