Document 1709

Scots Tung Wittins 58

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 58
Oct. 1998

Scots Tung WITTINS

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

Scots,the Invisible Leid.
In September, the Foundation for Endangered Languages haed a muckle forgaitherin in Edinburgh whaur fowk, skeelie an leirit in linguistics, frae aa the airts o aa the yird, wis tae hae a guid gaun corrieneuchin on hou thay micht uphaud minority groups an gie a heize tae biggin up an hainin thair languages. Aboot three thoosan o the warld's leids wis expeckit ti dee oot athin the neist ane or twa generations. Dr. Jeremy Smith, o Glesca University's depairtment o English, an speakin in English, threapit that, "Fowk haes a wont tae think o language as bein saiparit frae human fowk but it's no. Tak awa a bodie's leid an it's kinna lik sneddin oot thair cultur."

At the time o screivin, the ootcome o this forgaitherin wisna kent but the original wittins o it in the Scotsman haes the Foundation's liaison officiar, Christopher Moseley, threapin it's nae coincidence the forgaitherin wis kythin in Scotland, whaur Gaelic wis nou enjoyin a muckle growthie swall o intrest efter monie years o negleck, doun-haudin an weirin awa. He says, "A think that offeecial uphaud haes a guid wee bit tae dae wi the growin swall o intrest in Gaelic." Wha wad conter that? In the hail o the Scotsman's wittins on the forgaitherin, thare wis a mint o the follaein endangered leids forbye Gaelic; the leids o the Eskimo, Livonian, Flemish, a leid frae Mali, ane frae Indonesia an the leids o the hamelt Americans. Whit's that aboot Scots? Ye shuirlie didna expeck onie mint o Scots at a language forgaitherin in the capital o Scotland, did ye? Scots is ower weel happit in its clock o glamour for oniebodie tae see or hear it. Thon's a clock pit thare bi the Government an oorsels. The Scottish Office descrives ane o the Scottish Pairliament's devolved maitters as, Arts an Cultural Heritage (includin Gaelic). Gin oniebodie speirs whit wey Scots isna mintit thare an aa, thay aye git tellt the'r nae need, for Scots is happit athin Arts an Cultural Heritage. Sae thare ye hae Gaelic for aa tae see an Scots hidden awa inower weirin its braw clock o invisibeelitie. It's no nae ferlie than that onie debate, anent the hamelt leids o Scotland, ower-leuks the maist muckle minoritie leid in Britain. Monie o oor ain kenspeckle Scots leid upsteerers daes thair ain bit tae keep thon braw clock o glamour
happit ower oor leid. Thay speak on an on anent the wirth o the Scots language – but aye in English. E'en at Scots language forgaitherins thay'll no crack tae oniebodie in Scots an thay'll no speak Scots or thay'r readin it oot a wee beukie. Aye, Scots is aa richt for ither fowk tae uise, but no thaim – least-weys no the nou. It's nae wunner thon wifie frae Radio Scotland, airlier this year, speirt whaur wis thon 1.5m Scots speikers for she haedna met wi onie o thaim. Fowks wi thon kinna creenge shuid ken bi nou that it's no uisin the language that pits thaim in a cless thay want ti bide oot o, it's whit thay say whan thay'r uisin it. Spoken Scots can be polite as weel as coorse.

Tak Tent!
The editor cuidna thole the new ti spellin an haes chynged back tae the tradeetional tae.

Whit's in a Hauf-Loaf?
Gin ye pit yer mind awa back tae Scots Tung Wittins Nummer 51 (Mairch
1998), in An unalike wey o thinkin, we speirt whit wey a hauf-loaf wis cried a hauf-loaf whan it aye leukit lik a hail ane. Weel, Pauline Cairns, o the Scottish National Dictionary Association, haes been guid eneuch tae gie us the follaein exposeetion taen frae the Concise Scots Dictionary:-

Half-loaf – a loaf of plain bread, half the size of a standard quartern loaf, la 19-, formerly weighing 2 pounds but successively reduced to 30 and 28 ounces. [roon aboot the 1930's]
Sae nou ye ken! Monie thanks Pauline!

Scots Tung WITTINS
on the wab.
The Scots Tung Wittins can be vizzied or doun-loadit an prentit (nou in HTML format forbye) frae the wab-steid o :-
The Scots Speikers Curn, Glesca.
Wab-steid backin :-

Scots Leid Resource Haa.
The SLRC haed its AGM throu in Glesca on Monday 21t. September. A muckle want o siller airlier this year, maistlie the faut o an expeckit Scottish Arts Cooncil / Lottery grant no comin guid, haes seen the Resource Haa haein tae gie aa its peyed staff thair jotters an haein tae sodger on wi the help o juist voluntary staff.

The siller seetiation is expeckit tae impruive ower the comin months an areddies, a yearly gift o £5000 haes been hechtit bi Brian Souter, the Chairman o Stagecoach. Sae, the guid wark o the SLRC will cairie on, foondit on its three heid-maist ettles o :-

1. Education resource an advice centre.
2. Centre for wittins an information.
3. The Scots database.

The follaein officiars wis eleckit tae the Comatee :-

Convener - Prof. Graham Caie
Vice-Convener - Liz Niven
Vice-Convener - Dr. Dauvit Horsbroch
Secretar - Lovina Roe
Thesaurer - Gordon Beange
Eleckit maimber - Stuart McHardy
Eleckit maimber - Robert Fairnie

Appyntit maimbers o the Executive bid the same.

Ower the year bygane, the Scots language haes makit no bad heid-wey alang its ain stey gate tae acceppins bi the estaiblishment, eddication an the media an here some o the heid-maist pynts taen frae the Director's threap.

Public recognition bi the government o the Scots language athin Pairt II o the Cooncil o Europe's Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.

Furthsettin o The Scots Language; Its Place in Education wi a screivit innin an spoken praise bi Sam Galbraith, Meenister at the Scottish Office wi owerance for Scots. Furthsettin o the SNDA's braw, modren, uiser-freendlie Electronic Scots School Dictionary.

Muckle complouterin haes been takin place atween the Resource Haa an COSLA, amang ithers, anent the foondin o an Educational Development Service for Scots. The weird o sic a service isna leukin aa that bad the nou but the'r aye a muckle lang gate tae gaun yet.
Media :- The Scots Magazine haes been pyntin the wey forrit for ither publications wi its commitment tae haein some o its airticles ilka month screivit in Scots, tho the October issue this year haes been a wee bit o a dizzie.
The Press an Journal aye haes regular Scots columns bi a couple o screivers an the Herald haes a puckle Scots bits an pieces in its Eddication pages but the Scotsman haes been richt disappyntin wi juist the antrin Scots letter ilka nou an agane.

Neist Forgaitherin. Mon. 12t. Oct. 1998 7.30pm tae 9.00pm Comatee Rm. C. Brunton Haa, Musselburgh,

Mair Scots vices is nou bein heard on the wireless an the TV an the'r aye a wheen mair on the wey sae keep yer een open an yer lugs cockit. Ae kenspeckle ongaun wis the coverage o the Dunblane Primary Schuil bairns' fleetchin o thair local Tesco's tae uise Scots, an the same bairns is daein no bad wi fleetchin mair uise o Scots frae BBC Scotland's Heather the Weather on the tellie.

The European Buroo for Lesser Uised Leids haes speirt the SLRC tae gie a haund wi thair projeck in Ulster that ettles tae uphaud the language/cultural side o the Peace an Reconciliation process. The Resource Haa haes greed tae dae whit it can an will hae somebodie gaun tae Belfast in October alang wi Comun na Gaidhlig.

Wullie Neill.
Nae doot, maist o oor readers will be weel awaur that oor kenspeckle screiver an makar, Wullie Neill, haes lang syne gotten roond his heidmaist ambeetion o haein wark furthset in aa three o Scotland's languages. But aiblins, the'r no sae monie micht be awaur that he haes beuks furthset in Denmark an Italie that's screivit in Scots wi an owersettin intae aither Dens or Italiens. Juist anither exemplar o the muckle respeck the lave o the warld hauds for oor ain mither tung alang wi the heich standart o Wullie's screivin.

Whit Dae Ye Cry It?
[NOTE: image of a book cover here in original]
The abuin beuk haes juist been screivit bi Dauvit Horsbroch an he's howpin tae git it furthset in the comin days. It gies rowth o place, fowk an leid names baith in an furth o Scotland. The'r monie intrestin an uissfu compares atween thae names in Scots, Inglis an ither Europeans leids an a guid walin o cairds for the hail yird forbye. The twa kintra an language names in the abuin screive is taen frae it.

Wheels No the First.
It turns oot efter aa that Wheels wisna the first publication tae hae a horoscope screivit in Scots. On the 30t. December 1990, Scotland on Sunday haed a horoscope, aa screivit in guid Scots unner the heidin o Ae Wice Wife's Weird. For aa that Wheels canna nou awn tae bein first, it can aye mak claim tae bein the first raigler Scots horoscope whaur the ane in S.O.S. wis juist a ane aff.

The Wallacestane Fair.
The first forgaitherin o the Scots Leid Owerband wis haudit in Stirlin whaur we seen a video anent the abuin fair in the Wallace museum. Reid Moffat got hissel a copy o the tape an the text an aa, an is nou wunnerin gin oniebodie micht ken the richt meanin o some o the words in the saicont verse. The anes that's prentit in bauld letters :-

It wes a gled day, wi speirits alaft
The colliers douned graith wi shod an shuil haft
An big hashie cheils holed weil ower the shaft.
An thaim that war bare
Aw breezed oot the road wi sic a great waft
The day afore Wallacestane Fair.

1998 Yule Cairds.
It haes been proponed for the Scottish Fund for the Disabled tae tak haud o aa the airt-work an prentin for a set o fower Yule cairds this year wi Scots Tung fendin aa the Scots texts. It is proponed an aa for the Fund tae kythe a new magazine foondit on the Scots Tung Wittins but wi anither name an uisin a walin o text frae STW alang wi Scots texts frae ither airts. The new magazine wad be distreebutit wi the Wheels news-blat.

Geordie Jooks an the Bleck Corn-flakes.
It wis the first mornin o the Aprile gowfin week-end at Boat-o-Garten an Geordie an his freens wis sittin roond the table in the hotel haein thair brekfast. Geordie wis thrang pickin twa three bleck bits oot o his corn-flakes an pittin thaim on the table tae the side o his plate afore he splattert a wee puckle sugar ower his flakes an poored some milk oot the joug.
"Whit's aa this aboot?" speirt Wullie, pyntin tae the wee gaitherin o bleck flakes.
"A dinna like thae bleck anes." wis the repone.
"Whit for no?"
"Och, it's juist the wey A am." shrugged Geordie.
"Ye mean tae say ye dinna like weel fired corn-flakes?"
"Weel fired corn-flakes? Thae's no corn-flakes, Wullie. It's weel seen you hivna seen onie o the bouk grain ships bein livert at Leith."
"Whit's that got tae dae wi it?" Wullie speirt.
"Weel, whan the ships brings the grain frae Americae an Canadae it's no in bags or ocht ye ken. Ilka howld is stappit fou o loose corn or maize or wheat. Gin ye wis tae faa intae it, aiblins ye wad micht droon. Tae liver the grain oot the howld intae the elevator, thay stick twa muckle tubes intae ilka howld an thay sook aathin up intae the elevator juist lik twa muckle Hoovers. Thay sook up aathin; the corn, the stour, an thae wee bleck drappins ye aye see here an thare ower the tap o the corn."
"Whit wee bleck drappins is that ye'r speakin aboot, Geordie?" speirt Wullie.
"Frae the lang-tail-fellaes." said Geordie
"The'r aye lang-tail-fellaes on grain ships. E'en you shuid ken that."
"Ye mean rats' shite?" speirt Wullie wi a scunnert kinna leuk aa ower his face.
"Weel ay, gin ye want tae pit it that wey."
"Hey Geordie, are you tryin tae tell us that thae bleck corn-flakes is raelie rats' keech?" speirt ane o the ither gowfers.
"Naw. That's no whit A'm sayin at aa."
"Weel, whit then?"
"A suppose it's juist that A ken that the corn an the bleck bits is sookit oot the ship intae the elevator an A ken fine whit thae bleck bits is. Whan A poor the corn-flakes intae ma plate, the'r whiles ane or twa bleck bits an A dinna ken for shuir whit thae anes is, but thay dissolve intae the milk an turn it broon sae A aye gie in tae ma imagination an A dinna tak nae chances. Whit ither fowks daes – weel, that's up tae thaim."

The waitress gied the gowfers some richt orra leuks as she redd awa thair cereal plates for thare wis juist the ae tuim plate. Aa the lave wis mair nor hauf fou.

Scottish Legal Aid Board.
Craig Halliday haes owerset "What you can expect from the Scottish Legal Aid
Board" intae Scots an sent it on tae the abuin board. The repone that he got frae thair Communications Manager threapit that thay war juist aboot tae leuk intae the mibbie o owersettin thair wittins leaflets on Legal Aid intae a puckle ither languages sae thay wad juist haud on tae his owersettin for thon projeck. The'r nae warrandice o fowk gittin a Scots vairsion o the blad but it micht be a guid ploy tae screive in an fleetch thaim tae eik a Scots copie tae aa the ithers :-

Scottish Legal Aid Board,
[CENSORED: postaladdress].

Makars' Neuk
O wad some Pouer the giftie gie us
Tae see oorsels as ithers see us!

Robert Burns.

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APA Style:

Scots Tung Wittins 58. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 21 May 2024, from

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"Scots Tung Wittins 58." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 21 May 2024.

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


Information about Document 1709

Scots Tung Wittins 58


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2396
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