Document 1763

Scots Tung Wittins 112

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 112
Mairch 2003

Keep a guid Scots Tung in yer heid an in yer hert! but mind an uise it tae!

Scots Tung WITTINS

Eydently uphaudin the Scots Leid Campaign
e-screive: [CENSORED: emailaddress] Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber] Stravaiger Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber]

William S. Bruce an the Scotia's Antarctic Expedition
[NOTE: photograph of Scotia winters at Sooth Orkneys 1903 in original]
A hunner year syne, the Scots National Antarctic Expedition o 1902 - 1904 tae the Suddron Ocean wis weel unner wey in the research ship "Scotia". The venture wis peyed for bi public subscreivin wi maist o the siller comin frae the Coats faimly o Paisley, kenspeckle makars o shewin threids. Frae the ootset it wis controversial. The hinneren o the 19t century wis a time that mony expeditions tae the Antarctic wis bein planned. This Scots ane wis thocht up an led bi William Speirs Bruce, a chiel wi nae sma experience in polar exploration an a eydent Scots nationalist forbye. The voyage wis a sindry Scots venture an it wis sairly contered bi Sir Clemens Markham, Preses o the Royal Geographical Society, that spake o 'mischievous rivalry'atween the Scots expedition an the "Discovery"expedition led bi Robert Falcon Scott, that haed mair siller an mair publicity an haed left for the Antarctic the year afore. Howanever, the aims o the Scots expedition haed naethin tae dae wi racin tae be first tae the Sooth Pole, or tae compete wi ithers in ony other wey. It wis tae cairry oot systematic oceanographic an meterological observations in the Antarctic Ocean, an tae dae this in the name o Scotland. In Bruce's ain words, "Science wis the talisman o the Expedition, Scotland wis emblazoned on its flag." It wis the Scots Saltire that wis proodly set tae flee frae the heid o the main-mast. The "Scotia" wis an unco bonnie ex-Norwegian whaler, 140 ft lang an biggit o wid that wis sheathed in greenhert tae hain the hull frae the skaith tha micht be duin bi pack ice. She wis weel hanselt wi a laboratory, guid accomodation for the scientists an crew, an wis fitted wi the newest kinna engines for dredgin an trawlin.

The ship, captained bi Thomas Robertson, an experienced ice navigator frae Peterheid, left Troon in November 1902 an won tae the Falkland Isles in Januar 1903 then bore sooth athort whit is noo kent as the Scotia Sea, aimin tae win tae the unexplored watters o the Weddell Sea afore the suddron winter taen a haud. Efter passin the Sooth Orkney Isles, Scotia cam on tae tichtly packed ice an, tae avoid winterin in open pack ice, whaur scientific wark wad be gey limitit, the ship makit her wey north airly in Mairch tae winter in the Sooth Orkneys. She anchored in a muckle bey aff Laurie Isle, that later on wis tae be cried "Scotia Bay", juist afore the ice shuf aff the entry. Athin days, Scotia wis iced in an bid that wey tae November.

The Sooth Orkneys wis gey near unbekent tae scientists afore the visit o the Scotia. Howanever, they war tae mak an ideal bit tae pass the winter in an mak meteorological observations. the Islands sits on the mairches o the ice-bund sea, faur tae soothart o Cape Horn an its storms. Scotia wis able tae bide wi safety athin the polar ice, yet in a bit that wis fu o seals, birds and marine life. Richt throu the winter in the Sooth Orkneys, the expedition maimbers makit a guid nummer o scientific observations frae the Scotia, biggit a steive-like hoose on land an estaiblisht sma meterological an magnetic observatories. As lang's the watter bid open, an whiles e'en throu the ice, the scientists taen a guid nummer o dredge an trawl preeins, shawin a rich marine fauna athin the bey.

Efter gittin oot the ice in November an gaun north tae re-provision, the expedition sailed sooth agane ower kittlie an unchancie watters tae come up agin a new ice-bund pairt o the Antarctic continent, that wis cried "Coats Land" bi Bruce efter the expedition's sponsors. New depth soondins wis tae in the Weddell Sea, allouin the easter pairt o this puirly expolred sea tae be chairtit for the first time. Efter feinishin a full program o scientific observations, the Scotia makit her wey oot the Wessell Sea in airly Aprile an set oot for Gough Island, 200 mile due sooth o Tristan da Cunha; her gate taen her tae Capetown, St. Helena, Ascension Island an the Azores, in the hinneren anchorin in the Firth o Clyde aff Millport in July 1904.

The voyage lestit 20 month an covered ower 23,600 mile. The expedition's success awned muckle tae the character o Bruce hissel for he kent that new wark in the unchairtit Suddron Ocean wad want new techniques an new graith an that wis the wey he haed made siccar that Scotia haed cairriet mair oceanographic graith nor ony ither Antarctic ship haed duin in the bygane.

Aroond 150 trawl hauls wis taen bi Scotia at depths doon tae 293m, an 48 deeper hauls wis gotten at 1,830 tae 4,575m, the ootcome bein a collection o Antarctic marine invertebrates that for mony a year head nae maik frae ony other expeditions. Seaflair deposits wis chairtit ower a muckle area, an reports wis brocht oot on Antarctic birds an mammals. The Scotia expedition won tae ilka ane o its aim an added a guid bit tae knawledge o the ootline o the Antarctic continent, an tae the bathymetry o the Weddell an Scotia seas. Mony o the specimens collectit bi Scotia is noo hauden bi the National Museums o Scotland in Edinburgh, an includes species o Antarctic fish that wis new tae science in thae days.

Back hame, Bruce wisna forgien bi Sir Clemens for cairryin oot a sindry Scots expedition an he wisna gien the Polar Medal o The Royal Geographical Society that aw Arctic explorers aye haed thair ee on. Insteid, Bruce haed his ain medal designed an presentit tae the scientists an crew.

In pickin oot his scientific feres, Bruce gaed for specific skill, youth an virr. For his crew he pickied thaim wi experience in polar watters. There wis nae brass-bund officers haudin tae naval etiquette an routine. Maist o the sailors wis experienced Arctic whalers, mony o thaim frae Dundee. He peyed particlar tent tae the weel-bein o his scientists an sailors an said he wad like thaim tae see the ship as thair university, no a an institution for gittin throu exams, but raither as ane whaur they cuid study the sindry phenomena o Nature, althoot bias an frae Nature itsel.

Bruce's memory is honoured tae this day: the Bruce Memorial Prize is awardit bi the Royal Society o Edinburgh tae scientists at the ootset o thair careers for thair kenspeckle contribution tae research in polar regions.

Scotia haes been follaed bi anither three research vessels proodly cairryin this name an noo awned bi the Fisheries Research Services that's an agency o the Scots Executive

owerset intae Scots frea "SCOTIA, The Four Research Ships" bi A.D. Hawkins.
© Crown copyright, translated an reproduced wi the permission o FRS Marine Laboratory, Aberdeen.
ISBN 0 9532838 1 X

Copies can be gotten frae The Librarian. Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, Victoria Rd, Aberdeen AB11 9DB

Scots Tung WITTINS
On the wab.
The Scots Tung Wittins can be vizzied or doon-haunnelt an prentit (noo in PDF format forbye) frae the wabsteid o:-
The Scots Speikers Curn, Glesca.
Wabsteid backin:-
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.
£6 (Ireland/EU) $14 (Americae)

Ae Scots Leid or Twa?
Ae Scots leid or twa? Thon's a question that haes shawn its heid twa three times in recent days. No that lang syne there wis a muckle stushie in the media set aff bi Professor Jones o Edinburgh University when he threapit there wis a spoken leid that he cried "Scots" an a mair artificial written leid that he cried "Lallans". Mair recent like, there wis a wee differ atween Scots upsteerers anent the official owersettin o a government report intae Scots an whither thon Scots shuid reflect mair tae the spoken "Scots" or the literary "Lallans".

Last month STW cairried six examples o official Scots registers taen frae ower a span o fower hunner year an ane o thaim frae 1496 is shawn here again wi aw the "shared" words highlichtit in rid makin allouances for chynges in spellin ower the years:-

"It is staute and ordanit throw all the realme that al barronis and frehaldris that ar of substance put thair eldest sonnis and airis to the sculis fra thai be aucht or nyne yeiris of age...And quhat baroune or frehalder of substance that haldis nocht his sonne at the sculis as said is haifand na lauchfull essoyne bot failyeis
heirin fra knawledge may be gottin thairof he sall pay to the king the soume of XX pounds."

This shaws a pattern, that's gey typical oot o the six, o twa thirds o aw the words uised bein "shared" words an ae third bein 'non-shared". this proportion o twa tae ane wad seem tae faw mair in wi the spoken language we hae the day nor wi the written "Lallans", e'en efter takin intae accoont the fact that awbody aye uises a bigger written vocabular nor they uise when speakin, nae maitter whit language is uised. If some screivers o literary Scots, baith prose an poetry, sets oot tae deliberately distort this proportion o "shared/non-shared" words tae mak thair work leuk mair "Scots", then this maun be creatin an artificial form o Scots that heas never e'er been spoken in the bygane, isna spoken the day an, whit's mair, isna spoken in ilka-day conversation, particlar bi its authors. Frae this pynt o view, it's nae skoosh tryin tae conter Charlie Jones' consait tha "Lallans" is an artificial language.

Scots language upsteerers can whiles forget that hainin the Scots leid haes naethin tae dae wi stoppin Scots frae chyngin. The leid that daesna chynge is a deid ane the likes o Latin. E'en the muckle bleck hole o languages, English, chynges ilka day an haes duin sae syne its hamecomin an naebody threaps English the day isna richt English cause it's no the same as it wis a hunner year syne. Scots upsteerers can nae mair stop Scots frae bein affected bi the wecht o English influence frae the media nor Canute cuid stop the tide frae comin in. Whit they hiv tae dae is mak siccar that as mony chynges as possible happens in a sindry Scots kinna wey an tae aye keep in mind that whit-e'er Scots chynges inate it's still aye gaun tae be Scots. The words in "pure dead brilliant" is aw shared English words but they're uised is a sindry Scots wey that maks the phrase pure dead brilliant Scots idiom. In this example, "dead" daesna mean "deid" an "brilliant" daesna mean "unco bricht".

The weird o the Scots language aye lippens on thae 1.5m-2.5m Scots speakers an Scots writters haes tae mak some contact wi thaim. We canna dae ocht ither nor stert wi the spoken Scots language as it is the day.Writers can add tae the spoken vocabular bi introducin readers gradually tae some o the mair recent tint words but no at the expense o the shared words for thon juist pits Scots intae a strecht-jaicket, denies fowk uiss o aw thae words thair forebeirs wis able tae mak fell guid uiss o, an maks the Scots language a guid sicht puirer for it in the hinneren.

Copyricht for awthin screivit in this wittins blat bides wi R. Fairnie. The Scots Tung Wittins can be fotie-copied in hail or in pairt athoot leemit o nummers an this hauds guid an aw for ony pairt o the wittins blat that’s furthset in ony ither publication.

Comatee o Experts
It wis Monday 20t Januar the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages' Comatee o Experts cam tae Leith tae meet wi forespeakers frae aw the main Scots language upsteerers an groups at the Victoria Quay offices o the Scots Executive. The comatee stertit wi invitin fowk tae bring tae thair tent ony important pynts they kent o then gaed throu a leet o thair ain questions speirin fowk for comments. They taen awthin in eydently an wrote it aw doon. Neist day they met wi the Executive in the form o Dr Douglas Andsell. There wis nae ministers or MSPs thare at aw ither nor Irene McGuggan MSP. It wad seem the guid Dr got a sair time o't frae baith the Comatee an Irene that mindit him o the obligations unner the Charter an pyntit oot whaur the Executive wis fawin doon on its commitments. A copy o the Comatee's report will gaun oot tae awbody concerned afore the hinneren o this year.

Neist Forgaitherin
Monday 10 Mairch 2003
7.30pm tae 9.00pm
Comatee Room C.
Brunton Ha, Musselburgh.

Official Owersets
The recent owersettin o an official report intae Scots haes shawn, if nocht else, that super-editin bi comatee daesna work an ower mony cuiks daes indeed spyle the broth. If Scots is ever agane gien anither shot at sic an owersettin, noo's the time tae git a better system set up an rinnin. It micht be better if aw applicants wis asked tae submit a hail completed owerset. Editin cuid weel be limitit tae checkin the accuracy o meanin in the translate, gremmar, punctuation, spellin consistency, mistaks an typos. If the editin comatee daesna like the style, sentence structure, language or spellin system, then they shuid pick anither entry. Nae major chynges shuid be cairried oot on the document athoot the agreement o the original author. Ease o access tae the document bi ordinary Scots speakers shuid be paramount at aw times.

A sad Tale Frae Widney!
Bi W.G.Johnston
A got a richt doolsome wee story t' tell ye the day, michty it's as sad aat it still brings tears t'm' een yet? It maun hae been awa back in September last eer fin a teuk up e hinmaist o m' tattiies. Noo, for een or twa eer past A've been followin a wee ploy aat Widney's maist famous gairdenin loon, Geordie Barron, eesed t' dae at e Beechgrove Gairden, namely t' berry a makin o new tatties in a tin n then dig them up for yer Xmas denner. Twa important things ye hiv t' waatch, first, mak sheer aat e tatties yer gaan t' berry dinna hae ony blemishes on them n are aa aboot e same size, then second mak sheer ye seal up yer tin ticht so aat nae air can get in. Of coorse there is a third n maist important thingie aat ye hiv tae min, far aboot ye beeriet e tin! Michty, foo fine it is t' sit dooon t' yer turkey n stuffin n aa the trimmins n yer ain new tatties! Bit nae es eer? (Hud on till A dicht m'een). E day afore Xmas A Lookit oot m'spaad n gid intil m' gairden n dug up m' tin box, A can tell ye A wis fair lickin m' lips, A cwid see in m' myn's ee att bonnie new tatties on m'plate neist day! A gave e tin a bit o' a dicht then wi m' knife. A stairted t' cut awa e tape aat A hid sealed it up wi. Aff cam e lid n e sicht att met m' een n e stink aat hut m'nose jist aboot fleered m'? M'bonnie tatties wis aa rotten n stinkin! Fit A think hid happened wis es - wi aa e rain aat cam doon in October n November e waater table hid cam as far up att m'tin wi tatties, m'bonnie tatties (sob) ended up sittin in waater. E waater hid seepit in throwe e jints o'm'tin or maybe there hid been a wee holie somewey in the tin, jist aneuch t'lat e waater in n spile m'Xmas denner! Es neist eer A'll beery m'tin on e tap o Mossie's hill!!

Makar's Neuk
Last Lauch

The Minister said it wald dee,
The cypress buss I plantit
But the bush grew til a tree,
Naething dauntit.

Hit's growin, stark and heich,
Derk and straucht and sinister,
Kirkyairdie-like and dreich.
But whaur's the Minister ?

Douglas Young (1913-1973)

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 112. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 2 March 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 112." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 2 March 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots Tung Wittins 112," 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 1763

Scots Tung Wittins 112


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2828
General description monthly newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)

Text publication details

Publisher Scots Tung
Publication year 2003
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