Document 1764

Scots Tung Wittins 113

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 113
Aprile 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-mail: [CENSORED: emailaddress] Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber] Stravaiger Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber]

Scots Pairlament Report Cries for Comprehensive Language Policy.
A Scots Pairlament report furthset on 20t. Februar 2003 cries on the Scots Executive tae bring oot a comprehensive language policy for Scotland that taks in Gaelic, Scots an the community languages. MSPs on the influential Education, Culture an Sport Comatee is askin an aw for the Scots language tae be gien equal staundin wi Gaelic an tae be taen as ane o Scotland's official minority leids.

The report is the ootcome o an inquiry leukin intae the day's attitudes tae language in Scotland, particlar the recognition, uiss an teachin o Gaelic, Scots an minority languages. The document haes been brocht oot in seiven languages - Urdu, Chinese, Bengali, Arabic an Punjabi - as weel as Gaelic an Scots at a cost o £8,000 (€11,800). It warns that Gaelic an Scots is baith in danger o deein oot bi the end o the century, alang wi 90% o the warld's languages.MSPs on the comatee is o the consait that the creation o an inclusive language policy wad gaun some wey tae answer the questions an concairns aboot the languages o Scotland an thair place in society, culture an education. The comatee haes proponed an aw that mair research shuid be taen intae the particlar wants o ilka language tae mak shuir the language policy developed is the richt ane.

Speakin at the launch o the report, Comatee convener, Karen Gillon MSP said; "Oor Comatee wants mair research intae the wants o Scotland's languages sae that a policy can be developed tae mak shuir that fowk kens the true worth o thaim. At the end o the day, no haein a policy in place tae uphaud an develop oor minority languages is in fact juist a sleekit policy tae allou thae languages tae dee oot."

"It wis clear frae the evidence submitted tae the inquiry that lairnin mair nor ae language haes nocht but guid effects on a student's abilities. Howanever, a want o siller, trainin for teachers an graith designed for the clessroom maks it sair tae teach onythin ither nor juist English."

Maist o the submissions gotten bi the comatee wis aboot the Scots language. Mony respondents felt the language dree'd the effects o chronic unner-fundin alang wi it's virtual inferior staundin in compare wi Gaelic. For the noo, Scots is designated as a regional language unner Pairt II o the European Chairter for Regional or Minority Languages, but no unner the Pairt III that gies Gaelic a sicht mair protection. The report says, "this means there no as muckle onus or wecht tae cairry oot particlar meisures in the likes o education an culture an this highlichts the fact that Scots is dealt wi as an inferior language."

The comatee recommends a range o chyces tae better the situation includin: mair siller for Scots frae the Scots Executive; readin an writin o Scots tae be gien a lift frae Primary 1 onward; the recognition o Scots unner Pairt III o the European Chairter an mair television an wireless programs tae be brocht oot in Scots.

No sae mony submissions wis gotten aboot Gaelic an, tho the report taks tent that Gaelic haes been recognised in Scotland in a wey that Scots an community leids haesna, it gars it weel seen an aw that makin forrit wi thae languages shuidna be duin at the expense o Gaelic. The report says insteid that aw thae languages shuid co-exist thegither an hae equal staundin as the languages o Scotland.The investigation highlichts a scant o the-gither-ness in policy tairms for the bringin on o Gaelic an propones that mair resources shuid be pit tae haund, particlar for teachin graith an that Gaelic medium education shuid be mair braidly fendit.

Wi regaird tae community languages the likes o Urdu an Punjabi, the comatee wis telt that the education system stigmatises fowk for speakin sic languages raither nor valuin an makin provision for languages ither than English. The report taks tent that mony bairns that speaks a community language micht effectively be trilingual, no bilingual, for in addition tae thair community language they micht speak a dialect o Scots as weel as English in the playgroup an in the local community. Accordin tae the comatee, trilingualism pits a challenge afore the education system, but they say it's mair productive tae see this challenge as a „resource' tae be brocht on raither than as a „kinch' tae be redd oot.

The inquiry wis initiated an conductit bi the Nationalist MSP, Irene McGugan. She said: "Languages haes an itegral purpose in society an education. The feck o the evidence we got wis tae dae wi Scots an there wis a strang consait the language shuid be gien mair uphaud. Oor comatee is blithe tae pit forrit this report in seiven different languages - a first for the Pairlament. We leuk forrit tae hearin hou the Executive propones tae develop oor recommendations for the guid o aw Scotland's fowk - white'er thair language o chyce!"

The Scots Executive haes eicht week tae repone tae the report, but as the Pairlament will be lowsed on Mairch 31 for this year's Scots elections, ony repone micht weel be hauden back or the nixt session o Pairlament.

"No haein a policy in place tae uphaud an develop oor minority languages is in fact juist a sleekit policy tae allou thae languages tae dee oot."

Nixt Forgaitherin
Date tae be decidit.
7.30pm tae 9.00pm
Comatee Room C.
Brunton Ha, Musselburgh.

Statement o Principles
[NOTE: image here of the book cover in original]
THE CPG's Statement o Principles is noo ready an can be gotten frae the Scots Language Resource Centre. This is an A5 buiklet wi twenty fower pages settin oot, in gey accessible Scots, a wey forrit for the Scots language in a multilingual Scotland foondit on The Universal Declaration o Linguistic Richts. Tae git yersel a copy o this buiklet post-free send £2.50 tae the SLRC, A.K.Bell Library, York Place, Perth PH2 8AP. Cheques shuid be makit oot tae the "Scots Language Resource Centre"

Continuums an Definitions o Scots
SCOTS haes lang been descrived as bein on a linear continuum wi English whaur Scots lies at ae end o the continuum an English at the ither end. At ony pynt alang this continuum can be fund sindry densities o Scots but the orra thing is that English is never thocht o as bein on this continuum at aw. In mathematical tairms, if Scots is at ae end o this line an English is at the ither end, then aw pynts in atween thae ends is seen tae be a mix o the twa leids. At the Scots end, mair Scots an less English an at the English end, mair English an less Scots. This is a bit o a myth an gars nae want o skaith tae the estaiblishment o ony kinna definition o Scots cause maist fowk, includin Scots leid upsteerers, daesna mak ony differ atween English words an shared Scots/English words.

This is wrang! Every pynt alang the line atween the twa ends represents a mixture o non-shared Scots words, shared Scots/English words an non-shared English words. Shared Scots/English words, when uised in a Scots text is bona fide Scots words an mony o thaim haes been pairt o the Scots language for as lang as they've been pairt o the English language, gaun back tae afore the time o John Barbour an ayont. The only words that shuid be coonted as watterin doon the density o Scots maun shuirly be thae non-shared English words that haes been acquired tae tak the place o non-shared Scots words.

The previous twa editions o STW haes suggestit that ower a span o fower hunner year, the proportion o shared Scots/English words tae non-shared Scots words, in official Scots documents, wis aboot twa tae ane. It can be airgied an aw that the official Scots document taen frae 1496, that wis gien as ane o the exemplars, maun shuirly be a guid exemplar o the full density written Scots o that time an shuid bi richts lie at the extreme Scots end o the continuum raither nor ony-whaur on the continuum itsel. Howanever, if the spellins o thon exemplar wis chynged tae a mair modern orthography, as shawn ablow, maist fowk wad see it in a faur different licht.

"It is statute and ordanit throw all the realm that all barons and frehaldris that are of substance put thair eldest sons and heirs to the sculis frae they be aucht or nine years of age........ And what baron or frehalder of substance that haldis nocht his son at the sculis as said is haifand nae lauchfull essoyne but failyeis herein frae some knawledge may be gottin thereof he sall pay to the king the soume of 20 pounds."

Maist fowk the day wad see this text as bein maistly English wi ane or twa Scots words in it an wad pit it gey near tae the English end o the continuum. It's true that ower five hunner year, Scots, like ony ither livin language, haes chynged a bit syne 1496. Words the likes o and, all, of, put, to, what an pay haes chynged an in the abuin text, the verb are wad maist like tak the singular form but, apairt frae thon, hou mony fowk the day wad accept whit wis left as full blawn Scots?

On the ither haund, apairt frae a haundfu o auld farrant non-shared Scots words in this five hunner year auld text, maist hamelt Scots speakers the day wad be able tae mak mair sense o this text than they wad o some o the literary or academic Scots gaun aboot an this haes naethin tae dae wi thaim no bein learnt at the schuil hou tae read Scots. It's mair tae dae wi Scots up-steerers an writers settin oot deliberate like tae artificially upset the balance an appearance o the written language bi reddin oot the shared English/Scots content in favour o howkin up auld farrant words frae the bygane or chyngin the spellin o thae words tae mak thaim leuk mair Scots. Latinate an classical Greek words is particlar targets for this kinna ethnic reddin oot in favour o auld an lesser kent Germanic Anglian words.

The muckle kinch o loupin the sheuch atween hamelt Scots speakers an the literary Scots o the upsteerers isna that they hivna been learnt hou tae read Scots but that they hivna been learnt hou tae read the artificial written language that they dinna recognise as Scots. Is the Scots language movement really efter garrin aw thae 1.5m Scots speakers tae gie up thair spoken Scots an sit doon tae lairn this new form o the language that haes been pit thegither bi fowk that maistly daesna speak Scots? E'en the ane or twa that daes speak Scots, speaks mair or less the same language as thae 1.5m speakers an certainly no the new artificial form o the leid.

Syne the heidmaist purpose o ony language is accurate communication, it's maist important that plain, easy unnerstuid language, raither nor language that haes tae be specially lairnt bi the public, is uised for the likes o signage, official documents an non-fictional media texts. Literary text, tho it shuid bide clear o artificial forms o the language, haes its ain norms o airtistic licence but authors shuid aye be mindfu o the fact that when a reader is readin language they're at hame wi the thocht o language daesna enter thair heid for the words juist gar the picters loup intae the heid automatically athoot bein awaur o whit language is bein uised. But when the language is unfamiliar or artificial the reader haes tae tak tent o whit language is afore thair een an dae a wee bit o owersettin or plowterin throu dictionars afore the picters kythes.The strenth o the modern English leid is aw the thoosands o words it shares wi ither languages the warld ower includin a wheen frae Scots. This is whit gies it sic a muckle vocabular. If onybody wis glaikit eneuch tae want tae redd oot aw the shared words an juist leave the Anglo-Saxon anes, whit a peelie-wallie wee craiter the English dictionar wad be the day. Sae whit wey shuid onybody want tae dae sic a like thing tae the Scots language, sneddin aff its airms an legs an leavin it thirlt tae puirtith?

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)

English or Inglis?
The modern 'English' is uised in STW raither nor the mair auld farrant 'Inglis' as 'Inglis' wis uised in the bygane tae descrive the Scots language up tae aboot the end o the 15t century. It wisna till weel efter the English estaiblishment taen up wi uisin the English language insteid o Norman French aroond 1400, tae end a 333 year period o a doonhauden English language syne 1066, that the Scots estaiblishment taen tent o the difference atween the Scots Inglis an the Suddron Inglis o England. They chynged the name o thair leid frae Inglis tae Scots tae identify the language wi the country it wis spoken in.

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 limit o nummers an this hauds guid an aw for ony pairt o the wittins blat that's furthset in ony ither publication.

If Only ................
THE Royal Lyceum theatre in Edinburgh is shawin the abuin play bi the ken-speckle Quebecois playwricht, Michel Tremblay up till the 12 Aprile. Owerset intae Scots bi Martin Bowman an Bill Findlay, the play is a ae-wumman play for twae fowk. The wumman is Nana, Tremblay's mither, played bi Eileen McCallum an the man is Tremblay hissel played bi Peter Kelly. Tho no aw that lang, it taks the form o a eulogy tae his mither that wis the body that stertit him oot on the gate tae his creative career but didna live lang eneuch tae see him bear that particlar gree. The phrase "If only" haunts aw the wey throu. If only she'd lived langer. If only she haedna dreed sae muckle. Tremblay haes revolutionised theatre baith in Quebec an, bi wey o some unco guid ower-settins intae Scots, in Scotland as weel.

Box office: [CENSORED: phonenumber]

Makar's Neuk
Pairt o the King’s address tae his men at the Battle o Bannockburn.
Taen frae "The Brus".

In your handys without faile
Ye ber honour price and riches
Fredome welth and blythnes
Giff you contene you manlely,
And the contrar all halily
Sall fall giff ye lat cowardys
And wykytnes your hertis suppris.
Ye mycht have lyvyt into threldome,
Bot for ye yarnyt till have fredome
Ye ar assemblyt her with me,
Tharfor is nedfull that ye be
Worthy and wycht but abaysing.
And I warne you weill off a thing,
That mar myscheff may fall us nane
Than in thar handys to be tane,
For thai suld sla us, I wate weill
Rycht as thai did my brothyr Nele.

John Barbour 1320-1395

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Scots Tung Wittins 113. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 113." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 25 July 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots Tung Wittins 113," accessed 25 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 1764

Scots Tung Wittins 113


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2675
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