Document 1771

Scots Tung Wittins 120

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 120
Nov 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
Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber] Stravaiger Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber]

Ruits an Flooers, Itchy Coos an Drama Students
Bi the Stravaigin Reporter
"The teuchest darg is tae get sic wark accordit its proper status in the minds o fowk an tae spread
its affect in skuils an colleges"
In 1985, an essay cried The Ruit an the Flooer bi William Neill wis furthset in Chapman. Ingaitherin frae his ain experience, o the significance o language, Neil writ that the maist important pairt wis the kennin o yer ain language.
"oor ain hame leids were a necessair lugmark o Scottishness"

Neill taks a braid ingaitherin vizzy o Scotland, awnin that its three heidmaist languages (Gaelic, Scots an English) can wark weel thegither wi some fowk flitting comfortable like in an oot the three o thaim. He airgies agin the fause front o Scottishness bein pit forrit athoot the uphaud o the uiss o oor ain language, takin tent o the place that English haes in oor lives. The essay cuid a been written the day. Gey near 20 year on, an efter devolution, tho the campaign tae forder the Scots language haes a mair heich profile an is stranger, it daes seem that mony o the forgaitherins hauden tae dae this is still aye cairriet oot in English.

The Forum on Scots Language wis hauden on Seturday 20 September 2003 at the RSAMD in Glesca as pairt o a hail day's ongauns rin bi the Itchy Coo alang wi the RSAMD an the SAC. The heidmaist souch o the collogue echoed muckle o whit Willie Neill proponed i.e. the cultural importance o a national language; knawledge o yer ain language bein a forder tae bi-lingulism; Scots bein the language o identity for Scots while English is the language o pouer, authority an discipline. The collogue lairned o the RSAMD's pairt in uphaudin Scots culture wi, amang ither things, its mandatory study o Scots as pairt o the curriculum an the wecht it pits on the biggin up an bringin on o the student's naitural vice. Howanever, apairt frae ane maimber o the panel, Janet Paisley, an Matthew Fitt frae Itchy Coo, the collogue wis conductit in English. This shuirly reflecks whit Scots culture actually is raither nor whit fowk micht like it tae be. Scots haes tae be a livin language - the mair it's uised in the public domain, particular bi the educatit fowk that's sae eydently uphaudin it, the less it'll hae tae thole the creenge factor that's dreed bi sae mony Scots the day.

Ane o the questions that cam frae the flair wis frae ane o the young actors that awned tae hivin haed bother in pronouncin some Scots words e'en tho she wis a Scot. This is dowie. Tho we ken that language is organic, joukin, chyngin an growein aw the time, thon consait threaps a sairious wearin awa o Scots on the ae pairt the same time as it's bein eydently uphaudit on anither. Mony fowk that sees thirsels as Scots juist splatters thair English wi the odd Scots word but the accent bides Scots, athoot ony doot, cause the echoes o the auld Scots uised bi past generations is still dirlin. If Scots is tae be taen serious like, it maun be studied serious like, a pynt makit bi ane o the panel, Jim Connell, Professor o Education at the University o Glesca. This uphaudit Willie Neill's airgiement when he said,

"The teuchest darg is tae get sic wark accordit its proper status in the minds o fowk and tae spread its affect in skuils an colleges"
Culture the day is positive in allouin Scots speakin bairns tae uise thair ain words athoot fear o gitin a row or ony rid faces. Projecks the likes o Itchy Coo's is waukenin ither bairns that micht a felt a stranger tae thair Mither Tongue. Mony adult Scots an aw feels a stranger tae it, seein its revival as a bit o a joke. Tae forder the language siccar like, awbody, no juist the 1.5 million hamelt Scots speakers haes tae be able tae identify wi the written form o the language.

A staundart gremmar an orthography shuid be pitten in place as suin as possible. If that wis tae happen, it wad tak awa the need for some orra phonetic spellins bein passed aff as Scots. Insteid, the bona fide shared words, cled in the natural rhythm o local speech, cuid come thro in Scots writin juist as it haes been duin in English in the bygane wi Scottish writers the likes o Jessie Kesson an Lorna Moon.

The day feinisht wi the performance o six plays that haed "...been thocht up bi an written bi teachers an students frae aw the airts o Scotland. Takin a poem, story or historical ongaun as its stertin pynt, ilka piece [retellin] the episode in modern Scots, uisin dialecks an forms that refleck the wey Scots is spoken athort the country the day." (Itchy Coo catalogue)

Tam o Shanter's Big Night Oot is editit bi Matthew Fitt an James Robertson.
It's furthset bi Itchy Coo,
ISBN: 1 902927 73 7 price £6.99

The hail o The Ruit an the Flooer an Standard Language, Rigid Minds bi William Neill can be read in the centenary issue o Chapman (nos.102-103) price £9.95.

SLD's Scuil Wab
SLD's new Scuil Wab is tae be launched on Thursday the 27 November 2003 at 11am at the Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk's Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh.

The SLD says that, "The Scuil Wab is for bairns o aw ages frae airlie years richt up tae Higher Still. The teachers' pages hauds a walth o teachin materials as weel.

At the launch, a hantle o primary fowers will be pittin it tae the test. Come alang an hae a shot yersel!

There tea/coffee an a piece in yer haund forbye."

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:-
Tae hae a free PDF copy sent bi e-mail ilka month, phone 0131-665-5440.
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)

© Copyricht for awthin written 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.

Frae Hebrew tae Scots tae English
A review bi Irene Brown
IT wis an antrin find in an Oxfam buikshop that led tae the production o English born writer Diana Hendry's hinnermaist pamphlet, Twelve Lilts – Psalms and Responses. The buik she fund wis a 1987 reprent o a work that wis first furthset in 1871 cried The Psalms: Frae Hebrew intil Scottis by Free Church minister, Peter Hately Waddell. Accordin tae Waddell, his owersettin wis "mair sib tae the original…nor oor weel kent English vairsion." Tho Diana isna a Scots speaker, the 'hameliness' o the language in Waddell's psalms spake tae her an egged her on tae owerset thaim 'back' tae a kinna English that ettilt tae refleck thon feelin. She haes includit pairsonal responses tae the psalms that's prentit alangside o the ower-settins. Waddell's owersettins wis makit oot o a mellin o the Scots o Burns an Scott, some auld farrant as weel as some invented words. Diana says that Waddell's owersettins "has the tang and tongue of the spoken voice". Her re-owersettin o thae 12 psalms is testament tae the strenth o Scots as a language in its ain richt, refleckin its ain special particularities that as J. Derrick McClure pints oot in his buik, Why Scots Matters, "The Scots language is a mark o the sindry identity o the Scottish fowk".

This is siccar e'en tho it wad seem that Waddell's wark wis an academic exercise that inventit words the likes o 'heal-ha'din' tae mean 'salvation ' an 'kithgettin' tae mean 'generation' but ane that's ootcome haed a less formal Scots vairsion in the hinneren that haes brocht aboot this unique furthsettin.

There wadna be muckle mense in pittin a text owersetten frae Scots intae English back intae Scots an, syne Diana's repones is in English an aw, A'll juist quo pairt o Waddell's owersettins, the innin tae Psalm 23.

"The sheep-keepin o' the Lord's kind an canny, wi' a braw howff at long last: David keeps his sheep; the Lord keeps David"

Twelve Lilts – Psalms and Responses (ISBN 094588 34 1) can be gotten frae Mariscat Press price £5.

Diana Hendry haes haed 2 poetry buiks furthset bi Peterloo, Making Blue an Borderers an a raicent ingaitherin for bairns No Homework Tomorrow furthset bi Glow-worm. She haes haed bairns' buiks furthset an aw bi Red Fox an haes haed mony cutty

Nixt Forgaitherin
Tae be decidit

IN last month's review o Maureen Sangster's pamphlet, The Unseen Hospital, a mistak micht a gien the norrie that By the burnie that feeds the Dee, Being Intimate an To Christ wis includit in the pamphlet. They're no. They are the three Scots poems that's includit in her buik, Out of the Urn. STW apologises gin it haes airtit onybody the wrang wey or gien onybody ony fash.

A Singular Plural
THE Northern Subjeck Rule's the tairm yaised tae mean a gremmatical paittren whan the present tense verb can tak the –s endin in singular an plural, binna it's cleikit tae a personal pronoun as its subjeck. It's fund in aw byleids o Scots an it's aften uised the day.

Sae, the bairns speaks English, no the bairns speak English. Bit they speak English, no they speaks English.
The NSR is thocht tae hae kythed in Northern English afore the 9t c. There a wheen theories as tae whit leid this paittren comes frae. Ane o thaim says it's frae Brythonic, an auld P-Celtic leid that wis spoken in the sooth o Scotland till the back end o the 8t c. an that evolved intae byleids kent noo as Welsh, Cornish an Breton. Some academics says the wis a Celtic bi-lingual stage (a continuum o Brythonic an Auld English) afore the Scandinavian leid wis spoken in northern England atween the 9t an 11t c. an sae it's Brythonic that this rule maun come frae.

Wojtec Gardela.
Refs:- Klemola J. (2000). ‘The Origins of the Northern Subj. Rule - A case of Early Contact?' In H. Tristram (Ed.) The Celtic Englishes II. Heidelberg: Universitatsverlag C. Winter.
[NOTE: image of a poster advertising Scotsoun lecture here in original]

Scots Tung's Yule Cairds for 2003
[NOTE: image of the Christmas card here in original]
SCOTS Tung's Yule cairds for this in-comin Christmas is noo ready for collectin an at the time o writin, the new landscape format wis disappearin like snaw aff a dyke wi weel ower a thoosand selt. Coorse thon grand auld leddy o brigs, the Forth Brig, micht weel hiv haed a haund in its success.

Forbye the greetins on the front o the caird, there a braw seasonal poem inower on the left haund side that's taen ower the Makar's Neuk this month. The seasonal greetins on the ither inside page says:-
"Biddin Ye A Blythe Yuletide An A Guid New Year." The hinnermaist page tells fowk that the Picter wis taen frae an original ink & watercolour paintin bi East Lothian airtist an buik illustrator, Sally J Collins, shawin the auld Forth Brig at Yule.

Forbye that, there a wee cuttie accoont o the brig's hamecomin:-
"The Forth Rail Brig taen seeven year tae big an wis officially opened in Mairch 1890 bi H.R.H. Prince o Wales ( suin tae be Edward VII ). The cantilever brig is a mile an a hauf lang an spangs the Forth frae Sooth tae Nor Queens-ferry, a braw testament tae the ingineerin skeels o wir forbeirs."

The cairds costs 60p for ilka ane collectit frae Scots Tung or bi post in pokes o 10 for £7 incl. p&p.

Orders can be pitten bi post, phone or e-mail tae:- Scots Tung, [CENSORED: postaladdress].
[CENSORED: phonenumber] [CENSORED: emailaddress]

Makar's Neuk

Thinkin o Scotia's bonnie views
Shairlie yin o the best maun be
The railway brig that spangs the Forth
Whaur ferries lang syne sailed the sea.

It's tholed the test o time an tide
For a hunder year an mair
Girders an rivets wrocht in place
Ingineerin wi skeelie flair.

Noo Yuletide cairds is gey lik brigs
Raxin ower gaps o time an miles
Sooderin bonds o kith an kin
Nurturin freendships aw the whiles.

Sae awthin guid this blithe Yuletide
Happiness, contentment an cheer
Ample board an mony a freend
But maist o aw A Guid New Year.

J.C.C. - Scots Tung

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Scots Tung Wittins 120. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 July 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 120." 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 120," 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 1771

Scots Tung Wittins 120


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2243
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