Document 1784

Scots Tung Wittins 133

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 133
Dec. 2004

A guid Scots Tung in yer heid's nae guid if yer mooth's ower blate tae uise it!

Scots Tung WITTINs

Eydently Campaignin for the Scots Leid
Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber] Scots Tung Wabsteid: Stravaiger Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber]

Census 2011 Consultation - The Stert o a Lang Stooshie
"if MSPs didnae press tae hae the Scots question in the census,it cuid be pitten intae a Household Survey "
THE General Register Office for Scotland haes juist been cairryin oot wark-shops in Glesca, Aiberdeen an Edinburgh tae speir at census uisers aboot particlars o the Census. The agenda taen in the 2001 Census Evaluation, the 2006 Census Test, the 2011 Census Development, Neibourheid Statistics, Future Population an Hoosin Statistics alang wi an Integrated Social Statistics System. It speirt oot consaits anent population bases, unner enumeration an disclosure methods, as weel as whit gauns intae the questions. It's no kent hou mony, if ony, Scots language upsteerers wis at ony o thae wark-shops but there still aye a sicht mair consultation tae tak place an it's maist important that the Scots language haes a say in whit happens.

Juist tae mind folk an let thaim ken hou the hail ongaun endit up afore the last census in 2001, it wis on the 16t Februar 2000 that the Scots Pairlament haed a final debate anent haein a question aboot the Scots language, alang wi religion, pitten intae the 2001 Census. Tae stert wi, the Scots Executive wisnae haein ony o thon at aw but that consait steered up sic a stooshie in the chaumer they war gart tae come an gaun a wee bit an, in the hinneren, they decidit that, tho they cuid see the kittlie religious question faur eneugh, they wad hae tae juist thole it tae git the census order oot the wey. Howanever, there wis nae wey they haed ony intention o pittin a question anent the Scots language intae the census. The sleekit coup de gras tho wis delivered bi the Executive when it wis suggestit if MSPs didnae press tae hae the Scots question in the census, it cuid be pitten intae a Household Survey an this wad be a faur better wey o seekin oot the information aboot the language that folk wis wantin.

A vote wis taen an 75 MSPs (Labour, Lib-Dem an Tory) votit agin haein the Scots question in the census an 31 MSPs (SNP, Green, SSP an Denis Canavan) votit for it.A nummer o months efter thon debate, a question wis speirt in the pairlament aboot when the Executive intendit tae pit a question on Scots intae the Household Survey juist tae be telt bi the Executive that there wis nae plans the noo tae hae a question aboot Scots in ony Household Survey. Sleekit's no the word for thaim.

This is noo the stert o the battle tae hae a question aboot the Scots language pitten intae the census o 2011. If sic a question wis pitten intae the census, it micht be seen bi the Cooncil o Europe's Comatee o Experts as an attempt bein makit bi the Executive tae cairry oot pairt o the Chairter's Pairt II, Airt 7, 1c - "the need for resolute action to promote regional or minority languages in order to safeguard them;"

If the Executive haes ony notion tae satisfy e'en juist pairt o this requirement, the first thing that it shuid be daein is tae fund oot juist hou mony Scots speakers there is sae that it kens whaur it's stertin frae. The guid things that sic a question in the census wad bring tae Scots is that obvious it disnae need tae be spelt oot here but whit is obvious an aw is that a muckle maucht shuid be makit bi the Scots language movement tae hae a Scots question in the 2011 Census an the Cross Pairty Group on Scots shuid tak the lead in co-ordinatin sic a campaign for Census 2011. For a stert, there shuirly maun be some maimbers o the group that's haed some professional experience o makin uiss o the census information an kens whit a fairly accurate nummer o Scots speakers can be uised for an whaur. Experience in dalin wi civil servants an government depairtments wad be o nae sma value an aw. Whit's needit is a Scots vice that kens whit it's speakin aboot an hou tae campaign agin sic sleekit, skeelie an experienced faes.

Individual folk can tak pairt in the GROS's 2011 Census Questions Consultation Questionnaire richt noo on the follaein wabsite:-
Ye can aither prent an fill in the questionnaire or fill it in electronically on-screen in juist twa-three meenits tae register yer ain particlar consaits anent the 2011 Census.
Maist o the questions is juist a maitter o agreein or no wi whit's bein proponed but doon at the hinnerend there twa boxes whaur ye can propone questions ye want taen oot o the census an mair important, ane whaur ye can set oot new questions ye want pitten intae the census.

If ye're o the consait that there shuid be a question anent the Scots language pitten intae the 2011 Census, whit wey no tak twa three meenits tae fill in the questionnaire on-screen an register yer ain consaits?

Heard on Scotland The Day
IT wis reportit bi STV's news program, Scotland The Day, that a set o letters that wis thocht tae belang Admiral Nelson haes been fund at the clear-oot o a hoose in Auld Reekie. Thae letters includit ane that wis sent tae Nelson juist afore he jyned the Navy as a 12 year auld laddie an anither that he wrote hissel tae his ain local kirk juist days efter he haed tint his richt airm in a battle. Thon letter wis written in a kinna bairn-like haund an a forspeaker on the program pyntit oot that, "We understand that after losing his right arm, Nelson learned how to read and write with his left hand within twenty-four hours."It maun hae come in gey handy efter he'd tint an ee as weel!

© 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.

Scots Tung WITTINS
On the wab.
The Scots Tung Wittins can be vizzied or doon-loadit an prentit frae the wabsteid o:-
The Scots Speikers Curn, Glesca.
Wabsteid backin:-
Mair raicent copies can noo be gotten in pdf format frae Scots Tung's ain wabsteid at:-
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)

A Herty Yule
tae aw oor
readers !

Scotland's Native Tongues
BBC SCOTLAND in its raicent reports anent the Gaelic Language Bill that's gaun throu the Scots Pairlament the noo, refers tae Gaelic as Scotland's native tongue. Tho aiblins this is duin wi nae sma hertenin word or twa frae some o the Gaelic upsteerers, BBC Scotland shuid ken bi noo that tho the Gaelic language is a native tongue o Scotland, it shuirly isnae the native tongue o Scotland for it isnae the only ane that can lay claim tae thon honour.

As Colin Wilson pynts oot in his letter tae BBC Scotland:-
"I must take issue with your description of Gaelic as "Scotland's native tongue". Historically, Scotland was settled by a number of peoples, of which the Gaels were only one. From the earliest times, Scotland has been a multi-lingual country. It has no specific "native tongue".

Scotland the day haes three languages, Gaelic, Scots an Scottish English an syne the hinnermaist is seen bi maist as a mair raicently aquired or imposed language, only Scots an Gaelic can be considered tae be vernacular languages o Scotland, ie. Scotland's historically native tongues.

It's only but richt that the Gaelic language shuid be gien uphaud frae the Scots government in the form o a Gaelic Bill for it's in sair want o a heize. At the end o the day tho, Gaelic Bill or no, the Gaelic language will only survive in Scotland if the Gaels uise it as an ilkaday communication tool. If it's no uised as a spoken language in ilka day life, nae maitter hou muckle screivit graith the estaiblishment kythes, it'll juist keep on dwinin awa till it's deid. Coorse, in thon respeck, Scots is in the same boat. When Scots stops bein uised as a spoken language, nae maitter hou muckle literature haes survived, Scots will be juist as deid as Latin. Howanever, Scots micht weel hae ane or twa advantages ower Gaelic in the survival gemm. The first ane is that, for aw there hisnae been a Scots question in ony census, there thocht tae be somewhaur atween 1.5m tae 2.5m Scots speakers the day in compare wi aroond 57,000 Gaelic speakers. The saicond ane is that wi Gaelic bein a Celtic language, it haes nae similarities wi English, sae there nae uiss Gaelic speakers uisin Gaelic as a spoken language except in the company o Gaelic speakers if they're wantin tae be unnerstuid. Scots on the ither haund is a Germanic language the same as English an shares twa thirds o its vocabular wi English sae it's possible tae speak Scots tae Scots folk that's come up throu the Scots education system an still be unnerstuid, e'en bi folk that disnae awn tae be Scots speakers thirsels. It's the same wi written Scots, as lang's the spellins isnae ower orra or pitten on.

For aboot ten year noo, aboot 99% o Scots Tung's letters an e-mails, baith tae athin an tae furth o Scotland, is written in Scots an in aw thon time it hisnae haed ane complaint frae folk no bein able tae unnerstaun thaim, excep for Hugh Henry MSP in 2000.

The biggest threit tae the survival o the Scots language is that, for aw there rowth o folk unnerstauns the leid, they dinnae aw speak it. It's no that they cannae speak it but raither that they dinnae want tae be seen as pairt o the uneducatit warkin cless, if thare is sic a thing noo-a-days. It's embarrassment that hauds thaim back.

A body wad be gey glaikit tae think that if the Scots government wis tae fetch oot a Scots language bill the morn, aw the estaiblishment's twa leidit Scots language upsteerers, baith literary an academic, wad blithely stert speakin tae ane anither in Scots. The withdrawal symptoms wad be gey sair tae folk addicted tae the English or Scottish Standart English languages.

Harry Potter's Phoenix Airmy?
A 14 year auld laddie frae Girona in Catalonia, haes been lifted bi the polis an taen afore the Spanish High Coort accused o makin terrorist threits efter sendin a puckle e-mails tae three important Spanish companies an speirin for aw thair labellin tae be in the Catalan language. Insteid o signin wi his ain name, the laddie signed his e-mails "Phoenix Airmy", an idea taen frae JK Rowling's kenspeckle Harry Potter buiks for bairns. In his e-mails, the laddie speirt the Spanish companies tae chynge thair labellin policy frae the stert o October 2004 on thair products, wabsites an mailins.

For aw it wis a kinna bairn-like ongaun tae uphaud language normalisation in Catalonia, the Spanish Civil Gaird reemaged the laddie's hoose wi mair nor 20 Civil Gairds an the polis sequestratit twa computers, jalousin the hauflin micht be a dangerous terrorist.

The lawyer o the faimly said that the judge haed pitten oot a judicial order tae gaun intae an reemage the hoose efter gittin official complaints frae the three companies. The laddie haed tae mak a statement afore the Civil Gaird an twa computer experts, that haed traivelt aw the wey frae Madrid.

A Catalan paper said that, tae stert wi, baith the laddie an his faimly seen the investigation as "ridiculous" but noo the laddie haes gotten gey nervous an haes hid tae get psychological treatment frae the doctor. His lawyer confirmed that he hidnae haed ony bother wi the law afore an he wis a guid student at the scuil an the only thing the polis haed come up wi sae faur wis that the laddie haed "Catalan-nationalist ideas".

In the meantime, the case still gauns on. The polis is gaun throu awthin in the computers an will praisent a final report on the case. "They'll no fund onythin!" threapit the faimly lawyer.

Launch o the Scottish Corpus
[NOTE: logo of Scottish Corpus of texts & Speech in original]
SCOTS, the Scottish Corpus o Texts an Speech, haes let it be kent that its wabsite will be open tae the public for browsin an seekin oot online frae this St Andrew's Day, 30t November 2004 an can be vizzied at:-

The Corpus is a gey important resource that's been sair wantit an is expeckit tae cairry on growein an swallin efter its launch sae it can be an e'en mair uissfu piece o graith for linguistic an cultural research. Ingate tae the Corpus an its treisures is free tae awbody subjeck tae juist the usual copyricht restrictions.

The SCOTS projeck ettles tae big up a muckle electronic ingaitherin o baith written an spoken texts frae the languages o Scotland. This is a thing that is sairly wantit if Scotland is tae owercome the muckle want that kythes the noo in its kennin o Scotland's languages.

Tae stert wi, the Corpus will dale maistlins wi Scottish English an Scots texts, but it's intendit tae include an aw, Gaelic an graith frae non-vernacular community leids the likes o Punjabi, Urdu an Chinese. In this wey, the Corpus ettles tae gie an accurate picter o the sindry linguistic situation that kythes in Scotland the day.

It is jaloused that SCOTS will allou aw thaim interestit in the sindry mak-up o Scotland's languages, an in Scottish culture an identity, tae speir oot the particularities o Scotland's languages in new weys. Forbye thon, it will hain information aboot thae languages for aw the generations tae come.

Nixt Forgaitherin
Monday 31 Jan. 2005
7.30pm tae 9.00pm
27 Stoneyhill Avenue

Makar's Neuk
The midges in Yarrae are as big as a sparrae
An when it is put tae the test,
Some that Ah knew could bite their wey thru
Anorak, jersey an vest.

In Yarrae, ye know, a lang time ago
Elephants roamed day and night
Till the midges came in and then did begin
Tae swallae them up in yin bite.

The midges Ah've seen hae wee beady een
Big teeth an huge flappin lugs
Yin that Ah saw, fought a close draw
Wi yin o Jim Mitchell's best dugs.

Walkers that stray on the Southern Upland Way
If they're lucky, they're bitten bie a cleg
But if they're the sorts that gaun roond in shorts
Maistly they're wanten a leg.

And in the trough o St Mary's Loch
If the heid o a monster dis loom.
Dinnae make a mess bie phonen Loch Ness
It's a Yarrae midge oot for a soom.

Taen frae Walter Elliot's "A Song For Yarrow"

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.


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APA Style:

Scots Tung Wittins 133. 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 10 December 2023, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 133." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. 10 December 2023.

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The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. 2023. Glasgow: University of Glasgow.


Information about Document 1784

Scots Tung Wittins 133


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2660
General description monthly newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)

Text publication details

Publisher Scots Tung
Publication year 2004
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