Document 1787

Scots Tung Wittins 136

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 136
Mairch 2005

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]

Fareweel tae Norah - A Mindin
[NOTE: a photograph of Lillian Norah McVeigh-Kallqvist in original]
LILLIAN Norah McVeigh-Kallqvist, nurse, medical owersetter an foondin maimber o Scots Tung, dee'd in Edinburgh on 10 Januar at 84 year auld. Norah trained an studied tae be a nurse in London durin the warst days o the blitz, bearin the gree o a gowd medal frae the City o London in her final exams.

Efter the war she gaed tae Sweden whaur she lairnt tae speak fluent Swedish then she met an mairriet the kenspeckle Dr Ivar Kallqvist. She bid in Sweden for 40 year an taen up owersettin medical wark baith frae English intae Swedish an frae Swedish intae English then later on wi ither Scandinavian leids alang wi languages frae ither airts o Europe, endin up as linguistics advisor tae the Karolinska Institute o Stockhlom. She came back tae Scotland efter her man dee'd an fund a lot o comfort in her ain mither tung, Scots.

O aw the mony languages Norah wis fluent wi, Scots wis nae exception an she wis an eydent contributer tae the forgaitherins an tae the leid. She wis weel loved bi awbody she came in contact wi.

The follaein is a piece she contributit tae ane o the Scots Tung forgaitherins an it appeared in ane o the airly issues o the Scots Tung Wittins as weel as bein publisht in the East Lothian Courier. Norah's ain words will nae doot tell the reader mair aboot hersel as a person nor a hunder thoosand words spoken or written bi somebody else cuid ever dae:-
"Tae scrieve a puckle thochts that wad take 5 meenits tae say alood - that shoudna be fykie, parteeclarlie when yer darg is scrievin. Aye, but it's the yaisin o the scrievit Scots Tung that's the hinnerance. An why shid that be?

Ma darg is tae owerset frae ither leids, so whit wey am A feart o Scots, that wis ma mither tung, or oniewey yin o ma tungs?
(In ma hame we aften spake Inglish fur ma faither wis an Ulsterman wha didna understaun Scots. He deed when A wis ten year auld). Ma mither spak Scots wi us bairns, tho her mither had learnt her tae misca the leid. Wi the neibours we ayeweys yaised Scots. In the scuil yaird ye wad hear naethin but Scots, an 'deed the bairns that cam tae the scuil frae the ferms roon aboot couldna speak or understaun Inglish. Hooiver, yince the bell had soondit it wis Inglish aw the time, except fur the wheen times when the bairns learnt some pome bi Robert Burns, an tae ma mind that's aiblins yin o the raisons why the ferm bairns wis thocht tae be glaikit - anither wis thir monie flittins frae ae ferm tae anither an a third wis that tae get a free hurl frae their hames tae the scuil they had tae bide mair than 3 mile awa, sae monie that bidit nearer were baith tired and weet when the scuil stertit. The bairns that had maist skeel o Inglish had aye the best ootcome in tests an siclike. But in oor scuilyaird games, we 'skeelie' yins war a wee bit shamed tae speak Inglish. The answer tae ma speirin why A shid be sae blate at scrievin Scots is, o coorse, that A never learnt tae scrieve it. That gars me dowie noo. It's hertnin tae read aboot the wark that's bein duin tae gie bairns a grundin in the Scots Tung, but A hope that wull be in baith readin an scrievin tae. Whit kept the leid alive in ma hert in aw the years awa frae Scotland wis foremaist the poetry. That luve stertit wi ma mither singin or recitin tae us bairns, sangs that were mebbe auld when she wis young. In some o the dowiest times o ma life, some hertsease wis amaist aye tae be fund in readin alood an tae masel frae the Border Ballads, that are fur aw time an aw humanitie. For a wee kintra with a negleckit an bemeand leid, we hae a traisure that micht mak onie ither kintra jeelous. An it's a traisure that's aye growein. A dinna ken gin the curn wad want tae compare ma experience o the Scots leid wi their ain, but A'd be interestit tae hear gin A'm in onie wey typical."

Norah - Sair missed but no forgotten.

[NOTE: logo of ScotsGate and image of the ScotsGate Scots Gremmar in original]
A new Scots language wabsteid haes kythed on the wab in raicent months. Gaun bi the name o ScotsGate it can be fund on the follaein URL:-
Here a wee bit o whit it says aboot itsel:-
"Ower the last ten year, as interest in an kennin o Scots haes swalled, there been a muckle swall o graith. The ettle o ScotsGate is tae:-
Identify an pynt oot the best Scots graith baith on an aff the wab. Fend additional graith an gie consaits as necessar.

The ettle o ScotsGate is educational. If Scots is tae survive in ony form, folk maun lairn aboot it an abuin aw lairn tae uise it. Ony kinna language that's no in ilka-day uiss is as guid as deid, e'en tho it micht mak a guid hobby for a haundfu o learit folk. ScotGate lairners' graith is bein biggit up, the Scots-Gate Scots Gremmar hivin juist been pitten oot an mair graith will come tae haund in 2005. Live ongauns is planned an aw for the back-end o 2005.

Thaim that haes read this faur will hiv taen tent that ScotsGate hisnae answert gin Scots is a real language or no. In maist weys this isnae a real question. Scots, whitever name we cry it bi an whitever we think o't, is o muckle importance historically, linguistically an culturally. It's the nearest livin kin tae English an is the cairrier o a heidmaist pairt o Scottish identity. In this sense, the soond o Scotland is juist as important tae oor identity as the Scottish tounscape an Scottish landscape is.

Scots says muckle aboot wha the Scots folk are an whaur we cam frae. But whaur are we gaun? Scots, whuther sleekitly doon-hauden in the oncome or brocht back tae life, will nae doot tell us aboot that, an aw."

Scots Tung WITTINS
On the wab.
Mair raicent copies o the Scots Tung Wittins can be gotten in pdf format frae Scots Tung's 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)

© 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.

"Teuchat Storm" bi Mary Johnston
[NOTE: image of the book cover in original]
A review bi Irene Broon owerset intae Scots bi the editor
MARY Johnston's first walin o poems, Teuchat Storm, is makit up frae bairnheid memories o the late 30s an 40s. Mary stertit writin juist five year syne an tho she coonts hersel as bein bilingual, fund hersel writin naitural like in Nor East Scots, the language o her Granny an Grandad Mackie whaes vyces she hears in her heid an it's tae thaim this walin is dedicatit.

Ilk ane o the thirteen poems in the walin haes its ain uissfu glossary but Mary's style never fails tae gie ower the warmth that's the very foond o her writin. She haes the abeility tae get richt back tae the sma particularities o the scenes frae her bairnheid. She gies the reader a clear picter o the particlar moment like when she descrives in Initiation the Seturday ritual o her Dad shavin while bein watched in wunner bi his fower sons, but taen tent o for posterity bi his dochter. Tho the buik is dedicatit tae her Grand parents, it's her faither's influence that comes ower strangly. For exemplar, in the poem that gies the buikie its title, Teuchat Storm, the openin line is "April's an affa coorse month, I'll tell ye aboot it". Here she descrives hou the winter wather wede awa ony puir flouers that haed daured tae shaw thair faces an hou this wis the wather her faither haed dreed tae fetch the midwife for her hame-comin. In this she catches haud o anither wey o life when phones an cars an e'en waterpruifs wisnae in common uiss.

In the poem In Gowd Licht Buskit, Mary writes "e word love was nivver spoken" but it's clear that the ongauns that resonates in her life noo an that resonates tae the reader spake a sicht looder.

"Thon bairnheid
gowd licht buskit
hap warmed bi couthie kin
heists me up

Tho the souchs is spellt oot in thon verse, Mary scantlins does this. Insteid she shaws her faimly's love an care wi the things they dae, like in her mither's guid-hertitness in Tinker Wife an her faither's aefauld gesture o wavin tae a complete stranger in Early Lesson sayin "Ere's nae need tae let onybody awa wi a sad hert"

It's no juist her ain bairnheid memories that Mary's writin aboot. She's got the abeility tae get aneath the skin o whit can only be jaloused tae be ane o her brithers in the poem Education. Here, the laddie arrives braithless an up tae high doh efter hivin seen a convoy o airmy lorries on his wey an bein fair eager tae share his news. "Ken fit happened e day" is sair taen doon when the lauchin dominie says, "Now tell me in English."
Religion itsel is ne'er spoken aboot but Mary Johnston uises words wi religious connections the likes o ceremony, benediction, absolution, confession, forgiven. Mair importantly, she writes aboot love, kindness an decency in actions that seems tae hiv gien her a lestin strenth intae adult life. A daur onybody tae read thae poems athoot gettin at least ae tear in thair ee. Afore this, Mary Johnston haes been publisht in Northwords, Leopard, Lallans, Pushing out the Boat, Storm, Quantum Leap an The Herald. She wis shortleeted for the McCashPoetry Prize 2004 an haes won Diplomas for Excellence in the Scottish International Poetry Competitions 2001/2 an 2003/4. Some o her wark haes been read as weel on Robbie Shepherd's Reel Blend on Radio Scotland.

Teuchat Storm (ISBN 0-9549071-0-8) costs £4 an is publisht bi Barleyknowe Publications, [CENSORED: postaladdress]. The braw illustrations that neibours the text is drawn bi Rosaly Johnston.
For purchasin enquiries, contact Mary at the abuin address or on:-
[CENSORED: emailaddress]

Heard on the Tellie
A raicent edition o STV's Scotsport SPL program shawed Alex Norton, that plays the lead role in Taggart, tellin a wee story anent a fitba match atween Celtic an Motherwell in the late 90's. Celtic wisnae daein aw that weel an the natives wis gettin restless. Efter ane or twa substitutes hidnae made muckle difference, Lambert wis taen aff an substitutit bi Anoni an then ane scunnert Celtic supporter at the back wis heard tae shout, "Aw naw! No Anoni on an aw noo!"

Apologies if the player's name isnae spelt richt but ye ken whit he meant.

Gettin Thaim Telt
AE day, aw the siller gathered at Dr Dabster's kirk was only twa shillins an ninepence an he couldna get this oot o his heid aw the wey through the hail o his sermon. "It's the land o Canawn ye're thrang strivin after, the land o Canawn eh? - twa an ninepence! - yes, ye're sure to gang there! I think I see ye! Nae doot ye'll think yersel's on the richt road for't. Ask yer consciences, an see what they'll say? I'll tell ye: Twa shillins an ninepence is puir passage-money for sic a lang journey! What? Twa-an-ninepence! As weel micht a coo gang up a tree, tail foremost, an whistle like a superannuated mavis, as get to Canawn for that!" (Sco Anec 1874)

Dr. Hendry's Joy
[NOTE: a photograph from the ceremony in original]
JOY Hendry, editor o the kenspeckle literary magazine, Chapman, haes been gien an Honorary Doctorate bi Edinburgh University. The ceremony taen place on the 28 Januar 2005 in the McEwan Ha, Edinburgh. Colin Donati, John Law an ane or twa ithers frae the Scots language movement wis praisent at the ceremony. Joy said she wis clearly gien this honour for, amang ither things, aw the wark she haes duin ower the years for the Scots language campaign an that it's maist byordinar for folk like hersel tae be gien thae sort o things.

Scots Tung Wittins jynes in wi the lave o the Scots language movement tae congratulate Joy an wish her aw the best for the oncome.

Makar's Neuk

Lang nichts bi e ingle neuk
sitten wi her grunny
she wyved hersel a pixie hat
an proodfu wore't aa winter.
Come Pase, 'twis a different story;
her physog hid broken oot,
yalla spots, seepin, crusted,
gaithered roon her mooth.

Thon pixie hat's
noo her bier o shame
an like an ald deen scoorer,
her fringe sticks oot
stracht ower her broo;
the rest o her heid's been shaven.

Woaded wi gentian violet
she sits in e skweel her leen,
her desk shoved ower agin e wa,
huddin back her greetin:
she crines in e neuk o e playgrun,
quines an loons gaither roon
scraichin, jamphrin, lachin,
Scabbity Jean! Scabbity Jean!

I jine in: she lifts her heid,
e first aat day, she blinters;
her glower keps me,
preens me doon -

I thocht ye wis ma freen!
Frae Teuchat Storm
Bi Mary Johnston

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Scots Tung Wittins 136. 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 10 December 2023, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 136." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. 10 December 2023.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots Tung Wittins 136," accessed 10 December 2023,

If your style guide prefers a single bibliography entry for this resource, we recommend:

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


Information about Document 1787

Scots Tung Wittins 136


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2391
General description monthly newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)

Text publication details

Publisher Scots Tung
Publication year 2005
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