Document 1792

Scots Tung Wittins 141

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 141
Aug 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 Wabsite: Stravaiger Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber]

Executive Maks a Richt Erse o Itsel
IF only the Scots language haed been a tod it widnae be an endangered species the day. But it's no a tod sae it's no gien the same respect an consideration frae the Scottish Executive an its mandarins as they gie tae tods. The UK's saicont report tae the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages' Comatee o Experts haes juist been furthset includin the Scottish Executive's answers, if ye cuid cry thaim that, tae the questions that applies tae Scots.

Scots Tung haes tae say that it is fair embarrassed seein the Executive o oor Scots pairlament makin sic a richt erse o itsel in Europe. Whit if they think oo're aw as donnert as oor government?

It wis the UK government that haed tae submit the answers tae aw the questions on behauf o the devolved governments for the seeven minority leids in the UK. Thae languages wis gien their ain heidins the likes o Manx Gaelic, Scots Gaelic, Ulster Scots, Cornish, Irish an Welsh. Scots wisnae gien its heidin at aw an wis juist peened on ablow the heidin o Scots Gaelic that awbody kens means the Gaelic that's spoken in Scotland. That wis rid face nummer yin but nummer twa wisnae faur ahint for the first question speirt whit the minority lieds in the country wis an whare they war spoken. This wis their answer for Scots:-

English is, by custom and usage, the official language of government, business, education, the law and other professions. It is spoken everywhere in Scotland, alongside Scottish-English (Scots) and Gaelic (the two regional or minority languages which exist in Scotland).

Glesca University's LILT wabsite gies the definition o Scottish standard English (SSE) as:-

Scottish standard English is the variety of language normally used in formal, non-fictional written texts in Scotland. It is very close to standard Englishes elsewhere in the UK, North America and Australasia, but has some distinctive features. The speach of the middle classes in Scotland often conforms to the grammatical norms of the written standard, particularly in situations that are regarded as formal.

Sae the mandarins frae the Scottish Education Department disnae ken that Scottish Standard English is the English that's learnt in aw Scottish scuils an Scots is somethin different aw thegither that's no learnt in the Scottish scuils.

The neist question speirt the nummer o speakers o Scots an whit wis yaised tae define "speaker of regional or minority language."

The Scots language survives in Scotland in different forms spoken in different parts of the country. There are no official figures for the number of Scots speakers.

A primary scuil bairn cuid see that hauf o the question hisnae been answert an awbody, includin the CoE, kens whit wey there nae official nummer o speakers for the biggest minority language in the British Isles. They ken an aw whit wey they didnae yaise the 1996 test survey nummers this year again.

The Comatee o Experts speirt twinty questions at the Executive aboot whit they haed duin in the last year tae cairry oot thair ECRML commitments for the Scots language an maist o the answers gien wis juist a daud o mandarin speak that didnae mean onythin in English. Insteid o sayin whit they haed duin, they waffled on aboot whit they haed said, the same thing ower an ower again. They e'en managed a weel worn quote oot o Michael Forsyth's pre 1997 "Scots Language Factsheet".

When speirt for ony general policy threaps anent Scots, they quotit frae the "Partnership Agreement for a Better Scotland"

We will develop a new focus for Scotland's languages recognising both our heritage and our diversity.
We will introduce a national strategy to guide the development and support of Scotland's languages, including British Sign Language and ethnic community languages.

Like the first report last year, the wecht o awthin they say is aboot whit they're gaun tae dae (sometime in the neist millenium?) an no whit they've duin. Efter a visit tae Scotland frae Australia, Professor Joe LoBianco pyntit oot that whan a government gies a lot o verbal support tae a minority language, the likes o Scots, an at the same time disnae dae onythin positive tae help it tae survive, then sic a government daes in fact hae a language strategy, a sleekit yin that deliberately ettles tae see that minority language killed aff.

Efter the first report last year, the Comatee o Ministers recommendit that the Scots Executive shuid "create conditions for the use of Scots in public life, through the adoption of a language policy and concrete measures, in co-operation with the speakers of the language.

The Executive's answer tae this in thair saicont report is that this maitter will be addressed athin the Executive's commitment tae develop a National Languages Strategy an that this will be developed in consultation wi aw the relevant groups at the back end o the year an that it haes proponed the inclusion o Scots in the scuil curriculum. Michael Forsyth proponed this same inclusion in the airly 90s but as former education ministers, Euan Robson, Cathy Jamieson an Mike Watson hiv taen muckle pains tae pynt oot tae the Cross Pairty Group on Scots, the Scottish Curriculum is non-prescriptive an they can juist recommend actions. They cannae enforce thaim at aw. Sae the Scottish Executive can advocate the inclusion o Scots intae the curriculum till the coos comes hame an naethin will chynge whare the Scots language is concairned. We wunner hou lang the curriculum will bide conveniently non-prescriptive tho if yin o the local authorities wis tae stop teachin English. Whare the Comatee o Ministers speirs for concrete measures, aw this Executive can come up wi is cosmetic yins sometime intae a fast recedin future. For aw its mealie-moothit words o praise an uphaud for the Scots language, ony advances the leid haes made in the last six year haes been in spite o the Scots Executive an no because o it.

Whuther it's doon tae the Executive bein donnert, haundless, deid frae the craig up or juist plain sleekit, it haes haed six year tae dae somethin positive for Scots an haes failed tae dae onythin worth a docken. Scots Tung is o the consait that Professor LoBianco is richt an the Scottish Executive daes hae a language strategy for Scots. A sleekit yin. It haes haed six year tae pruive the Professor wrang an failed. But then, as we said at the stert, the Scots language isnae a tod. If the Exec haed shawed the same urgency tae Scots as it did tae the tod, maist o the leid's troubles wad be ower bi noo.

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

Seen Roond an Aboot
Bi the Stravaigin Reporter, owerset bi the editor
[NOTE: logo here of the basement bar in original]
IN the coorse o stravaigin aboot Auld Reekie, I whiles comes ower yin or twa wee exemplars o the commercial yiss o Scots. At 16a Queen Street, there a bar that's doon ablo in a basement an cries itsel the "ablo" basement bar.

Forbye that, ilka time I've made ma wey doon the steps tae the new Scottish restaurant in the basement o 33a St. Stephen Street, Stockbridge (Stockaree), cried The Snug, I've been greetit an walcomed bi the awner/manager, Kenny Cairns. Yin o the first things I taen tent o wis the bleckboard abuin the door tae the kitchen wi the words, "It's no wee, it's snug". (tho it's noo readin, "It's no peedie, it's snug".)
The maist important thing aboot a restaurant is the quality o its food an yin o the principles ahint this new ventur is the yaisin o local an Scottish products. The menu threaps sindry dishes includin chicken, salmon, crevettes, rabbit, herrin, haggis, venison an bream wi a braid chyce o vegetables as weel as some gey thochty vegetarian chyces. Thae days, herbs an rhubarb is comin frae Kenny's ain ferm. The airts whare aw the cheeses comes frae is includit, the likes o Strathdon Blue, Lochiel Smoked Brie, Dunsyre Blue an Isle o Mull Cheddar, that the bleckboard helpfu-like telt me, "It's fae Mull".

Puddins can include Cranachan, local strawberries an a ne'er tae be forgotten honey an oatmeal ice-cream. The menu chynges wi the mercat's availability an yer meal can be feenisht wi the uisual chyces o coffee or a pat o whit is a kinna particlar Scottish tea, Nambarrie, wi some hame-made taiblet. Smokin is alloued in whit Kenny cries thair "smokin lobby" an customers is upsteerit tae let the staff ken o ony food allergies. BYOB is alloued wi a £1 corkage chairge. Tho a pairsonal greetin frae the manager cannae be guaranteed, a visit tae The Snug is weel worth while for abuin average fairin at average prices in a relaxed an freendly souch. Lang mey thair lum reek.

The Snug, [CENSORED: postaladdress].
Tel: [CENSORED: phonenumber]
© Irene Broon

Mair o the Same bi the Stravaigin Reporter
[NOTE: image here of poster advertising Warriston Post Office in original]
FOR a guid nummer o years noo, Warriston Post Office in Edinburgh haes hid a nummer o Scots Tung's Scots language posters pitten up inside the shop. Aw this time thae posters haes been threapin the likes o "Nae Smokin", "Sorry, Nae Dugs", "Scots Language Christmas Cairds Selt Here" an a poster in Scots giein a picter o thae Christmas cairds alang wi the prices o ilka yin. Noo Hasnain Sheikh, the Sub-Postmaister, haes a new yin pitten up on the wa aw thocht up bi hissel that threaps "Sorry, we dinnae dae Road Tax".

If a body's o a mind tae see some guid exemplars o the commercial yiss o the written Scots language, then they can dae a lot waur than giein a visit tae the abuin Warriston Post Office.

[NOTE: logo here of the British Council in original]
The British Council is the UK's warld-wide body for the forderin o educational an cultural effeirs. The British Council uphauds Scotland's standin owerseas, and helps tae big a Scotland that hauds neibourschip til ither countries.

THE abuin text is yin o three walcomin texts that kythes on the hame page o the British Cooncil - Scotland's wabsite at As ye wad expect, the ither twa is in English an Gaelic wi the Scots yin takin up the coo's tail. On the page, it looks gey wicelike tae hae the twa Germanic leids sindert wi the Celtic yin. It shairly is a walcome sign tae see anither estaiblishment wabsite jynin the ranks o thae ithers that's giein the Scots language its richtfu place e'en tho it micht juist be a token. There aye a guid lang gate tae traivel yet but, as folk says in ither airts, the langest journey maun aye stert wi the first step.

© 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.

Makar's Neuk

Guid faa thee bonnie Standart Habbie,
Kirstent bi Ramsay, looed bi Rabbie;
T'wes Sempill first gid thee thy knabbie,
An byous fame.
I've kent thee sin I wes a babbie,
An blisst thy name.

Ye've scrifftit aff ti moose an haggis,
The Deil an sindry Nells an Maggies.
A kinch til ilka wit an wag is
Yer bob-wheel ploy;
A hantie tuil in bardic baggies;
The makar's joy.

Owre ilka kin o verse an jink,
Owre michty ode or crambo clink,
Ye'll rule, sae lang as Scotsmen think
O makkin rhyme;
Til Habbie we'll aye tip the wink,
Or eyn o time.

Gie Japanese their haiku dribbins,
The French their fremmit rondeau jibbins,
Eyetalians their terza blibbans,
Southrons their sonnets;
We'll bliss oor Habbie til the hivvens,
An heeze oor bunnets!
© David C Purdie

This poem was publisht firsten in Orbis No 111 efter it haed gotten an Adjudicator's Commendation i the Rhyme International Competition o 1998. The adjudicator, the weel kent Inglis poet, Penelope Shuttle, said o it, "... In Praise O Standart Habbie, a vigorous testimony to the Scots vernacular ..."

The competeition wis for twa categories o poems, Category A for poems no in ony recognised poetic furm an Category B for set poetic furms sic as, sonnet, terza rime, rhyme royal, etc. Tho I was gleg ti see the poem in Orbis, the ainerly poem in Scots I ivver saw in yon unco Inglis publication, I wis no pleased that it got pitten intil Category A. I entered it intil Category B acause sae faur as I'm concerned, Standart Habbie is a recognised poetic furm. It micht no be commonly yaised sooth o the border, but in Scotland it haes been widely yaised and been geyan popular for the best pairt o fower centuries.

I screivit til the magazine's editor, Mike Shields, speirin efter clarification but nivver got a satisfactory repone. The competeition is nou nae mair an I kinna think the magazine's nae mair forbye. At ony rate Mike Shields disna edit it ony mair. Houanivver, I'll maintain or ma deein braith that guid auld Standart Habbie is as valid a furm as ony Villanelle, Sicilian Octave or Spenserian Stanza.

David C. Purdie

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 141. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 June 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 141." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 25 June 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots Tung Wittins 141," accessed 25 June 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 1792

Scots Tung Wittins 141


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2380
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