Document 1794

Scots Tung Wittins 143

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 143
Oct 2005

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

Scots Tung WITTINs

Eydently Campaignin tae Uphaud the Scots Language
Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber] Scots Tung Wabsite: Stravaiger Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber]

"A kenspeckle Scots writer, braidcaster an programmer cuid feel the flaps o her erse creenge thegither ilka time
she heard onybody speakin Scots"
THE SCOTS CREENGE. We've aw experienced it. We've aw heard o it. Whit is it? Whaur did it come frae an whaur is it gaun, if onywhaur? A kenspeckle Scots writer, braidcaster an programmer cuid feel the flaps o her erse creenge thegither ilka time she heard onybody speakin Scots. Noo, that's whit ye cry a weel estaiblisht Scots Creenge. Whit is the maist unco thing aboot this situation tho is that, oot o aw the languages spoken in the warld, Scots is the only yin that haes this effect on Scots fowk.

Maist fowk the day, barrin thae younger yins that's juist entered the Scottish education system in recent years, is weel acquent wi the situation whaur ye speak Scots in the hoose, in the playgrund an ootside wi yer freends but ye widnae daur speak onythin ither than English tae the teacher or in ony ither formal situation. That widnae be polite, we war telt, even if we kent the ither body cuid speak an unnerstaund Scots. Aw the time we war growein up an comin throu the education system, it wis dirlt intae oor heids ower an ower again that Scots wis coorse, common an ordinary an it wis juist only English that wis polite an proper. At least twal year o brain-washin tae maist fowk that gauns awa back throu the generations tae the Education (Scotland) Act o 1872.

Airly in the 1990s, educationists recognised the psychological an intellectual advantages o bi-lingualism an cam roond tae the concep that it wis wrang tae doonhaud the language that the bairns brocht wi thaim tae the scuil. They pit forrit the concep o forderin the bairns' hamelt language alang wi English insteid o dingin doon the yin an forderin juist English on its ain. The linguists gaed faurer an pyntit oot that bairns learned in the medium o thair ain hamelt language wis aye better at the state language in thair exams than bairns that wis learned in the state language medium. Exemplars wis gien anent Gaelic medium scuils an ither scuils includin some in Italy whaur bairns that lairnt Italian in minority language medium scuils did better in Italian than thaim that lairnt it in Italian medium scuils. It wis recognised an aw that bi-lingualism wis the best inlat ever on the gate tae multi-lingualism.
Thae chynges in concep an consait anent language in education haes seen a sicht mair guid come tae the Gaelic commonty nor tae the Scots yin an the estaiblishment o Gaelic medium scuils an nurseries is a guid exemplar o this. We hiv tae accep that Scots medium scuils micht be a lang wey aff an mair bi-lingual scuils micht be mair realistic. But e'en wi the concep o bi-lingual scuils whaur baith Scots an English is acceptit in the clessroom, progress is gey patchy an lippens entirely on the sensitivity o the individual teacher's bahookie an o the doups o the mithers an faithers.

The faurer up the academic ledder a body gauns, the langer they've been subjectit tae the brain-washin an the waur it's gaun tae be tae mak guid aw the skaith that it haes duin ower the years. We hear tell o ae Scots language upsteerer leadin a delegation tae speir for mair Scots on the media an, when speirt bi the media mannie if the discussions shuid be cairriet oot in Scots or English, said that it wad hae tae be English for he haed his professional reputation tae think o. This kinna artificially conditioned wey o thinkin is biggit intae the subconscious makin the creenge a reflex action that's triggered bi a reinge o key-words or, in this case, a key-language. It's no gaun tae be easy tae mak guid the skaith that aw thon brain-washin haes duin ower the years, but juist like a smoker stertin tae gie up the habit, the first thing that haes tae happen is a conscious decision bi the victim that thon's really whit they want tae dae. Sae a victim o the creenge haes tae mak up thair ain mind if they are happy tae bide in thair praisent artificially conditioned state juist like a moose in a laboratory or if they want tae tak chairge o thair ain human emotions an decide for thirsels whit's the richt or wrang wey tae think aboot things. Ilka body haes tae decide for thirsel whuther it's gaun tae be oot wi the auld weys an in wi the new yins or juist keep tae the status quo?

Cultural Debate
IT'S a braw guid job nane o us wis haudin wir braiths waitin tae hear ony o oor MSPs sayin ocht aboot the Scots language, guid or bad, durin the raicent debate in pairlament anent the Culture Commission Report.
Chaired bi James Boyle, the Cultural Commission in its report airgies that the people o Scotland haes a duty tae act as gairdians o thair ain hamelt languages an propones that staundarts shuid be estaiblisht for baith Scots an Gaelic. It airgies an aw that Scots shuid hae equal staundin wi the country's ither hamelt languages an that the Scots Executive shuid tak meisures tae estaiblish an Institute for the vernacular languages o Scotland, threapin that sic a body shuid in the first place, ettle tae forder staundarts o guid practice for languages an tae propone an mak siccar there guid complouteration atween existin bodies an initiatives.
It threaps an aw that Scots shuid be eikit intae the 2011 Census an it shuid hae a place athin the country's heidmaist institutions an bodies. A National Indiginous Languages Strategy wis cried for tae uphaud Scots an Gaelic.
For aw that the report pints oot that Gaelic an Scots is naitional treisures an haes a central pairt tae play in the cultural life o Scotland, no yin o oor MSPs nor the Culture Meinister Patricia Fergusson, gied a name or mint tae the Scots language. The Official Report o the debate in the pairlament on the 22nd September rins tae 35 pages an hauds mair nor 18,000 words. Ay, there wis nae want o words comin frae oor MSPs. There never is. But oot o aw thae thoosands o words, the word "Scots" wis mentioned fower times but never in relation tae language an the word "language" wis mentioned five times but never in relation tae Scots.
It maks a body wunner whit kinna culture aw thae experts wis complouterin ower that cuid thrive an growe strang athoot ony foondation

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)

Pure Ghosters - be feart be awfy feart
A review bi Irene Broon (Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)
[NOTE: image here of the book cover in original]
GABERLUNZIE Joe is the name that 14 year auld Joe Hunter is gien durin his traivels athort Scotland wi his airtist Maw, Andrina, as she speirs oot interestin heids tae pent frae fowk on the mairches o society. Ilka yin o thae heids tells a ghoster, that's tae say a tall tale raither nor a ghost story tho there a couple o eldritch yarns amang thaim, the likes o James Robertson's Nicht Bus (that's foondit on the classic ghost story The Phantom Coach bi Amelia B. Edwards 1831-1892). Thae thirteen stories is in sindry Scots byeleids frae, Fawkirk, Aiberdeen, Gallowa, Edinburgh, Shetland, Glesca, east an wast Fife, the Borders, Dundee an Lanarkshire. They've been written bi thirteen different writers, some mair estaiblished nor ithers, the likes o Christine de Luca, Willie Hershaw, Des Dillon an Sheena Blackhall. They're aw cleekit thegither wi the narrative o Gaberlunzie Joe, that wis written bi Matthew Fitt. It tells o Joe's agony an embarrassment o bein hauled roond the country bi his Maw an bein sair hauden doon wi the addit burden o hivin been gien hamewark tae dae at the same time bi his teacher, Mr Brownlee. The ettles ahint the buik is tae "… celebrate the similarities an differences in the ways Scottish people speak." (foreword)

The glamour stertit tae wark on Joe chyngin him frae bein black-affrontit at the name Gaberlunzie Joe, that he first thocht wis an insult for it cuid hiv meant bein a cadger, tae bein prood o it sayin it meant bein "…a wanderer, a body that traivels freely, somebody that naebody can tell whit tae dae." ( P.125) an turning frae a laddie that wis wont tae tellin lees tae yin that wis able tae mak guid yiss o his imagination bi tellin his ain Pure Ghoster in front o his hail scuil. Whit wey no let the glamour wark on you?

Pure Ghosters, edited bi Matthew Fitt wis first furthset in 2002 bi Itchy Coo an sells at a cost o £6.99.
ISBN 1902927575.
© Irene Broon

Scots Tung Yule Cairds 2005
[NOTE: five images of Christmas cards in original]
THE picter on oor new Scots language Yule caird for Christmas 2005 shaws Linlithgow Palace on the shores o Linlithgow Loch. As wi ither raicent years, it is taen frae an original ink an watercolour pentin bi the kenspeckle East Lothian airtist an buik illustrator, Sally J Collins.
Linlithgow, or "the loch in the damp hollow", is a kenspeckle royal toun. The ruins o Linlithgow Palace staunds on the shore o the loch. The Palace wis begun bi James I in 1424 efter a fire dingit doon an airlier biggin. It wis the birthplace o James V in 1512 an Mary, Queen o Scots in 1542. The pairish kirk o St Michael, that wis dedicatit in 1242, staunds nearhaund. This kirk wis rebiggit in the airly 15t century. Yince there wis a stane croon on the touer like the yin on the tap o St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh but efter it begoud tae get structurally dangerous, it wis replaced in 1964 wi an aluminium Croon o Thorns.

Aw the cairds is prentit on guid quality caird an is fauldit tae A5 in size (The 'Robin' caird is A6 fauldit). Inside, aw the cairds haes a poem an a greetin. The A5 cairds is selt for 60p each if upliftit frae Scots Tung or ony o its maimbers. If selt through the post athin the UK, they come in pokes o ten for £8.00 incl. p&p. A nummer o shops in the Lothians sells the cairds an aw for 60p + their ain on-cost that differs frae shop tae shop. The A6 caird sells at 40p if upliftit an in pokes o 10 for £5.00 incl. p&p if selt through the post. Tae order ony o thae cairds, please phone [CENSORED: phonenumber] or juist drap an e-mail tae [CENSORED: emailaddress]

The Probationer
FINDING myself rather in a dwining state on the Friday, with the advice of Mrs Balwhidder, who was counted very skilly in sic matters, and wi the consent o the session, I determined to hire a probationer for the Sunday, sae I sent in word to Baillie Watt, the wabster in Paisley, to make sure of one for that day. Next day's carrier brought word that he had gotten the only one that was not engaged; he wasna very first rate, he said, but I didna think much about that, as I wasna a very great hand at the preaching mysel; but ye'll hear hoo it turnt out.

The young birky cam according to appointment; he was rather little, and had a happity leg; however, that wasna noticed when he got into the poopit, He made ane or twa blunders in reading the psalms, but this could be forgien in sic a young beginner; but in the prayer he gaed far by the straught, for in praying for the twa lads to be hanged at ayr, he worded it in this manner: "We pray for the two unfortunate men under sentence of death, the king and the minister of this parish," to the no little amazement of the congregation. A bit farther on he prayed, "Lord, darken our lightened imaginations." I was so angry at the chap that I maist wished him to be taen at his word, in so far as regardit himsel; but this wasna it aw, for when the bit body cam into the vestry, he said to me, fishing for a compliment, aiblins, "Ye wad notice I was a wee hoarse the day." "Wee horse!" says I hardly able to keep my temper; "Na, na my man, I didna think ye was a wee horse, but I thocht ye was a big ass!" The chiel was perfectly dumbfoundered .

Taen frae Alexander Hislop's "The Book Of Scottish Anecdote" furthset in 1874.

Makar's Neuk
Oh please, dinnae show aff the sheugh o yer erse
It's somethin ye really shuid keep oot o sight.
Ye might be a dab hand at makin up verse

An turnin oot phrases baith witty an terse
That arenae withoot some poetical bite
But please, dinnae show aff the sheugh o yer erse.

The view fae this vantage juist couldnae be worse;
That bit o yer bum shouldnae see the day's light
Although ye're a dab hand at makin up verse.

A nicely aimed ice cube (A ken it's perverse)
If meetin its target wuid gie ye a fright,
So please, dinnae show aff the sheugh o yer erse.

The day's fashion trends are truly diverse
Mair flatterin wuid be a waistband that's tight
An ye'd still be a dab hand at makin up verse.

Fae yer ither assets A juist wuidnae asperse
A'm suir that they soar tae a very great height,
So please, dinnae show aff the sheugh o yer erse
Although ye're a dab hand at makin up verse.

© Irene Broon

This poem in villanelle format wis written efter last year's Fringe (2004) when A'd haed the misfortune tae be sittin ahint a nummer o fowk at poetry readins that wis shawin aff a bit ower muckle o thair bahookies.

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 143. 2023. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 7 December 2023, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 143." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2023. Web. 7 December 2023.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots Tung Wittins 143," accessed 7 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 1794

Scots Tung Wittins 143


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2484
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