Document 1801

Scots Tung Wittins 150

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 150
Mey 2006

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

[NOTE: logo here of the dot Sco in original]
Scots Tung WITTINS

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

Scots Tung Wittins' 150th Edition
THE Scots Tung Wittins got stertit efter the kythin o Scots Tung itsel in August 1994. Juist like it is the day, the maimbers then wis skailt aw ower the kintrae an juist a haundfu wis able tae tend the forgaitherins. Scots Tung Wittins stertit oot as a kinna meinits o the forgaitherins an wis sent tae aw the maimbers tae let thaim ken whit wis gaun on. Thae airly editions haed nae colour at aw an wis prentit wi an auld farrant dot-matrix prenter on juist ae side o the paper richt up tae edition nummer 39. Edition nummer 40 (Aug 1997) wis the first tae tak the newsletter format an nummer 41 wis the first tae be prentit in colour.

Richt frae the stert, it wis aye yin o Scots Tung's ettles tae gie as muckle exposure o written Scots as it cuid tae the fowk that yaised the language in thair ilka-day life. As the STW grew up, baith the language an the format kythed intae whit ye see the day sae that noo it's mair than juist the maimbers that gets copies. Distribution the day is roond aboot a thoosand coontin baith hard copies an pdf copies but no coontin copies doonloadit aff the wab or frae aboot 430 libraries ower the hail o Scotland.

Ony success that the Scots Tung Wittins haes haed ower the years cuidnae hiv happened athoot the uphaud it haes gotten frae its mony contributers an, particlar in raicent years, frae Irene Broon, reviewer an Stravaigin Reporter for the Wittins. Coorse, it gauns athoot sayin the STW wad be naethin athoot its readers.

Some o the consaits tae merk STW 150, baith guid an no sae guid:-

Monie congratulations - an thanks - Bob in winnin ti this braw milestane. An mair pith an pouer ti yer elbuck - an harns.
- Reid Moffat

"Anent Scots, maist fowk hum and haw, ithers bluster an blaw, but in Scots Tung Wittins, Bob Fairnie aye speaks wi strang guid sense, smeddum an passion aboot his love for the mither tongue. I juist weish there wes a wheen mair like him" - Billy Kay

Mony thanks - A aye look forrit tae haein a read o this (Scots Tung Wittins).
A the best, Alan Blackie, (Director o Education for East Lothian.)

Iss wordies iss no worth e dowg's semmit in e toonie o Week. - Jamie Stone MSP (Lib Dem)

"Aabodie at the Scots Language Centre wad like ti gie their thanks ti Bob Fairnie for the work he's duin ower the years in producing Scots Tung Wittins. For onybodie that wants ti ken whit's gaun on in the warld o Scots language politics STW is essential reading. We hope that there'll be mony mair o them ti come." – Michael Hance, Manager o the SLRC

All the best for the continuing success of 'Wittins' - Joy Hendry

Great newsletter! Cheers, Simon Thoumire
Foot Stompin Celtic Music

Fiona and the Hetty Closet
A review bi Irene Broon (Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)
RADIO 4's Efternuin Play on 24 Mairch haed the glamourfu title, Fiona and the Hetty Closet. 'Hetty' is the cutty form o 'heterosexual' an the play is a comedy aboot Fiona, a lesbian that haes decidit tae come oot as a strecht wumman at the age o 40.

As teenagers, the wild local Larbert lass, Fiona, an pre – Raphaelite dochter o Morninside doctor, Elspeth, haed a passionate hochmagandy that wis fund oot, tae awbody's embarrassment, bi Fiona's Mum. Elspeth is sent awa tae Dollar Academy an the lassies' lives taks sindry gates. Fiona turns oot tae be a successfu dressmaker; Elspeth mairries an gets tae be a vet. Fiona haes a string o lovers but nivver settles doon. Her paurents haes embraced her wey o life an enjoyed the benefits o her success wi a hoose in Helensburgh that haes become an informal datin agency for Fiona's ex girlfreends. Freends an faimly is concairned when Fiona sterts haein pin ups o men inside her press door. Her cat, (she cries him Sappho but he's actually cried Cameron Fitzwilliam Banquo Ballachulish an haes been neutered bi Elspeth) wha disnae want tae be usurped as her only male bydie-in, gets his tail catched in the central heatin biler. The vet on duty is Elspeth an the pair discovers it wisnae a man Fiona wantit, but her first love, Elspeth. Pure dead brilliant!

The play's settin reinges frae Larbert tae Glesca's Kelvinside an Helensburgh, wi Edinburgh's Morninside an Dollar Academy gettin a mint. Aw the actors haed Scots accents wi thair speech spattered wi words the likes o 'plewterin', 'keekin', 'crivvens', 'lavvy' an 'reekin'. The pairts o Fiona McInnes as a hauflin, her Mum, Morag, her Dad, Sandy an her Uncle Alec wis written in Scots. Fower main characters, Fiona, Elspeth, Morag an Uncle Alec, narrates the story frae thair ain pints o view. O thaim, the character Morag McInnes, played bi Barbara Rafferty, haed the best lines like when she "chapped an walked straight in", bein stammygastered tae find the twa lassies "in the bare scud" appearinly practisin yoga!

Efter her initial stammygaster, an Fiona's stark threap that if she wis sliced throu the middle, "she wid read 'lesbo', 'lesbo', 'lesbo' in pink letters lik Rothesay rock!" she feinisht up rinnin "Morag's Introduction Agency" whaur some o Fiona's exs "got thegither ower ma Dundee cake" in thair Helensburgh hame "wi nae mortgage nor nuthin", "wir ain gairden" an "braw views ower the Clyde". Her Dad, noo a new man wi nae comb-ower, that can cook "salmon on crootie" thanks tae Fiona's nancy-boy pals, wis concairned at her bringin hame a strecht man, sayin "nae man'll catch me in a peenie!"

This wis a funny, clever written, weel acted play. It was guid tae hear Scots yaised sae weel for a current topic. Aiblins we Scots can 'come oot' an rediscover oor ain auld love in the form o the Mither Tung!

Fiona and the Hetty Closet wis written bi Char March durin a residency at the Hawthorndean Literary Trust. The play wis directit bi Lu Kemp.

Char March haes written three collections o poetry, maist recently Deadly Sensitive (Grassroots Press), five BBC Radio 4 plays an six stage plays. She grew up in Scotland an noo divides her time atween the Hielans an Yorkshire. © Irene Broon

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.
€9 (Ireland/EU) $14 (Americae)

Billy Kay's - Scots: The Mither Tongue
A review bi Irene Broon (Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)
[NOTE: image here of the book cover in original]
WHEN A wrote last month aboot ma wish tae see Scots taen as yin language wi mony dialects, it wis afore A haed read Billy Kay's hinnermaist edition o The Mither Tongue. His wice-like an weel speirt intae text pruived that that haed yince been the wey o things an makit me relieved that ma hopes wis airtit on the richt gate.

Kay's enthusiasm for the staundin o Scots hisnae dwined ony in the 20 year syne the first furthsettin o The Mither Tongue. He aft threaps the success o Catalan an the political methodology o hou this wis pitten ower, haudin it as an exemplar o hou things cuid micht be chynged for Scots. The buik is maistly written in English wi yuisses o Scots noo an again when he is maist fasht or passionate. Kay's knawledge o the language itsel an its history seems tae ken nae boons. He is richt awaur o the dichotomy athin Scots fowk aboot thair language, pyntin oot whit wey fowk's sibness sweys tae whaur the pouer is, hou language is a cless maitter an a political maitter. He dings doon an aw the "acceptit myth" that Scots derived oot o English. While acceptin that aw accents an dialects haes value, the idea o giein the staundin o English dialects the maik o Scots is cawed intae a tin bunnet when he tells the reader that "Scots and English... not only were dialects from a common root which have developed independently due to political rather than linguistic factors" but "… Scots was once a national language [with]… a brilliant literary tradition". Thaim pittin English regional dialects on a maik wi the Scots language is sair stymied tae gie a name tae "one internationally respected writer who has enhanced these dialects". As a metaphor for this, A'm mindit o the news that Australian states is thinkin aboot applyin tae enter the neist Commonwealth Games independently. They micht be geographically muckle, but that disnae gie thaim nationhood!

When the Scottish coort flittit tae London in 1603, Kay tells us that "poets found within Scots everything they wanted to express…". Standart Scots wis written, but local dialects wisnae reflectit in the writin, the very opposite o whit happens noo.

For Scots tae rise naturally again tae the staundin o an international language wad be braw but for that tae kyth we wad need tae hae une Academie Ecossaise sae that modern official documents disnae read like somethin frae anither century. Kay writes o a time when Scots wis "unselfconsciously national and international" when "its supremacy was taken for granted". Some fowk writes in Scots but disnae speak it. Some speaks Scots but disnae write it. Some feels like Scots but daes nane o the abuin. They shaw the typical Scottish cringe, seein written Scots as nae mair nor a medium for the comic. For exemplar, A ken somebody that bocht twa three copies o Itchy Coo's Scots ABC, revelled in delicht at the words, but in the neist braith wis cringin at the reality o braid Scots spoken bi freends! It's ayont belief that we're that embarrassed aboot oor ain native tongue.

Kay quotes frae Edwin Morgan's essay, Registering the Reality of Scotland whaur Morgan wrote "we shall have to use our ears more and our grammar books less". The braid reinge o registers yaised in aw forms o literature is wunnerfae but an agreed form o standart, accessible Scots is necessar if we dinnae want tae be seen as a lauchin stock. Kay pynts oot that at ilka end o the linguistic spectrum, "the Lallans purists … and urban writers… are equally off the mark". He quotes frae the document Scots: a statement o principles, sayin it is written "elegantly" in "dignified, accessible Scots". Juist whit oor Academie Ecossaise shuid be airtin at an whit is needit for 'normalisation'. Kay descrives this as "a deliberate policy of exposing and using the language in areas of formal life…traditionally…the preserve of the language of state". For aw that Scots enjoys mair prestige the day than it haes duin for mony a year throu poetry, plays, literature an magazines, alangside o this is the terrible irony o the likes o Scotland's capital haein a European minority language (frae Luxemburg) threapin the season's greetins at Christmas an no displayin yin in Scots!

This is a radical buik that's gey hard tae read athoot feelin fashious. but A think it shuid be compulsory readin for aw thaim wi influence – MSPs, MPs, Cooncillors, teachers, parents. Jings, awbody shuid read it! Raicently, A heard that the French President, Jacques Chirac, thocht that cause o globalisation, English wis stertin tae tak the place o French. He felt French wis bein moved doon a division in the warld's rankin o languages. He said, "If we French stop talkin French, wha will?" Atweel!. Gin the dominant language frae Napoleonic times can feel that threatened, hou much mair the minority languages the likes o oors? Vive la difference, n'est-ce pas?

The Mither Tongue bi Billy Kay
(ISBN 1 84596 0521) is publisht bi
Mainstream priced £9.99. © Irene Broon

TWA new MSPs wis sworn in tae the Scots pairlament in Aprile tae tak the place o twa list MSPs that haed tae resign sae they cuid staund in the Moray by-election. Maureen Watt o the SNP taen the aith o lealty in the Doric dialect o Scots as weel as in English. This wis the first time ony maimber o the Scots pairlament haed ever taen the aith in Scots. The Scots owersettin o the aith wis as follaes:-

"I depone aat I wull be leal and bear ae-fauld alleadgance tae Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, her heirs and successors anent the law. Sae help me God."

The ither new MSP wis David Petrie o the Scottish Conservatives that electit tae juist tak the aith in conservative English.

Lavlut - Leit
LAVLUT - LEIT INTERNATIONAL, the altenative Eurovision sang contest for minority languages, noo in its fowerth year, is tae be hauden in the Swedish Sámiland city o Östersund on the 14t October 2006. A new Scots sang that's juist been written for it, haes been submitted tae the contest. The new sang cried "Icker In A Thrave", words bi Matthew Fitt an music bi Simon Thoumire o the Foot Stompin Celtic Music, is the first Scots language entry intae this competition an awbody howps it'll be the first o mony. The recordit version o the sang that wis submitted wis sung bi Mairi Campbell, guitar bi Kevin Mackenzie, fiddle bi Clare McLaughlin an concertina bi Simon Thoumire. An MP3 recordin o the sang alang wi a copy o the music can be gotten frae:-

Here a track that's weel wordy o a body listenin tae ower an ower again.

CENCRASTUS magazine, ane o Scottish Culture's better wee shop windaes, haes juist pitten oot its Final Issue. Eftir 25 year, editor Ray Ross says it's "a generational thing and it's time to move over and allow new growth." Time for a new airtin, wyced bi yungir hauns. Cencrastus hauf ettled ti follae in the fuitsteps o "Scottish International" an wul be a like loss, sae thon's a wechtie but richt challenge.
Reid Moffat

Makar's Neuk
Gin I'm a livan tongue loe me;
Saebins we'll hae mair bairns:
Gin I'm a deid tongue nae call for keenin,
Ye'll find me wi the gods
Ayont the reaveries o Time:
Yon are the gowden tongues!

Edith Anne Robertson (1883-1973)
saebins = sae that
keenin = murnin

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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 150. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 2 March 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 150." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 2 March 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots Tung Wittins 150," accessed 2 March 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 1801

Scots Tung Wittins 150


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2508
General description monthly newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)

Text publication details

Publisher Scots Tung
Publication year 2006
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