Document 1806

Scots Tung Wittins 155

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 155
Oct 2006

Keep a guid Scots Tung in yer heid an in yer hert!

[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]

Roald Dahl's "The Eejits"
Owerset bi Matthew Fitt (A review bi Irene Broon)
[NOTE: image here of the book cover in original]
DURIN his lifetime, Roald Dahl wrate mony buiks for bairns, includin The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach an mony mair. Amang thaim wis a story cried The Twits aboot a naisty, ugsome man an his wife that daes terrible things tae yin anither an tae ithers as weel. It wis originally inspired bi Roald Dahl haein a scunner at bairds. Tae celebrate whit wad hiv been Roald Dahl's 90th burthday on 30 September, cried in 2006 Roald Dahl Day, Itchy Coo, hes furthset a Scots vairsion o the story owerset bi Matthew Fitt, an cried The Eejits.

The Eejits is gien an innin tae the reader yin at a time. Mr Eejit "wis yin o thae awfie hairy- bairdie men" that haed a "broostlie nailbrushie coupon" that wis fu o auld fuid. (Dinnae read this bit at mealtimes or it'll pit ye aff yer fuid!) The reader is then hennered tae fund " a wumman wi a mair hackit coupon" nor Mrs Eejit's. We lairn hou quite a bonny wee lassie turnt oot tae be sae ugsome as Mrs Eejit did bi haein sic bad thochts as she haed. "If a buddie has hackit thochts, it sterts tae show on the coupon". The Eejits spends thair lives miscawin yin anither wi nems the likes o "auld carline", "glaikit auld goloch", "foostie auld tumshie" or " ye hackit auld coo". They're aye fundin weys o trickin yin anither in naistier an naistier weys like a puddock in the bed, an ee in a gless an wirms hidden in "Shooglie Spaghetti". They're cruel tae their pet monkeys, Rummlie Thump an his faimly. They pent glue on the Big Deid Tree tae trap unsuspeckin burds for their supper o burd pie. Rummlie Thump haes a sleekit plan tae sort oot thae Eejits but the ither monkeys an the Shooglie Wooglie Burd thinks "he's daft…dytit…raiveled…no richt…awa wi it…gyte" tae conseider sic a plan. But like in aw guid bairns' tales, guid aye gets the better o evil in the hinneren an Mr an Mrs Eejit comes tae a gey sticky end.

As wi his ither owersettins, an particlar wi his novel But n Ben a go go, Matthew Fitt disnae eik in a Scots glossary. Fitt gauns bi the consait that the context o the wark shuid be enouch tae gie the meanin an it wirks. Bairns' stories is aft read alood an phrases the likes o "fousome fedderie futrats, I'll thrist yer thrapples" hauds sic a threit in thirsels that the individual owersettin o ilka word isnae necessar. I luik forrit tae sharin this daurkly comic, vengefu, salutary tale wi ma grandbairns.

The Eejits (ISBN 1-84502-097-9) costs £4.99 an haes the oreiginal illustrations bi Quentin Blake. © Irene Broon
(owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)

Whit's The Scots Language?
THE Scots Language? Whit's that? A gey familiar cry ilka time ony body or organisation tries tae uphaud or forder the Scots language but daein it aw yaisin the English language as the medium o communication. This daes mair herm nor guid tae the cause o the Scots leid for it alienates maist o the Scots speakin community. Historically, thae Scots speakers haes been brainwashed intae thinkin that the wey they speak is some kinna local slang that's no worth a docken. The feck o thaim disnae think for a meenit that whit they speak is Scots. When the Sixth Language an Politics International Symposium on the languages o Ireland an Scotland pit a letter tae the Scotsman on 5 Sept, speirin the Executive tae gie mair uphaud tae the Scots language, it wis written aw in English wi nae exemplars o whit kinna Scots they war speakin aboot. Whitever kin it wis, they didnae think it wis guid eneugh tae yaise for gettin thair message ower an it wis a richt guid exemplar o whit no tae dae. It wis nae wunner it attracted a nummer o negative electronic repones. The verra first yin speirt, "I don't know what the Scots Tongue is anymore. Does anyone?" Daes the signatories o thon letter think that if the Scots Executive gies in tae awthin they speirt for the language, thair ain creenge wad flee glamour-like oot the windae an then they'd suddenly aw be able tae speak an write Scots in public athoot ony embarrassment? Nae chance!!!

John McDonald's Haiku Scotland
A review bi Irene Broon
I SSUE 10 o Haiku Scotland is gien ower tae 36 haiku written baith in Scots an English bi retired dorbie, John McDonald. In a sma piece o prose cried 'A Personal View', John McDonald gies a concise description o the derivation o Scots whaur we're mindit that modern Scots speakers is "… carrying the remnants of a language once poken by the Scottish [monarch]… and his court". John McDonald maks it clear that ilka vairsion o the haiku (Scots or English) is written tae staund "…on their own, created from a single event but related in two closely related languages".

dry stane dyke
dorbie fair prood -
cou scairts her erse

in the daurk
the bed shakes
her guid freen has won awa

gay luvvers stravaigin
bi the watter's lip –
the wersh wund easin

simmer veesitors gone
the pipie doodles
leaves fouin's case

Thae fower haiku is walit tae shaw the reinge o subject maitter John McDonald writes aboot. His haiku reads weel in baith languages tho the pun o the English in:

cherry blossom drifts
dandelion clocks
run out of time

is tint in the Scots o:-

gean flourish fleats
pish the beds
rin oot o tyme

Tae read the lave, contack Haiku Scotland,
[CENSORED: postaladdress] or e-mail [CENSORED: emailadress]
John McDonald's pairsonal wabsite is © Irene Broon
(Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)

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)

A Man Afore His Time - James Clerk Maxwell
THE year 2006 merks the 175t anniversar o the hamecomin o the Scots physicist, James Clerk Maxwell, yin o the maist kenspeckle scientists in history, an the 150t anniversar o his appyntment at Marischal College, Aiberdeen. Frae 31t July tae 8t September, his life an wark wis mindit in his birthplace o 14 India Street, Edinburgh in the form o an exhibition o walit artefacts an documents. Public lecters an ongauns wis hauden an aw in Aiberdeen on the 9t September. A James Clerk Maxwell Science Centre is bein biggit the noo at his alma mater, Edinburgh Academy.

It wis durin the Science Festival hauden at the National Museum o Scotland airlier this year that I first met Dr Richard Dougal. He wis yin o the volunteers bringin science tae the public bi wey o practical demonstrations designed tae grip an entertain young an auld. I awned up richt awa that ma interests wis in the arts an languages but for aw that, I wis in awe o the sciences an thair practice, I haed nae unnerstaundin ayont the maist basic. For aw that, Dick Dougal wis polite an explained tae me some o the influence an wark o James Clerk Maxwell. Dr Dougal is a maimber o the Buird o Trustees o the James Clerk Maxwell Foondation, that haes furthset sindry haundoots giein some backgrund tae the gret man an his wark. A sma step haes been taen tae haein this owerset intae Scots bi Bob Fairnie o Scots Tung an bi Sam Callander. Sam's vairsion wis inspired bi Bob's an is in his ain Gallowa vernacular. For aw that this micht seem mair authentic, for James Clerk Maxwell wis brocht up a Gallowa man, it reads like English pitten intae Scots an haes ower mony apostrophes tae be authentic. This taks me back tae the maitter that Scots shuid be seen as yin language wi mony dialects, juist like English. We shuidnae be argiein amang oorsels aboot the supremacy o ae dialect ower anither. Keepin Scots alive is whit maitters. But, that's me stravaigin agane!

Ma meetin at the National Museum o Scotland gart me tae pey a visit tae the commemorative exhibition. Agane, I haudit up ma haunds tae ma complete want o comprehension aboot physics, but Dick Dougal patiently shawed me the principles o the 'Magic Lantern'. He sent me awa airmed wi literature aboot James Clerk Maxwell, pairt o whilk wis a gey enlichtenin pamphlet pit thegither bi Dr Andrew McKay an the said Sam Callander that wis furthset bi the Coonty Cooncil o Kirkpatrick Durham, Corsack an Parton, entitelt James Clerk Maxwell – Pathfinder of Modern Science. It fends quotes the likes o, "One scientific epoch ended and another began with James Clerk Maxwell" frae Albert Einstein an "…the greatest mathematical physicist the world had seen since Newton" frae Sir James Jeans. It haes a pairt gaun bi the title o The Philosophy of Life by Professor James Clerk Maxwell whaur we lairn o a blate, humorous man whae's character cuid be summed up as " a grand simplicity", whae as a bairn never haed the words "show me how it does" oot o his mooth. We lairn hou he, cled in hame spun claes, daled wi bullies at Edinburgh Academy that haed aff-taen his Corsock accent, that he ne'er gied up, keepin on talkin o 'peeries' an 'bools'. He researched the nature an composition o licht, leadin tae the investigation o the nature o colour an the phenomenon o colour blindness. In 1850, he gaed tae Cambridge University whaur his life wis filled wi the practical studies o physical phenomenon an deeply religious, philosophical an theological conseiderations. He gaed frae Cambridge tae be Professor o Naitural Philosophy in Marischal College, Aiberdeen an wis descrived bi Lord Reith (the first Director General o the BBC) as "the greatest professor Aberdeen ever had".

The pamphlet then threaps his scientific achievements, the likes o the development o the theory o electro magnetic radiation. His wark is the precursor o radio, colour photography, television, the search for extra terrestrial intelligence an mobile phones. In an efterword, Ivan Tolstoy o Knockvennie writes o the scandal o oor education system that allows "…the lack of veneration for such a great man in his native land." I'm gratefu for the serendipity that brocht me tae an awaurness o James Clerk Maxwell.

The biggin in India Street is hame an aw tae the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, sae for ordinar, visits shuid be arranged aforehaund. This can be duin bi letter tae 14 India Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6EZ; bi phone tae 0131 343 1030 or bi e-mail tae [CENSORED: emailaddress].
The James Clerk Maxwell Foundation is a charitable organisation (SCO 15003) that's ettle is tae forder the study o science throu lecters, grantin scholarships an inspirin young students. Ony donations tae help forder thair ettle can be sent tae Professor David Ritchie at the abuin address. © Irene Broon
(Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)

You Aren't Local Either, Then?
ABOOT a fortnicht syne, ma leddy companion an me wis staundin at the busstop jist alang the road fae ma flat here in Aiberdein, waitin for the bus tae tak us doun the toun. We'd been there a whilie whan twa fowk we'd nae seen afore, a couple, seeminlie, cam tae the stop an aw.

Fae their tung, they soondit lik they wir English, an it wis patent they didna bide local oniewey, seein as they wir speirin at us aboot the buses in Aiberdein - wad the driver gie cheinge? an thon kin o thing.

We tellt them whit they wir needin tae ken, in the best we cud dae o the same tung they hid spoken tae us in; an efter thon, we gaed back tae speikin tae ane anither in wur ain tung. We'd been speikin aboot a meinit or thereaboots whan the English couple hid anither question till 's: whit bus wad they hae tae tak tae get tae His Majesty's Theatre? The unco thing is, they didna jist speir thon, bit they hid anither question till 's first. The question wis "you aren't local either, then?"

I wis born here in Aiberdein, an brocht up in Culter jist on the ceitie boondarie, sae A
think A coont as local. Even Fiona, that wis brocht up in the Broch (fortie mile awa) efter an aerlie bairnhuid in Cyarnbulg, his bidden in Aiberdein for a gey lang time an wad doutless be seen as local by somebodie fae furth o Scotland. Sae we assure't them that we *wir* baith local; an, jist at that min'tie, the 13 bus cam roond the corner. They speirt cud they tak this ane; an we tellt them ay, an tae get aff at Union Terrace jist alang the road fae the theatre.

Awa they gaed, leavin us wunnerin aboot that bittie aboot nae bein local. Wi the ither fowk awa in the bus, we cudna speir whit hid gart them think thon. Atween us baith, wur best guess wis that they'd heard us speikin tae ane anither in wur ain tung an nae unnerstuid a wird o whit we'd said. Nae luikin tae hear a language they'd nae unnerstaund fae fowk in a UK ceitie, they'd concludit fae thon that we wir fae owerseas.
Thon's aw Fiona an me cud think o, oniewey. For aw that, gin oniebodie readin this his a better idea o whit it was aw aboot, A'd be richt interestit tae ken. © Colin Wilson

A New Scot
EFTER the Queen haed feinisht hansellin the Kelvingrove Museum in Glesca raicently, a wee aicht year auld Asian laddie wis speirt bi STV's Scotland Today reporter whit he thocht aboot meetin the Queen. Wi a smile that streitched frae lug tae lug, he said,
"It wis aw right. A shook her haun!"

Makar's Neuk

Haakin sticks for kinlin wi dad
I got a skelf in ma finger:
A fyou days efter it wis affa sair,
Yalla, stoonin an beelin:
Mam took e lid aff a tin o kaolin,
Steed it in a pan o het waater;
Rippt an ald cloot, cut a squar o pink lint
An plotted ma finger in dettol:

Dad grippit me atween his knees,
His airms ticht roon aboot me;
Mam clarted e kaolin warm, weet an rinny
Syne clappt it on ma futtlie beelin;
It wis het an sair an hard ti thole -
I focht ti keep back ma greetin.
Aat's a fine quine! said dad,
An baith o em gid me a bosie.

I keepit ma finger oot ower e hap,
Kaolin aroma therapy:
Faa widna dovver wi a wuff like thon
Kennin ye're dad's fine quinie?

Frae Teuchat Storm
Bi Mary Johnston

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 155. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 21 May 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 155." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 21 May 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots Tung Wittins 155," accessed 21 May 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 1806

Scots Tung Wittins 155


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2593
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