Document 1829

Scots Tung Wittins 178

Author(s): Robert Fairnie

Copyright holder(s): Name withheld


Nummer 178
Sept 2008

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

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

Eydently Campaignin tae Uphaud the Scots Language
Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber] Scots Tung e-mail: [CENSORED: emailaddress] Stravaiger Ph. [CENSORED: phonenumber]

Whit Maitters is the Survival o Scots
THE Scots language will only survive if the Scots nation yaises it for ilka-day spoken communication. It disnae maitter a docken hou weel it gets written, if it disnae get spoken, it will dee oot. Ilka time a Scot haes somethin tae say an disnae say it in Scots, thon's anither nail in the deid-kist o the mither tung. Whit's e'en waur an daes e'en mair skaith tae the weird o the language is whan fowk stauns up tae praise the mither tung an tae cry for its survival but disnae dae it in Scots. "I've had my Scots educated out of me." is the excuise that's gien. But thon's aw it is, juist an excuise. Truith be telt, they've aw been brocht up tae thinkin that it's juist the un-educatit warkin clesses that speaks Scots an educatit professional fowk can aye be recognised bi hou weel they can speak English. Whuther they still believe this or no is weel seen bi hou blate they are at allouin thirsels tae be heard communicatin in Scots in public. Fowk that's ower blate tae yaise Scots the day isnae gaun tae chynge ower an stert yaisin it the morn sae in cryin for mair yuiss tae be makit o the Scots language whit they're really sayin is, "Dinnae dae whit A dae. Dae whit A'm tellin ye tae dae!" Ay, an a lot o guid thon'll dae tae sauf the Scots language.

There cannae be ony increase in the yuiss o spoken Scots in Scotland athoot a siclike tynin o the yuiss o spoken English. There nae wey the Scottish estaiblishment, ony time in the oncome, is gaun tae accep the yuiss o spoken Scots in airts whaur English haes hauden owerance for generations an there nae yuiss waitin on some kinna miracle kythin ony time suin. Gin the spoken Scots language is tae hae ony chance at aw o brekin oot frae the jyle that the estaiblisht British society haes pitten it intae, it will only come aboot whan an if the Scots language an its speakers decides that they've haed eneuch an yaise thair ain wecht o nummers tae force thirsels oot the jyle - force the spoken Scots word tae be heard in aw thae places whaur it gars rid faces the day an did in the bygane. Ay, if it wisnae for oor creenge we cuid dae aw that.

For aw that the feck o Scots language upsteerers is creenge ridden whaur speakin Scots in public is concairned, there thoosands, aiblins e'en millions o hamelt Scots speakers the day that's no near sae thirlt tae the creenge. This can be seen bi the wey, thae hamelt Scots speakers is forcin the soond o thair ain Scots language intae the TV news reports insteid o chyngin ower tae speakin 'polite' whan on the tellie the wey the aulder generations did. The wecht o this force for chynge is a muckle wave that's still aye growein an it winnae need an awfu lot o help frae the upsteerers afore it kythed intae an unstoppable tsunami. Whit cuid the estaiblishment dae agin the feck o the fowk ettlin tae force thair ain language intae the media, the courts, the kirk, the schuils, the estaiblishment itsel an ay, e'en intae the Scots pairlament gin they cuid find eneuch MSPs wi the gumption?

Efter gey near forty year o fleetchin governments an politicians tae sauf oor Scots language, whit hiv we got tae shaw for it? A puckle o pawkie words an a haundfu o bawbees noo an agane, juist eneuch tae keep a haundfu o upsteerers an academics in a job an oot o thair hair. But Scots is still deein an there still aye nae urgency tae dae ocht positive. As Prof. Joe LoBianco says, when a government cairries on this wey, it's cause they hae a hidden agenda an thon's tae deliberately allou the language tae dee oot throu negleck.

Wha kens hou mony years oor language haes afore it dwines awa past the pynt o nae return? Time's no on the side o oor mither tung. Shuirly the time's richt noo for aw Scots speakers tae pruive whit they are an speak Scots oot lood. Nae Scots quotes athin spoken English but richt spoken Scots aw on its ain. Yaise yer spoken Scots an force it doon the thrapples o the media an the estaiblishment. Tak it tae places it hisnae been for generations an be prood o it athoot ony embarrassment. Oor hamelt Scots speakers isnae embarrassed sae dae yer bit an gie thaim a heeze tae turn thair wave o spoken Scots intae a tsunami. The Scots language haes waited lang eneuch in the jyle. Noo's the time for it tae brek oot an fecht back - or dee.

Fare Thee Weel Tae Aw STW Readers
[NOTE: a photograph of Bob Fairnie in original]
THIS edeition o the Scots Tung Wittins micht weel be the lest ane, or at least the lest ane tae be editit bi this editor. For a guid while noo syne, for health raisons, A wisnae able tae tend ony o the Scots language forgaitherins, the ingaitherin o news for reportin in the STW haes been gey sair tae get haud o an, gin it wisnae for the walcome reviews sent in bi Irene Broon, wha doubled an aw for oor Stravaigin Reporter, A wad hiv been retired lang syne. A'm richt gratefu tae Irene for aw the wycelike help she haes gien me ower the years.
A raicent spell in hospital, for aw that A'm gettin ower it noo an seem tae be makin a guid betterment, haes brocht it hame that noo's the richt time tae retire an haund ower the editin tae a younger body, if ane can be fund.

Gin ony Scots speaker is interestit in takin ower, they wad hiv tae hae a PC wi Broadband an e-mail, a duplex prenter that cuid prent baith sides o the paper automatically. The computer wad need tae hae the DTP program MS Publisher 2007 installed sae that A can gie thaim copies o STW back nummers tae yaise as templates. A can fend an aw postal an e-mail distreibution leets. Nae doot ony new editor will want tae chynge the design an praisentation tae suit thirsel but tae stert wi it micht be easier tae yaise a back nummer as a template whaur aw that's needit is tae delete the text frae the text boxes an replace it wi new text. The shape, size an arrangement o thae text boxes cuid be chynged tae suit. The job isnae peyed but expenses for materials an postage can be gotten.Gin onybody is interestit, ye can contack masel on the abuin e-mail address for files, distribution leets or technical help an contack Scots Tung's convener, Richard Heinsar at [CENSORED: phonenumber] for ocht tae dae wi siller or expenses.

A've fair enjoyed editin the lest 178 edeitions o the Scots Tung Wittins an A wish aw its readers an aw the freends A've gotten tae ken throu it, aw the best for the oncome.
Bob Fairnie (Editor, Scots Tung Wittins).

The Biggers and other poems by David C Purdie
A review bi Irene Broon (Owerset intae Scots bi the Editor)
[NOTE: image of the book cover in original]
DAVID C. PURDIE is a weel kent name areddies, no juist in the warld o Scottish poetry. This is weel seen bi the dedications he haes makit tae fowk in the warld o writin, politics, minin, architecture, an the airts as weel of coorse as tae his ain close faimly. He beirs the gree o sindry poetry competeitions an awards, sae A'm fair taen aback that this is his first ingaitherin o poems.

The title poem, The Biggers, an a puckle o the ithers, is foondit on his ain experience warkin as a jyner. His wark is splattered wi biggin tairms an wirds an he herks back tae youthheid days as an apprentice laddie in 'bib an brace' dongerees playin 'denner time fitba' in Assembly Haa. There a real souch o cless consciousness an aw in this poem whan he writes aboot 'cockapentie chiels' bein 'faur abuin puir scuffie jyners', that he maun hiv felt fair snell in thae days. He seems tae mak a nod tae Robert Garioch bi referrin tae the Edinburgh Festival as '...the Embro Ploy...'. In Ravines whaur he writes aboot the auld closes an wynds o Edinburgh an thair history, he maks the ironic consait aboot hou warkin fowk is screivit oot o history, 'Nae screivers nor minstrels will mind them'. Clearly, Purdie is makin up for thon noo. There humour an aw in the poems as in the English The Birth of Poems an The Muntain an the Man an The Michty Scotsman. A dinnae ken Purdie's beliefs, but there a lot o religious references for exemplar in The Tulchan an Sanct Hub's. His love o his faimly comes ower richt strang.

His maist hertfelt poem in the pamphlet is The Daith Tree. Agane Purdie taps intae his knawledge o jynery an wuid tae conneck the life o Jesus as the son o a carpenter, an maist like, an apprentice ane, wi his daith on a piece o wuid. The very title is strang. It's ne'er cried a cross or crucifix. Daith Tree says it aw. He writes hou Jesus "...learnt tae dunt the stobs hame..."an then cleeks thon tae the very crucifixion itsel "...whan they drave the stobs in, He kent hoo mony dings...".

The dowie circle o his life stertin an endin wi the formin an shapin o wuid is clear tae see in the poem.

"...The bluid weeked doon the daith-tree,
Like roset dreeps doon pine."

In the pamphlet's efterword, Lydia Robb tells that this poem haes been read frae a guid puckle poopits. A wad jalouse there wad be nae drappin aff in the pews whan thon kythed!

O the 36 poems in the pamphlet, 21 is screivit in Scots. Purdie's writin in Scots seems tae fleet mair natural like than his English poems, for aw that they're aw weel craftit. Fower o thae Scots poems is owersettins o the 19th century Dorset poet, William Barnes. A'm no weel acquent wi the original wark sae A can juist read thae poems as new. It strikes me that the Scots Purdie screives in is weel suited tae the Dorset poems o Barnes. The ootcome is that the poems hae a feel o the Kailyaird style, that maun be unavoidable whan owersettin wark aboot the rural idyll o the 19th century. For aw that some o his wark is written in free verse, Purdie seems tae favour rhythm, rhyme an particlar styles, the likes o the Villanelle in Merle on a Rowan. His In Praise o Standart Habbie , that gies mair nor a nod at Robert Fergusson's Elegy on the Death of Scots Music in its souch, is evidence o this. There nae glossary in the pamphlet.

In Boswells Coort, Purdie luiks back tae his days as an apprentice laddie in the fifties warkin at whit is noo the restaurant cried The Witchery. He screives o the fowk that haed bid there, the likes o Mistress Gordon that wrate Flouers o the Forest an gentry gaun awa back tae the Dukes o Gordon, an hou on pey day thae young jyners "...nivver gied a bugger for ony screivers , nor dukes nor gentry either." Let's howp things haes chynged thae days.
© Irene Broon

ISBN 978-1-902629-15-5
Publisht bi Calder Wood Press,
[CENSORED: postaladdress]
Price £5
Kivver an airtwark design bi Randall Stephen Hall

Makar's Neuk
The Biggers
For George Philp

We are the biggers, puir buggers,
the lads that pits ruifs owre yer heids:
we're brickies an jyners an sclaters,
an plumbers an penters an spreids;
we're drivers o dumpers an hyst men,
cley-davies an humphers o hudds,
we're dargers an daft barriegadgies,
in wellies an glaury auld duds.

We are the biggers, puir buggers,
that shivs up yer ceilins an waas,
ti keep yer heid dry when it's rainin,
an keep yer erse warm when it snaws.
Taptaes alang scaffoldin battens,
or doun i the grun howkin pitts,
wi the stour o cement an o timmer,
in wir sweit an wir bluid an wir spits.

We are the biggers, puir buggers,
wha pits the flairs unner yer feet;
that tyauves in aa wins an aa wathers,
in the het an the cauld an the weet.
Thae artichokes, drauchtsmen an siclike,
micht craw that they've biggit yer hame,
but dinna tak tent o thae buggers -
it's the biggers that bigg't it - no thaim!

David C. Purdie

A Maitter o Trust
A Scots Tung maimber wis enjoyin an efternuin's boolin doon at the boolin club lest month an efter the gemme he got crackin wi an auld pal he hidnae seen for a guid puckle weeks.

"Hou've ye been keepin Tam?" he speirt, "A hivnae seen ye for a wee while noo."
"Ach!" said Tam. "A've been haein bother doon ablow. Baith front an back."
"Och, that disnae soond awfu guid Tam. Hiv ye been tae see yer doctor aboot it?"
"Ay." says Tam, " It's a lady doctor A've got but she's richt guid. She speirt me aw the quaistens o the day an then she gied me a richt guid examination, baith inside an oot."
"Sae whit did she say aboot it?"
"She gied me some diet sheets she thocht micht help then she said, 'Ye know Tom? When a man gets to your age, ye shuid never pass up the opportunity tae have a pee. An whatever ye do, never EVER trust a fart.'

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Cite this Document

APA Style:

Scots Tung Wittins 178. 2024. In The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow. Retrieved 14 June 2024, from

MLA Style:

"Scots Tung Wittins 178." The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech. Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 2024. Web. 14 June 2024.

Chicago Style

The Scottish Corpus of Texts & Speech, s.v., "Scots Tung Wittins 178," accessed 14 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 1829

Scots Tung Wittins 178


Text audience

Audience size N/A

Text details

Method of composition N/A
Word count 2377
General description monthly newsletter

Text medium

Leaflet/brochure (prospectus)

Text publication details

Publisher Scots Tung
Publication year 2008
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