The site for all Scots, Scots descendants and Scotophiles, right across the world     

A light-hearted e-magazine with facts, figures, folklore, photographs; with lots of wee bits  of general info about Scotland - and some big bits. A site for folk to read, browse and, if you like - contribute to.


In WEE BITS, in The Mag., thre's an article on the correct colour of Blue for The Saltire WELCOME to Find it in Scotland. The site's navigation menu Main Headings are down the left-hand panel. Click on these to see what's in each one. Some sections have a LOT in them.
~ Happy Browsing ~

The Scots Language

"SEE'S A HAUDIE..." ( A lighthearted look at the way we speak across the land, in the Scots Language, dialect and idiom)

Now, you and I know exactly what See's a haudie... means, but there are some of us who have been away too long, or have never had the chance to become acquainted with the Scots Language and Scots dialect, to understand that this means - ..."give me.." or "pass to me...", as in "see's a haudie the craitur" (give me/ pass me the whisky", where "the craitur" or "the creature" is idiomatic for Whisky, also known as "usquebagh" {spellings vary}...

  ...this section will be a light-hearted look at different dialects and interesting idioms, from Gretna in the South-West to Groats [John o'..., of course] in the North-East...

  ...and if there's a word, or phrase, you need to identify , or want to know how to express in a dialect - ask; we can find it - in Scotland. (an' we winna tak' a bawbee for dain' it! that is - no charge.)


But first, just a brief semi-serious bit, for a very quick history of the growth of the Scots Language.... 

...the original language of the "Scots" was Gaelic; the Scots had crossed over from the north of Ireland to the West Coast of what is now known as Scotland, and gradually became the predominant tribe in the region north of the line between the Firths of Forth and Clyde - in the process, assimilating the Picts - the original inhabitants. In 843AD their King - Kenneth MacAlpin - was recognised as the first ruler over all that land.

  The land south of this, in what we now recognise as The Lowlands and The Borders of Scotland, was then Anglian in custom and language - Anglia covered North England and Southern Scotland, as it is now. This land was gradually taken over by the Scots who, over a long period, began to use these customs ,and the language. The Seat of Government crept further south and east and, by the late 13th century the language of the Scottish Court was "Inglis"

Early Scots was mainly the Anglian of old Northumbria, and the language could be described as having 3 stages - Early, Middle and Late Scots. Middle Scots is reckoned to have lasted from around 1450AD to 1603 {what happened to us in 1603?}, with Late Scots from then till now.

So what we are concerning ourselves with, on this website, is Late Scots, though if the need arises, we may go further back for derivations, roots, etc., to explain some of the more strange Scots dialect and Scots idioms.

Be advised! This is not going to be a lecture, nor intended as a deep and serious piece of work; rather, this will give anyone out there with an interest in the Scots language, a wee bit of understanding of how we speak in the different areas/ regions of our country. 


Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me! We'll be looking at the spoken and written word, some to illustrate points to be made, others because we like it/ them: Scotland has a fair number of well-known, established authors and poets to quote from. There are also good, not-so-well-known poets and authors today, writing in Scots, and some not so good, but quaint and humorous. Be prepared for anything!!.

...for instance....

" Ah seen a wee speug wi' a flech in its lug, a' hoppity-skippin',sae sair.

So ah gie'd it a skelp and the flech, wi' a yelp, jumpit oot- - speugie ett it! Richt fair."

(c) Wullie Lang

...translates as - " I saw a small sparrow with a flea in its ear, dancing about in some distress. So I hit it to make the flea leave the bird - which then ate the flea. I consider this justice."...

 ...and then there's poetry like this; recognisable to most Scots everywhere...

"Wee, sleekit, cow'rin', tim'rous beastie, Oh what a panic's in thy breastie!..."


___________Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me!___________

Regional Variation.

Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me! We're going to consider the different way we express ourselves, in different areas of our Country. There are some dialects where not just the words, but the way they are spoken, is peculiar to that area. This is typical of most countries, and does not help understanding.

But it becomes even harder when the meaning of a word or phrase is not explained by the words used - even if we do understand them. When I was a young student, a friend of mine, who came from the Prestonpans area of Lothian, told me - (about 48 years ago - when cigarette smoking was the norm rather than the exception) - that in his part of the world, in a social gathering, on a bus, at a football match, etc., if you needed a match to light your cigarette, the phrase was "ony o' ye ony on 'ee" - that meant "any of you (have) any (matches) on you"; the meaning is clear only to those who are "in the know".


Jist a wee thrissle I maun be, but diina' ye daur sit on me! So this is another angle we'll be looking at. Do let us know if there's a phrase, a word, a way of expression you would like us to find for you, for a particular want or need you have., and from a specific area of Scotland.

  But please remember, this section is about the Scots Language and speaking Scots - not the Gaelic...

                                         ...That is a different subject, altogether!

"lang may yer lum reek" 

Wullie & Frank

* * * * *




Bookmark this page
Facebook Twitter Google Bookmarks Yahoo My Web




Site Search
This is a new site, and growing by the day. We ask YOU, our Readers, to help us grow in the direction YOU would like. All constructive suggestions are welcome.

Send your ideas via the Contact Us button on top of the right hand panel...

...and Thanks, for looking in.