By Rab Bruce’s Attercap

I dinnae uisually scrive this blog in Scots. That’s on accoont o me bein taucht tae speak and writ proper Inglis baith at hame and in the schuil. Ma auld granny uised for tae gab in Scots, so I hae a smidgin o the leed, but I’m nae so fluent as I’d like, and it’s a sair fecht that I’ve had tae uise a dictionar tae help me writ this airticle.

Onyhoo, I wis fair chuffed when I heard that Billy Kay’s beuk, "Scots: Mither Tongue" wis oot in audio form. Since I cannae see, I need tae hark tae audio beuks acause I cannae read like I uised tae.

It’s a braw beuk, fu o stories o how oor ain leed wis scorned and mair or less replaced by Inglis. All I can say is, if ye havnae read it yet, dae yersel a fauvour and get haud o a copy. Ye’ll no regret it.

It maist maks me greet when I think o how so many o us were brocht up no kennin how tae speak oor ain leed. Oft in the beuk, Billy says that the schuils should teach Scots at least fer ane lesson each week, and I couldnae gree mair. Oor weans should be taucht how tae speak Scots and no be feart tae dae so. There’s nocht wrang wi speaking Inglis an aw, but it wid be a bonny thing if awbody coud speak baith leeds wi fluency.

We hae a muckle count o years tae owercome acuase the boul in the mou fowk wha are in chairge o the so-cried United Kingdom aye want awbody tae be like them, tae act like them, and tae think like them. A body wha disnae dae thon things is cried a nyaff or iller. Ton’s no richt. Naebody shoud be telt no tae speak the leed o their ane nation. It’s oor heritage, and we shoud be prood o that.

So mony thanks tae Billy Kay fer mindin me that Scots isnae a dialect o Inglis, it’s a tongue by itsel, and it’s ane we shoud aw try tae speak mair.

My apologies to anyone who speaks fluent Scots who identified mistakes in the above. For anyone who doesn’t understand Scots, a translation of the text is noted below. I should say that it is a measure of just how ingrained learning English has been during my lifetime that it took me over half an hour to write the above text because of the need to constantly look up words in an online dictionary. My thanks to for their excellent resource. Of course, I can speak Scots a lot better than I can write it, but even so I am embarrassed by how little I know, and I still had to check the spelling of words I can say without thinking about them.

I also attempted to avoid the use of apostrophes as far as possible because I agree with Billy Kay’s comment that using them reinforces the view that Scots is a debased form of English. If a letter is dropped in Scots because that is the way we speak, I see no need to insert an apostrophe to suggest that the English pronunciation of the word includes an additional letter. So, "of" in English is simply "o" in my written version of Scots. I am not at all sure whether this convention is normal in written Scots, but it’s something I think we should make more of. Scots is a language, not a mere dialect of English, and we should not attempt to make it fit English grammatical conventions.

Translation of Article:

I don’t usually write this blog in Scots. That’s because I was taught to speak and write proper English both at home and in school. My old grandmother used to chatter in Scots so I have a smattering of the language, but I’m not as fluent as I’d like to be, and it’s annoying that I had to use a dictionary to help me write this article.

Anyway, I was really pleased when I heard that Billy Kay’s book, "Scots: Mither Tongue" was available in audio format. Since I cannot see, I need to listen to audio books as I am unable to read the way I used to.

It’s a good book, full of stories of how our language was scorned and more or less replaced by English. All I can say is, if you haven’t read it yet, do yourself a favour and get hold of a copy.

It almost makes me cry when I think of how so many of us were brought up not knowing how to speak our own language. Often in the book, Billy says that schools should teach Scots for at least one lesson each week, and I couldn’t agree more. Our children should be taught how to speak Scots and not be afraid to do so. There is nothing wrong with speaking English as well, but it would be a grand thing if everybody could speak both languages with fluency.

We have a great many years to overcome because the upper class people who are in charge of the so-called United Kingdom always want everybody to be like them, to act like them and to think like them. A person who doesn’t do those things is called an uncouth commoner or worse. That’s not right. Nobody should be told not to speak the language of their own nation. It’s our heritage and we should be proud of that.

So, many thanks to Billy Kay for reminding me that Scots is not a dialect of English. It is a language by itself, and it’s one we should all try to speak more.