Rough Scan








 
      OOR 
        SCOTTISH TONGUE
      THE rising generation is a kittle 
        ane, BAILIE; they’re awfu’ genteel. One great notion o’ theirs is that 
        the auld Scotch way o’ talkin’ is vulgar, and it’s amusing tae see hoo 
        they turn up their noses at the guid Scotch o’ their gran'faithers. An’ 
        min’ ye it’s vera hard for folk like me tae be lookit doon upon by a wheen 
        o’ whupper-snappers that pride themsels on their gentility, while they 
        hae tae thank their Scottish faithers and gran’faithers for a’ the position 
        they hae got.
      The ither nicht I daunnerd intae Mr Carmichael’s 
        tae hae a bit crack, and he says tae me, "Drink up yer gless, Mr 
        Kaye." His son started up at this, and gaein' his moustache a bit 
        curl, cries oot—
      "Oh! gracious, papa! how could he 
        do that? You ought to say ‘drink up yen toddy.’"
      I lookit at him a wee and then—I drank 
        my gless.
      By and by Mr Carmichael remarks: "It’s 
        an extror’nar’ cauld nicht, Mr Kayo, sit intae the fire," and I wis 
        drawin’ my chair in when Miss Carmichael laughs and says, "You surely 
        don’t want Mr Kaye to actually sit into the fire, do you?" and here 
        they a’ laughed.
      Heth, BAILIE, I thocht they were makin’ 
        a fule o’ me, and I began tae get a wee crabbit. Hooever, tae keep doon 
        my anger I took a moothfu’ or twa o’ toddy—I notice that toddy has a vera 
        beneficial effect when you’re put aboot, or no in yen ornar—and I began 
        tae tell aboot a freen o’ mine that had gane intae a coach office tae 
        get a horse the length o’ Paisley, when there wis a great roar frae a’ 
        the young folk. I wis dum’foonered. I didna see onything tae laugh at 
        till Maister Carmichael time Second says, "By Jove, that was a long 
        horse," and then they a’ laughed again.
      Noo, BAILIE, I suppose you and me are 
        a wee behin’ thae young anes in various things, and amang the rest in 
        oor style o’ talk. Bit for a’ that, oor Scotch is a vera expressive language, 
        and a vera sweet language. It has served its day and generation nobly, 
        and has sent forth men that hae made the name o’ Scotland famous a’ the 
        worl’ ower. Noo, thae young anes, by their speech and actions, are fast 
        makin’ us a dependency o’ England—a country weel enough in its way, but 
        no tae be compared for a minute tae Scotland either for intelligence, 
        enterprise, perseverance, or sagacity. The English language is no hauf 
        so expressive as the Scotch. For instance, "A canty auld wife" 
        is faur main expressive than "a jolly old woman"; "steek that 
        yett" is better than "fasten that gate"; "bonnie wee 
        bairn" is mair loving than "pretty little child"; "an 
        auld b ache" means mnair than "an old shoe"; and "a 
        humpluck o’ glaur" than a "heap of mud." "Speel up 
        the brae" canna be rendered in English, for "speel" is 
        neither walk nor rin, nor creep, but a distinct expressive motion by itsel’, 
        while "brae" is neither a hill nor a mountain, but—weel every 
        Scotch body ken. what it means. "Takin’ a dauner," again, is 
        faur better than "taking a walk," which micht be quick on slow.
      But, BAILIE, maist Scotch words are so 
        expressive that it wid tak’ aboot ten English words tae express the meaning 
        a’ ony one o’ them. For instance, "sprachle" means mair than 
        "sprawling"; "douce" has nae English equivalent; "dirrle" 
        expresses the vera feeling; "pawky," what’s the English for 
        that? "toom" gives you the vera soond; "gloamin’" 
        is faun an’ awa’ better than "twilight"; "rowan free" 
        is mair endearin’ than "mountain ash"; an’ "mavis" sweeter than "thrush"; 
        an’ "peesweep" better than "plover"; an’ "happit" 
        is warmer than "tucked"; "kink" is a cough an’ a whole lot o’ 
        ither things a' in one word; "howk" is better than " dig 
        "; "snell win’" is caulder than "a cold wind"; an’ "cosie" 
        is faur warmer than "comfortable"; as for "jaggie," 
        ony Scotch laddie‘ll tell ye that that appeals mair tae his feelings than 
        "prickly"; "kep" is far mair than "catch"; 
        an’ wha widna. prefer "bailie" tae "alderman," on 
        "provost" tae "mayor," or "blate" tae "bashful," 
        or "driech" tae "slow," or "girnin’" tae—what? 
        there’s no an English word onything like it; an’ jist think o’ "fozie," 
        the maist expressive word in the language, on "thole," which 
        means to suffer, to endure, an’ to tolerate a’ in one; or "snod" 
        for "neat"; an’ "tae wale a wheen grossats" is surely better 
        than to "select a few gooseberries"; or "spate" for 
        "flood," or " lippen" for "trust," or "ettle" 
        for "intend," or "dour," "draigle," "kittle," 
        "deave," "fashious," "glowering," "keek," 
        "scrimpit," " shooglie," "moolie," "fushionlees," 
        " shilpit," "sonsy," "kenspeckle," "threep," 
        " camstairie," "hirple," "hirsell," "habble 
        " ; or "redding" up a hoose, or "powtering" amang 
        the "chuckie stanes," or the "kirk skailing," or going 
        up the "knowe" tae gather "blaeberries," where the
      "laverock" sings an’ the "whins" bloom.
      But, michty me, BAILIE, I’ve forgot mysel’ 
        a’thegither in my national enthusiasm. Here’s Betty wi’ my gruel, so I’ll 
        retire tae my snow-white couch, an’, embellished wi’ my red nicht-cap, 
        sleep the sleep o’ the just.