Mair Nouns

Maist o fit A hiv tae say aboot nouns can be fun bi readin If Mairch Comes in Lik a Lamb: Bit A hiv a twa-three mair thingies tae add.

Collective nouns can be afa guid fun. Ye can mak up yer ain fir a lauch, files. Bit some o the rale anes are super tae. An they can be fun an aw. A’m afa taen bi the ane thit’s gaun aboot Facebook. It’s a pictur o twa craws wi the caption “attemptit murther”. Ma best ane in Inglis is “a charm of goldfinches”. E Scots wid be “a chairm o gowdspinks” or mebbies a “cantrip”. Thinkin aboot aat gaured ma winner: are we spikkin magic faan we say “charm” or the ither sense o being fair taen wi something? The Inglis gies baith senses. Dis the Scots?

Onywye, Chris Robinson suggests a wee hole in e grammar wi collective nouns. Thir singular things, grammatically spikkin. So, “the cantrip o gowdspinks wis atten e seeds.” Bit gin A’m wintin tae suggest thir actin mair alane-like, A cuid say: “the cantrip of gowdspinks were fleein aw wye.” Iss draws attention tae the individuals ino the group, div ye see?


The hinnermaist thing A’v tae say aboot nouns is aboot Proper Nouns. Aye, they’re the anes thit aye need a capital letter – same as in Inglis. A wis fair trickit in a skweel nae sae lang syne faan aw the bairns wintit tae ken fit the Scots version o their names wis. Afa disappintin fir them thit the maist o them were as Scots as they were ivver gaun tae be. Bit Dauvit and Rabbie wir chuffed. A micht hae wished fir a Dod an a Beldie!

Bit there’s nae aye gaun tae be a different wird ino Scots – fir ony noun, proper or nae, or ony ither pairt o speech aither. Sib leids are gaun tae share wirds. It wid be fine tae yaise some o the different proper nouns files though. A’m awa tae Glesca the morn an Aiberdeen neist wik. Fitan eese if there wir signs sayin thon at the stations!

Help wi nouns an aw ither grammar can be fun in A Modren Scots Grammar bi Christine Robinson, Grammar Broonie bi Susan Rennie and on on GLOW.

Ma desk

deskHere is a photie o ma desk (A dinnae hae a clessroom aye noo). Ye can see it’s an afa redd up. At’s e wye A wirk, A’m afraid!

E computer is richt in e middle – faan A’m at ma desk, it is aye oan.  Emails, scrievin documents an readin wabsteids is the maist o ma wirk.

Bit ye’ll see a puckle buiks an aw. A dae a hullock o readin an aw. An files A mak notes ono paper – nae jist aye ono the computer. An there’s a wheen dictionaries an sic like aside the phone. Afa handy tae hae fir luikin up wirds.

Ma muckle cuppie o tae is there an aw as weel as a can o juice. It’s afa important tae bide hydratit!

There’s phones aw ower the bit: e landline, ma wirk moblie an ma ain ane. Spikkin is a thing A dae hunners o!

Ono the wa ahint ma desk ye’ll mebbie see noties an bitties o paper A wint tae be able tae see. The grumphie, the pig, wis faldit yaisin instructions in Shetlan Scots. Fitin braw, is he no?

Nouns are graan – or – If Mairch comes in lik a lamb

IMG_0310If Mairch comes in lik a lamb, it’ll gang oot lik a lion. Weel, St Dauvit’s Day wis blawie an coorse wi his: mebbie Voar is aboot here an the hinner eyne o Mairch’ll be fine.

An afore ye stairt: I ken “Voar” isnae a wirdie fae Doric. Its ane o ma twa new nouns an comes fae Shetlan. The ither ane is “guddick” – anither Shetlan noun fir a riddle or a heid-twister.

Ono the face o it, nouns in Scots wirk richt lik nouns in Inglis. Ilkane’s a thing. They are awye. Ye cannae gang wrang wi them. Subject, object, concrete an abstract, coont or mass: aw fairly straicht forrit. Fit’s e noun daein? Or fit’s it bein? Fit’s it haein daen till it? Can ye touch it or is it aw in yer heid? Dae ye missur it bi nummer or bi foo muckle ye hae?

Bit Scots aye his the pooer tae begake. We hae ae ee: Inglis “an eye”. And baith yer een mak an irregular plural: mair like “children” than the maist o wir plurals fit tak “s”, or “es”. The kind o plural A’m maist trickit wi is the like o “reef”. Aw the hooses hiv slate reefs: nae fashin wi “ves” lik in Inglis.

Possessive nours yaise apostrophes – the verra same as Inglis. The rale guddick is fitna wye aat’s sic a trauchle tae fowk. Thon “mad wee comma things that float abeen the line” (as ae bairn eence cried them tae me) is nae bather tae yaise. Lik Lynne Truss, A’m dementit wi fowk faa cannae, or winnae, lairn tae yaise them richt. It’s nae hard!

A mair unnerstannable cause fir bombazement is the wye a wheen o mass nouns in Scots act lik coont anes. Lik Davie Balfour’s Uncle Ebeneezer, wi can aw hae parritch: “they’re grand food.” Nae that A div, mine. Ma parritch comes in a bowlie or a micht hae a sup o it – singular, on its lane (wi milk an a wee tate saat). Bit fowk faa “pluralise” thir mass nouns lik thon are nae wrang – aat’s guid Scots. An get iss: fish, lik in Inglis, is the plural o the wird fir thon beasts thit sweem. bit only fir the mass noun. If ye can coont them, ye hae sae muckle fishes.

Bit of course we missur nummers differentlike. Ye ken A’m twintie-ane year auld, an it’s taen ma twa oor ti scrieve this. Nae an “s” in sicht! (an less space tae pit an eeseless apostrophe!) Mine, wi hae “days” jist lik in Inglis.

Aye, nouns are graan. A’m a sicht closer tae yaisin Voar ma sivvinteen times so’s it’ll be pairt o ma wirkin vocabulary. An A’m hopin Voar’ll be here, lik a lambkin, afore A’m deen!



Help wi nouns an aw ither grammar can be fun in A Modren Scots Grammar bi Christine Robinson, Grammar Broonie bi Susan Rennie and on on GLOW.

Fit is Scottish Standart Inglis?

It gaurs me lauch thit mony Scots faa think they yaise thir best pan loaf – Inglis aa the wye – actually spikk Scottish Standart Inglis (SSI): a sib language or dialect an nae fit the Queen spikks ava. Och! She yaised the ‘d’ wird. Bit mine, the Queen spikks a dialect o Inglis tae. Naethin wrang wi dialect. Bit we hiv tae see a thing fir fit it is. Scots is wir leid an SSI is oor dialect o Inglis, wir ither leid.

So fit is SSI? Tae some it’s Inglis wi a Scottish accent an nae mair. Bit fir onybodie faa his bade n England, or certes onybodie faa warkit wi Inglis (baith their subject an nationality) teachers fan they did, SSI is mair nor aat.

An bide in England wi Inglis teachers A did. An aat gies ma a guid example o fit A’m spikkin aboot. Fir fan we translate ‘bide’ intae Inglis we say ‘stay’. Inglis fowk dinnae ‘stay’ in Manchester, unless they are glued tae the grun. They ‘live’ in Manchester. They dinnae gang tae ‘my work’ or ‘my bed’: faa’s bed wid ye gang til? they lauch. They dinnae get ‘the cold’, ‘the measles’ or ‘the dry boak’. An ‘outwith’ is a wird ootwi their ken. Go on – try an scrieve it inno Word: blue line – nae a wird. Bit SSI yaises aa they constructions, fair perjink.

Ma best unnerstaundin is thit SSI is fit Scots spikkers did tae (or wi) Inglis fan we jaloused thit we wid hae tae yaise it either instead o or alang wi wir Scots.

Unco thit this shuid happen. Ye’d think thit bi ettlin tae get oan, tae fit in, tae soon guid, we wid hae taen oan Inglis hale. Bit wi nivver. Seeminly thir’s a line – iss faur an nae faurer. Fir aw the weel-kent ettlin tae ‘remove Scottisisms’ fae ‘polite talk’ thit follaed 1707, seeminly we reachit a pint fan eneuch wis eneuch.

Nae thit A didnae try an stop sayin ‘stay’ fan A meant ‘live’ – naebody wints tae be lauched at. Bit ‘bairn’ an ‘wee’, ‘driech’ an ‘gloamin’ are sic eese in mony airts – the Inglis is ugsome or impty or nae fit ye wint tae say.pan loaf

An thon’s the place thit Scots his really bade in ‘polite talk’. Wirds thit trip aff o yer tongue an ful the space thit Inglis cannae come at. Mebbies aats fit wye yon dishcloots are sic popular – ony Inglis spikker can yaise they wirds tae expand thir vocabulary. Aat’s fit Inglis dis – borraes and yaises an maks wirds its ain. An thir’s naethin ‘minging’ aboot aat.

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