Tak Tent O Ilka Saison

Author: Hamish Scott

Date: 2010

Source: Ullans: The Magazine for Ulster-Scots, Nummer 11 Ware 2010

Hamish Scott

Simmer[3], hairst[4], wunter[5], ware[6]

Tak lent o ilka saison

For lyfe aye[7] haes the samen pair[8]

Simmer, hairst, wunter, ware

Tak tent o ilkane’s skair[9 ]

Tak tent, conjynit[10], thair raison[11]

Simmer, hairst, wunter, ware

Tak tent o ilka saison.


[1] tak tent o: heed, pay attention to.

[2] saison: season

[3] summer

[4] autumn (lit. ‘harvest’)

[5 ]winter

[6 ]spring

[7 ]always

[8] SND: pair, n.3. Applied (1) to a set, not limited to two, of related objects, where Eng. now uses a distinctive collective n., esp. in n.phrs.: pair of arrows, a set of three …; pair of (bag)pipes, a set of bagpipes …; pair of beads, a string or rope of beads (Crm., m. and s.Sc., Uls. 1965) ; pair of cards, a pack of cards (ne. and wm.Sc., Slk. 1965). Obs. in Eng. exc. dial.

[9] SND: skair, n.1… Sc. forms of Eng. share….I. n. 1. As in Eng., a portion, an allotted part …

[10] Presumably ‘conjoined’.

[11] reason

Editor’s note. The Ulster-Scots Language Society has always encouraged experimentation with writing in Ulster-Scots. For that reason, modern writing in previous issues of Ullans has been edited for internal consistency only, in regard to the variant form used. Ulster-Scots has never had a standardised spelling. However, during the life of the Ulster-Scots Academy Implementation Group, a Spelling Standardisation Committee was formed under the capable and informed Chairmanship of Dr Ivan Herbison of QUB, and its hard work resulted in the successful completion of Stage 1 of the process of spelling standardisation.

However, it is recognised that unless these recommendations are adopted by the ‘practitioners’ (that is, the actual modern writers in Ulster-Scots), then they will go the way of both the main attempts to standardise our sister language, Scots. For all these reasons, we have included in this issue a sample of the poetry of one of our members, who lives in Scotland, for the interest of our readers. We are grateful to Hamish for allowing his work to be published. He tells us that he has tried to follow the Scots Language Society’s ‘Recommendations for Writers in Scots’ (1985). His writing has also been informed by Philip Robinson’s Ulster-Scots: A Grammar of the Traditional Written and Spoken Language (The Ullans Press, 1997) in regard to the use of the -oun form (for English -ion, as in creatioun) and of sch- (for English sh-, as in schak). According to Hamish, these are generally considered in Scotland as archaisms not to be revived.

A brief note of explanation may be in order. This poetry is radically experimental in nature, drawing as it does on vocabulary from many different Scots dialects (many of which would not have been imported to Ulster in any density, if at all) and from a greatly extended time period.

For the convenience of those of us without access to the Scottish National Dictionary or the Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, where necessary we give an indication of meanings taken from these sources. However, it is acknowledged that spellings of some of the other words used are unusual, and will not be immediately recognised by the reader. For these, we would recommend that you try speaking the word aloud, as an aid to understanding.



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A new edition of Michael Montgomery’s From Ulster to America: The Scotch-Irish Heritage of American English recounts the lasting impact that at least 150,000 settlers from Ulster in the 18th century made on the development of the English language of the United States. This new edition published by the Ulster-Scots Language Society documents over 500 ‘shared’ vocabulary items which are authenticated by quotations from both sides of the Atlantic. A searchable online version of this dictionary is now also available here.


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