Winnie-the-Pooh in Scots

I have just read, and with great enjoyment, Winnie-the-Pooh in Scots, translated by James Robertson and with the original E. H. Shepard illustrations.
Lang lang syne, a lang while syne noo, aboot Friday past, Winnie-the-Pooh steyed in a forest aw by himsel unner the name o Sanders.

('Whit does "unner the name" mean?' spiers Christopher Robin.

'It means he had the name in gowd letters ower the door and he steyed unner it.'

'Winnie-the-Pooh wisna jist shair,' says Christopher Robin.

'I am noo,' says a gurly [growly] voice.

'Then I'll cairry on," says I.)

The other characters, I should mention, are Wee Grumphie (Piglet), Heehaw (Eeyore, and a much more sensible spelling than "Eeyore" to an American like me), Rabbit, Hoolet (Owl, cf. English howlet, a mixture of howl and owlet, or their French originals), Kanga, and the Bairn Roo. Teeger doesn't come in until The Hoose at Pooh's Neuk, which has just arrived but I haven't read yet.

The book is a delight overall, especially to one as steeped in Pooh as I have always been, and who had Scott, RLS, and Ian Maclaren mixed in with his English reading from a very early age. I suppose there were half-a-dozen or so words that I didn't know the meanings of, as I unfortunately read the book without the marvelous Dictionar o the Scots Leid, the OED for Scots, at hand. I must particularly praise the verse translations, such as this one from Chapter 1, "Where-intil we are introduced tae Winnie-the-Pooh and a wheen Bees, and the Stories stert":

It's a thocht, is it no, that if Bears were Bees,
They'd bigg their bykes at the bottom o trees.
And if that wis the wey o it (if Bees were Bears)
We widna hae tae speel up aw thir stairs.

My favorite moment, however, was at this line in Chapter 4: "These notices had been written by Christopher Robin, who was the only one in the forest who could spell; for Owl, wise though he was in many ways, able to read and write and spell his own name WOL, yet somehow went all to pieces over delicate words like MEASLES and BUTTEREDTOAST." In Robertson's translation, this becomes: "Thae notices had been written oot by Christopher Robin, the ainly yin in the Forest that could spell; for, lang-heidit though Hoolet wis in mony weys, able tae read and write and spell his ain name HOOTEL, for some reason he gaed aw through-ither when it cam to kittle words like MEASLES and BUTTERYBREID."

The next time I'm writing some software that needs a fanciful name, perhaps I'll call it Hootel.


Michael Everson said...

Evertype will publish “Ailice’s Ă€venturs in Wunnerland” (in Scots) and “Alice’s Carrants in Wunnerlan” (in Ulster Scots) later this year.

Michael Everson said...

See http://www.evertype.com/books/alice-sco.html