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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Naebody by Betty Allan

'Naebody', by Betty Allan, is one of the poems from 'The Kist' - an anthology of Scots (and Gaelic) poetry and prose that was digitised by Education Scotland and gifted to the Scots Language Centre so that teachers and learners can continue to benefit from this valuable resource. 


Naebody by Betty Allan


Am Naebody. Fa are ee?
Are ee Naebody tee?

Being Somebody widna dae
For a self-taught Naebody like me.
Somebodys aye in the public eye.
Somebodys got something tae say.

Them thats Naebodys never socht
Tae gie a speech or tell a joke.
Naebody never taks the chair.
(Naebodys probably nae even there.)

Naebody passes messages on,
Types an files an answers phones,
Washes claes an polishes sheen,
Naebodys work is never deen!

They never seek Naebodys opeenion.
They think that Naebody disna hae ane!
But should Naebody lift his cairds or dee
See then fit happens tae Somebody!

Am Naebody. Fa are ee? Are ee Naebody tee?


Learning Resources




Read the poem and listen to the audio file.

If there are unfamiliar words, try to work out what they mean according to their context, or look them up using a Scots dictionary you can use an online Scots dictionary at




  1. What is Betty Allan trying to say? Do you classify people in this way?
  2. How does the poet see naebody and how does she see somebody?
  3. Do you classify people in this way?




  1. Look at the 5th line of the poem, Somebodys aye in the public eye.  The word aye normally means yes, but it means something else here. What does it mean?
  2. Define the following Scots words:         Fa          ee           socht        sheen
  3. Which words in this poem are used all over Scotland, and which are mostly used in the North-East? You can use to help you figure this out.




Write a dramatic monologue from the point of view of a person who feels like they are overlooked in life. You should use Scots if you can.