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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

 

A’m Naebody. Fa are ee?
Are ee Naebody tee?

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

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

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

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

A’m Naebody. Fa are ee? Are ee Naebody tee?

 

Learning Resources

 

Reading

 

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 www.dsl.ac.uk.

 

Understanding

 

  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?

 

​Language

 

  1. Look at the 5th line of the poem, ‘Somebody’s 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 dsl.ac.uk to help you figure this out.

 

Creating

 

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.