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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

A bittie aboot Babel

28th October 2021


A gey an intressin buik – anent langage – is awa tae plenish the buik barras fae 4 November. Cryed The Babel Message, it wis wrutten bi the Lunnon steidit sociologist an screivar Keith Kahn-Harris ower the twa-three year bygane. An whit maks this ane kenspeckle is that Kahn-Harris taks the message fund in Kinder Surprise eggs as his stertin oot pynt tae speak aboot langage. Oor screivar speirs: whit is it that maks a leid? For tae answer this he reenges the warld, takkin the swatch o sindry leids, an gaes back intil auld fernyears forby. For Kahn-Harris the warld o langage is a ferlie that haes him awthegither taen-like.

In pittin thegither aw thir sindry owersettins o the Kinder message, Kahn-Harris shaws us hoo we use langage, hoo its drifts an slidders, an hoo ae word can tell us hoo fowk sees the warld aboot them.

The oreeginal Kinder text in Soothron reads: “WARNING, read and keep. Toy not suitable for children under 3 years. Small parts might be swallowed or inhaled.” Syne this wis set ower in Scots as “CAW CANNIE, read an haud on tae this: Toy isna fit for bairns unner 3 year auld. Sma pairts micht get swallaed or soukit in.”

The buik – The Babel Message A Love Letter to Language - is set furth bi Icon Books fae 4 November 2021 as a hardback (ISBN 9781785787379) an haes 336 pages. It sells at £12.99.

The’r a soond file o this story in Scots ablow.

The’r nae version o this story in Soothron.


  • A bittie aboot Babel