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Scots Language Centre Centre for the Scots Leid

Caroline Mackie - Advocacy

1st March 2023

Caroline Mackie was born and bred in Edinburgh but left to the Netherlands with her husband and 2 little ones in 1979. What was to be perhaps a short adventure, ended up with the family staying in the Netherlands 'forever'.

With family still in Scotland and not being all that far off, Caroline kept good contact with our roots. Caroline has always written.  She was always the one at the office to compose something for anyone leaving... that sort of thing. Caroline has been an official translator of Dutch to English since 2009.
Over the years Caroline wrote children's books (no luck with publishers), rhymes and short stories, more and more over the last few years - time on her hands she suggests - and not long ago began writing in the vernacular too - Caroline's version of Scots. Caroline hesitates to call her pieces 'poetry' but participating in online 'spoken word' events has encouraged Caroline, and feels her short stories seem appreciated when she posts them on Facebook.
Caroline is happy to participate with the Scots Language Centre Poetry Column and hopes she comes over well.


The kids the day are still aa telt ‘at’s nae wey tae be speakin!’
Thir even telt in jist they words! It’s mad!
Ah’m realisin (late, ah ken) it’s spellin thit needs tweakin,
an tellin kids thit hou they speak’s NO bad.

Wis aa keep up wi Burns at schuil. It helps, thir’s nae denying.
A word like ‘ilka’ might indeed no last.
But whit wey kin we no jist larn tae spell in decent Scots,
an larn thit hou we spik’s no frae times past!

Ah’ve loads o pals that tell me, ‘ah hiv niver spoke lik thon!’
No even realisin that they dae!
It’s the spellin an the writin that wis never taught tae us.
Been denied us all they years. So, whit d’ye say?

Teach Inglis aye, as foreign tongue. Big up the uis o Scots.
Pronunciation (whit’s the Scots fir aat?)
Wir mair than jist an accent! We’ve history tae prove it!
Ah dinnae ken it aa, but ah’ve got heart.

If bairns wis gien mair access tae mair writings o aa airts,
the chances o revival wid be grand.
Nae mair wuid even Scots hink thit their kids wis speakin ‘slang’.
A sense o pride wid then gae hand in hand.

Ah ken a dinnae dae it right masel. Ah niver larnt!
O course ah ken ah huvnae got the clowt.
But nou, ah hink the time his come! We need tae get this sorted!
‘Scots wha hae…’ an aa that. Shout it out!

Caroline Mackie, 6th January 2023