"The New Testament in Braid Scots"


Preface: "Thar are mony folks, wha hae spoken English a' their
grown-up days, wha like to gang back to the tongue o' their bairnhood, i' the
mirk and shadows o' auld age. Thar are ithers wha seem tae tak better to the
Word when it comes to them wi' a wee o' the Scottish birr. And thar are a
hantle o' folk--and I meet them a'gate--wha dinna speak Scots theirsels, but
are keen to hear it, and like to read it.

"And thar is anither consideration--the Scots tongue is no gettin extendit,
and some folk think it may be tint a'thegither or 'or lang. And God's Word is
for a'men; and ony lawfu' means ane can use to get folk to read it, and tak
tent til't, is richt and proper. For a' thae reasons and ithers I coud bring
forrit, I hae putten the New Testatment intil Braid Scots. Lat nae man think it
is a vulgar tongue--a mere gibberish to be dune wi' as sune as ane is bye the
schule-time. It is an ancient and honourable tongue; wi' rutes deep i' the
yird; aulder than muckle o' the English. It cam doon till us throwe oor Gothic
and Pictish forebears; it was heard on the battle-field wi' Bruce; it waftit
the triumphant prayers and sangs o' the Martyrs intil Heeven; it dirl't on the
tongue o' John Knox, dencouncin wrang; it sweeten't a' the heevenlie letters o'
Samuel Rutherford; and aneath the theek o'mony a muirland cottage it e'en noo
carries thanks to Heeven, and brings the blessins doon!........."

"And I haena putten pen to paper unbidden. A wheen screeds o' the Word dune
intil Scots I had at times putten afore the public een; and folk wad write me,
"Hae ye ony mair o't? Is the hail Testament in Scots to be gotten?" till I
begude to think that aiblins Providence had gien me the Scots blude and the
Scots tongue, wi' the American edication, for the vera reason that--haein baith
lang'ages--I soud recommend the Word in Scots; and juist Scots eneuch not to be
unfathomable to the ordinar English reader."

"Whiles thar has been a chance o'making the meanin planer; whiles a Scots
phrase o' unco tenderness or wondrous pith coud come in. And at a' times,
ahint the pen that was movin, was a puir but leal Scots heart, fu' o' prayer
that this sma' effort micht be acceptit o' the dear Maister--and, survivin a'
the misca'in o' the pernickity and the fashionable--micht bring the memoryh o'
a worthy tongue, and the better knowledge o' a Blessed Saviour, to this ane and
that ane, as they micht chance to read it."

William Wye Smith (The Rev.) St. Catherines Canada


Bible printed (third edition) in Great Britain by Alexander Gardner Ltd, Paisley, l924. In the very back is a small glossary of Scottish words. The Rev. Smith writes this introduction to the glossary:

"In the following Glossary, there is not attempt made to present a dictionary of the Scottish language. Only those words are inserted that are found in the text; and generally, only the English definitions that belong to the situations in which the words are placed in the text.

"Scottish vowels are considerably deeper than English in sound; the short isounding to an English or American ear like a short e. The pure sound of er, as in the English words berry, ferry, etc.; the guttural ch or gh as in the German; the affix it corresponding to the English ed and pronounced eet; and the termination in corresponding to the English ing, and pronounced een; are some points necessary to be observed."

"As to the dialect used in this version, the dialect of Burns, which has become fixed as the literary form of the Broad Scots, has been mainly followed; and that, nowithstanding many Border predilections on the part of the translator. Burns, Scott and Hogg are the great dialectic authorities in Scots, to whose diction all must conform; and the world has accepted, as a representative form of the languge, a dialect used by these, which is not strictly peculiar to any definite locality."

"Criticism on this work there will be, however rendered; but I have had before me, all throughout, the probability of this translation being counted, in a modest way, as one of the standards of the language in time to come; and have endeavored to make it consistent with itself and conformable to alreadyexisting standards; and a help to those who should afterwards write in Scots."


Now to close quite an extroadinary evening, here is the beautiful Twenty-Third Psalm in Braid Scot:

"The Twenty-Third Psaum"

"The Lord is my Shepherd; my wants are a'kent; the pastur I lie inis growthie and green.
I follow by the lip o' the watirs o' Peace.
He heals and sterklie hauds my saul: and airts me, for his ain name'ssake, in a' the fit-roads o' his holiness.
Aye, and though I bude gang throwe the howe whaur the deid-shadows fa',
I'se fear nae skaith nor ill, for that yersel is aye aside me; yere rod and yere cruik they defend me.
My table ye hae plenish't afore the een o' my faes; my heid ye haechrystit wi' oyle; my cup is teemin fu'!
And certes, tenderness and mercie sal be my fa' to the end o' my days;and syne I'se bide i' the hoose o' the Lord, for evir and evir mair!"

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