Mang Howes an Knowes

A Day's Dander Throwe Border Waeter - Gates



ALLAN WATT & Son, Printers, Station Buildings.



Written and redrafted in 1914, this narrative in the Hawick verncular was typed originally for issue to a few friends . Its publication in this posthumous volume is a response to the suggestion that the work should be made available to a wider circle, and it is desired that its appearance in this form may serve also as a memorial of the author and his devotion to the vernacular speech of his native district.

Especially at this time, when there are indications of a Scottish renaissance, it seems fitting to issue the narrative to as many as possible of those who are interested in the preservation of the vernacular; for it is felt that the work will be appreciated as apure specimen of the rich vocabulary, terse phraseology and idiomatic as well as phonetic peculiarities of the Hawick speech.

In 1914, having for while contemplated its production as an illustration of the descriptive power of this speech, the author chose as a theme for his narrative the incidents and impressions of a ramble in his native Roxburghshire during the previous year, just about the time of his 22nd birthday.

Realizing to what degree the representation of the Scottish vernacular is marred by the tendency to Anglicize its spelling, the author preferred an orthography that would retain the genuine forms, and in this and in others of his writings he adhered to the true sound-values of many words to which the standard English spelling is so often erroneously applied.

The narrative as reproduced her is accompanied by a few introductory notes based on his "Braid Haaick" (MS on the Hawick vernacular), since to some extent these may serve to elucidate the author's text. Even had it been practicable in this volume to supplement the text with a glossary and a treatise on the subject of the Hawick speech, no adequate purpose could have been served thereby; for to the intended reeaders the little work need present no real difficulties, since the standard work on this vernacular-"The Roxburghshire Word-Book" (by George Watson),published by the Cambridge University Press in 1923-quotes freely from this narrative and may be consulted for explication.

Manchester, 1925.




The values recognized in modern Scottish orthography apply generally to the vowels and consonants in the text ; but certain departures from the common usage are to be noted:

In the Hawick vernacular there is no appreciable difference between the vowel-sound in cauld (river-weir) and the vowel-sound in cald (cold). In the text this sound is indicated by aa, e.g. aa (all), faa (fall), etc.

The shorter a sound occurring in the pronunciation of the personal pronoun A (1), and of such words as wad (would), whan(when), etc., is indicated by the single letter, A or a.

In such words as deed (dead) and heed (head), there is a departure from the common Scottish spelling, ee being used instead of ei, so that ei may be restricted to the characteristic Teviotdale sound heard in mei (me), leike (like), etc., etc.

In the text the parts of the auxillary verb "to have" include heh, instead of hae, (have); hes (has); hed (had), etc.

The Hawick pronunciation is indicated also where gae (give), geh or gien (gave) and yeh (one) are introduced instead of the cornmon Scottish forms gie, gied and (y)ae.

The form -eet is employed for the ending of the preterite and past participle of weak verbs, e.g. lilteet (lilted), sterteet (started), etc., and the form -een for the suffixes (chiefly gerundial) of awanteen (wanting), biggeen (building), etc., where these endings are the common Scottish affixes, -it and -in.

Similarly, -ih,-fih, etc., are preferred to -ow, -fu', etc, in fallih(fellow), sheddish(shadow), taatih(potato), awfih(awfu', awful) and others.

In many nouns, including diminutives, and in adjectives, where the spelling is established, the ending -ie is preferred to -y ; e.g.. burnie, bonnie, etc.

The spelling ti is employed generally for the Scottish preposition tae (to), and is sounded as in "tip." For the adverb tae (too), the spelling tui is used, although the sound has a slight tendency towards "tay". The spelling tae is retained in the tae (the one), as the vowel-sound approaches closely to that in "tay" or "taste."

As the dropping of consonants at the ends of certain words and syllables is so general in Scottish, the author considered it often superfluous to indicate such omissions by the customary device of substituting the apostrophe or apostrophes. Therefore, in the narrative, an (and), i (in), o (of'), etc., are preferred to an', i', o', ete. Similarly, mang (among), harly(hardly), dwinglt (lingered or tarried), etc., are preferred to 'mang, har'ly, dwing'lt, etc. As an apostrophe is not inserted in modern English when a consonant is definitely dropped from or elided in a word, there seems no reason to regard it as a fixed rule in Scottish to mark all such omissions or elisions. Moreover, in Middle English such words were written without the apostrophe, thus affording historical precedents.

There is a frequent omission of the aspirate from the Hawick equivalents of he, his, him, her, etc., e.g.ei, eis, um, er, ete.

The other important features of the Hawick vocabulary include the alternative forms of those words which vary in certain cirumstances, such as: iz, mei (me) ; oo, wei (we) ; oo, huz,uz (us) ; ee, yow (you) ; eet, hit, it, 'd, 't (it); yeh, yin (a, one) ; aether, owther (either) ; ayoint, ayownt, yoint, yownt (beyond) ; be, bei (be) ; be, or (ere, etc.) ; be (by, in comparison with, etc.); bye (by, past) ; duist, juist (just) ; eenow, nih, now [(the) now] ; ferrer-, fether (farther) ; geh, gien (gave); gerss, gress (grass) ; let, luit (let) ; mae, mair (more); na! nehh ! no ! (nay!); nae (no); no (not) ; o, ov (of) ; than, then, thin (then); thonder, yonder (yonder); ti, till (to, towards); ud, wad (would); etc., etc.

The text includes also such spellings as: beguid (began); bit (but); hyimm (home); hyit (hate); meenint (minute) ; thae (those); thir (these) ; ther (their); thum (them); threh M (from) veeshysis (vicious); wui (with) etc., etc.

Consistent with the orthographic system adopted in the text, the spellings of proper nouns include:
Bosells (Boswells) ; Buinster (Benchester); Denum (Denholm); Eeldon (Eildon); Haaick (Hawick); Jethart Aibbey, Casle (Jedburgh Abbey, Castle); Kelsih (Kelso); Mintih Craigs, Hoose (Minto Crags, House) ; Peinelheuch Moniment (Penielheugh Monument); Teiot (Teviot); Waeter o Ruile (Rule Water); Yill Waeter (Ale Water), and others.

It should be borne in mind that in most words where the spelling is identical with that of standard English the Hawick pronunciation is only an approximation of the standard English sound.

The foregoing and the other phonetic principles affecting and explaining the text, together with the meanings of the rarer words and phrases, are fully dealt with in "The Roxburghshire Word-Book," which includes in its bibliographical list of authorities "Mang Howes an Knowes" and "Braid Haaick," by the author of this narrative. For the sounds peculiar to or characteristic of the Hawick vernacular, the reader of the narrative is directed particularly to Sects.
10, 12, 24B, C, 25, 27C, 28D, 29c, 34, 37, 60, 62-73 of the Introduction to "The Roxburghshire Word-Book."

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Elliot Cowan Smith.