Kenspekkil - Fowretie Scotch Spellin Clinks fur Bairns ti Fogies with English translation Forty Scots Spelling Rhymes for Children to Veterans bi Iain W. D. Forde, Fons Scotiae, Scotlandwell, 2013, 40pp., £10.99, p&p. £2.20

Iain Forde an his Fons Scotiae prent hes pitten us aa in his debt for his screivins in the mither tung: novelles lik The Paix Machine, owersettins o bairns' tales lik Taid o That Ilk an Traisur Insch, an nou a spell-beuk tae wyle the bairns intil the readin an screivin o Scots lik the yins thair grannies an grandas hed for thair lernin o English. The inleitin tae the wabsteid o Fons Scotiae sets furth wi: 'The purposs o Fons Scotiae is tae propale the ettils o Iain W. D. Forde tae uise the Scots Tung lik it aye bene the modren naitounal langage ? guid braid Scots … Furmal pross hes devaulit, an mote be restaurit'. An thare nae inlat gien tae fowk at's no as learit in the auld leid as Forde. He screives in whit ye cuid caa a micht-hae-been Scots: no the Scots o Allan Ramsay or Rabbie Burns, no e'en o Lewis Spence or Douglas Young, but whit the leid micht hae wan til the-day, gin prentin, the Reformation, the Uinion o the Crouns, the tinsal o our independence an the upbiggin o English in our scuils hed ne'er come tae pass: the Scots o a parallel uiniverse.

Can he warsle the Scotland we bide in intil this parallel uiniverse, laestweys regairdin the state o the leid? It wad be a muckle darg. Forde wadna be the first leid-scolar at bude tae teethe the fact at kittlesome tho it be tae bigg up the Scots tung as it wad be in siccan a warld, thon war a dauner byes wylin fowk tae uise it in the warld we hae. An houbeit, here he's makin the ettle. An auld-farrant spell-buik for bairns, wi rhymes an wee speils at thay can lern tae myn hou Scots is sounit an spelt: or hou it cuid be spelt.

'The braw broun cou / Hes a cauf ti loue / She gies it a kis wi hir mukkil mou'. That is the affset o the first rhyme, tae gar ye cleik the soun in 'cou, mou' wi the letters ou. But wha hes e'er seen the Scots wird for love screivit 'loue'; an whit wey is thare jist the ae s in 'kis'? I ken fine, acause I hae thocht an thraipit throu the argiements mony a time aforehaun, at Forde cuid gie ye guid an wechty raisons for thon spellins, an for mony anither fremmit-leukin spellin in the beuk. But he'll be strauchlin for mony a lang day o't afore he persuads ilka screivar in Scotland tae folla thaim. An thare a curnie at I dinna see the sense o mysel: gin he's gaun tae screive wattir, whit wey dochter an no dochtir; whit wey w'anes (maist fowk is content tae screive it weans); whit wey saxtene an no (conform tae Forde's ain rule) saxtein; whit wey kivvert but waashed an no waasht; daes onybody say bigger' the wey the spellin beiger wad gar ye trow (for certies, naebody maks it rhyme wi teiger)?

I maun avou, I haena muckle howp for this beuk, brawly presentit tho it be. The bairnrhymes is skeelie an divertin: weans wull tak tae thaim gin thay hear thaem read, or harken tae the CD at's inhauden wi the beuk. Thare a fouth o picturs tae haud thair attention forbye. But wull it persuad ony Scots screivar tae uise Forde's spellin seistem wi aa its kinches an ferlies, lat abee teach it tae thair bairns? I wadna lay ony wauger on't. But tae onybody at maks the ettle, bonnie speed tae ye. An Forde, I lout doun tae my knee afore your bauldness.

J. Derrick McClure