Thursday, 14 January 2010


Pictured above is an excerpt from the dialect poem 'The New Year's Ba' of Auchty-Twa' (By the way, should I have put an apostrophe at the end of Ba? Apparently it is not necessary if you view Orcadian as a stand-alone dialect rather than an incorrect form of English. For example, Kirkwall was originally 'Kirkwa' as derived from Kirkjuvagr, but it was thought by English cartographers that this was an Orcadian way of saying Kirkwall!)

These verses appeared in the Orcadian and are sung to the tune of 'Bailie Nicol Jarvis' Dream.'

The words paint a very potent picture of the character of the ba'. I particularly like the lines:

'And faces hashed,
And noses bashed,
And legs were smashed,
And windows crashed,
And wa's were knockit doon man!'

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