Resources - Words


In his Scots story, Tam, Liam Cunningham from Bellshill Academy in North Lanarkshire retells the tale of Tam o Shanter, the famous poem by Robert Burns.

Liam heard about the poem from his teacher and read a modern play version of the poem in a book called Tam o Shanter’s Big Night Oot. He also watched a number of videos online about Robert Burns’ epic Scots poem.

Using words and phrases from his own rich Lanarkshire Scots, Liam takes reader through the action of the poem. Liam chose to write in the first-person singular. His story Tam could also be described as a monologue.

It was a good choice because writing a monologue in Scots gives you as a writer a lot of freedom. You can stick to telling your story but you can also bring in your character’s feeling and drop in wee extra details to make the writing more interesting and spice up the story.

Liam retold the original poem Tam o Shanter in his own way.

Which original poem or story will you retell in your own Scots words?

Read Tam by Liam Cunningham here:


Right lads, here's a story fir yeez.

A wiz it the pub. Lang night...seemed short tho. A wiz hain a guid time till the daft barmaid shouted, "It is aw, yeez will hiv tae git back tae yir wimmin." Aw ae ma auld pals n me moaned. So I go oot the pub, git oan ma horse n away a went.
A goat the biggest fright ae ma life. A wiz hinkin thit a wiz goin tae git ma heid tain clean aff wae ma wife. A wiz really gutted thit a wiz goan back tae ma wife, it wiz as if a wiz pure terrified ae ir, almost like a wiz in an abusive relationship the wiy thit a wiz hinkin.

Oan thi wiy hame a took a short cut n a saw an auld kirk n it wiz glowin.

It hid a dodgy back groond noise as if there wiz a perty goin oan. A widnaeive went oure tae it bit a wiz interested so a went oure n looked through the windae n saw hunners ae auld witches thit hid aw the same hackit faces bit is a scanned wae ma blurry eyes a saw wan thit looked fit.

A looked roon n a saw a deil playin a fluit-bagpipe hing. As I wiz gazin it the young witch ma drunkenness shouted oot "Weel done, Cutty Sark." The music stoaped deid n thi aw looked roon it mi. I jamp back oan ma horse assuming thit a disrupted their dance. Thi aw ran aiftir me n ma horse. They were rapid bit no is rapid is ma horse.

The young wan wiz the fastest probably because ir legs wirnae aw rusted like aw the auld wans. So when I wiz goin through the wids a could hear runnin watter so a thought that if a jamp oure the brig thit the witches couldnae git mi because they canny go across runnin watter so a gave it a go n a jamp oure the stane brig n the young witch grabbed ma horse's tail n took the hing clean aff but wi made it n a wiz oan ma wiy hame.

When a goat hame ma wife wiz stonnin in front ae the door.

A goat aff ma horse n a went oure tae her tae say sorry fir bein late n give ir a kiss oan the cheek. Bit she jist slapped mi in the face n said "Git in." A tried tae tell ir the story but she jist said go tae bed n sober up then a'll talk tae yi."