Welcome to Halfman, Halfbook for my stop on the Blog Tour for Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers by Robin A. Crawford and published by Elliott and Thompson.

About the Book

The evocative vocabulary, wit and wisdom of the Scots language – from Robert Burns to Twitter.

Scottish writer and bookseller, Robin Crawford, has gathered 1,000 Scots words – old and new, classical and colloquial, rural and urban – in a joyful celebration of their continuing usage. His amusing, erudite definitions put each of these words in context, revealing their evocative origins and essential character. Delightful line drawings by Scottish printmaker Liz Myhill contribute to this treasury of linguistic gems for language lovers everywhere.

The Scots language is intricately bound up in the nation’s history, identity, land and culture. It is also a living and vital vernacular, used daily. With references to Robert Burns mingling with contemporary examples from Billy Connolly and even Monty Python, Cauld Blasts and Clishmaclavers revels in the richness of one of our oldest languages, and acts as a precious
reminder of words that are also beginning to fade away, their meaning and value disappearing.

About the Author

Born in Glasgow, writer and Scottish bookseller Robin A. Crawford has a particular interest in the culture and natural heritage of his native land. He is the critically acclaimed author of Into The Peatlands: A Journey Through the Moorland Year, longlisted for the Highland Book Prize 2019. He lives in Fife, Scotland, with his wife.

My Review

I have always loved the country and have visited a number of times including one glorious holiday alongside Loch Goil just where it opens out to Loch Long. Thankfully, the time we were there we weren’t inundated with the dreaded midges. Whilst I have Scottish blood from my grandfather swilling around somewhere within, I must admit I am not that fond of haggis. Whisky, however… I have almost always been able to understand the accent, bar one case where it was so broad that I did struggle a bit.

As well as the beautiful Gallic language that is spoken by some in Scotland they have their own patois and dialect that is distinctively different from the regular English language. Robin A Crawford has collected 1000 of these words from all walks of life and from the modern-day and rummaging through their linguist history for the words that remain in use after hundreds of years.

So if you want to know what a deil’s darning needle or a tourist eagle is, of how you are feeling when you’re forefochen or if you have runkled or fankled something is a good place to start. The range of subjects covered by the words is fascinating, know the difference between an oxter and pintil will save many a red face later on. There are words that most will be familiar with, i.e. neaps, the Tartan Arm and a Glaswegian kiss are pretty much mainstream across the country now.

With each word is a short definition and often an example of usage, very helpful for some of the more obscure ones such as doech-an-doris, lea-rig and stooshie. I thought that this was a delightful collection of words that Crawford has brought together, into this book. I really enjoy learning all things about language and have read a large number of books on the subject. Crawford has properly researched this book but still made this readable and occasionally funny. If you are a bit of an etymologicon then this is for you.

Don’t forget to visit the other blogs on the blog tour

Buy this at your local independent bookshop. If you’re not sure where your nearest is then you can find one here

My thanks to Alison Menzies for the copy of the book to read.

Spread the love