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November 19, 2003

What is a sassenach?

I was writing an email yesterday and used the word sassenach. My six year old popped up at my elbow and pointed at the word and said: "What is a sassenach?" Oh boy. How do you condense history into something that can be explained to a six year old. How do you explain the to and fro of Scot vs English?

Well, one thing you can do is turn to Google and then you might find this site which has a perfect explanation including the timeless quote:

Can ye tell a Sassenach? O course, ye can always tell a Sassenach - but ye canna tell em mickle!

Then there is the lovely closing paragraph:

Other folk have strange was ospeech - Whah, Ah do declayun, thas so kand o yall! or ye might hear somwhat like Wotcher, guv! Tyke a butchers at me gel there. Aynt she sumpn? So ocoorse, mony Sassenach hae trooble wi the wa guid Scots speak. I ken a lassie nicht sae lang syne wha asked me aboot my accent. She went aroond tae and frae, prating tha she couldna mak oot my woorrds! Och, bairn, ilka Sassenach maun no ken Anglic verra mickle!

[Ed: The last sentence reads something like: Oh, my son, it seems that the English Sassenach doesn't understand English very well!].

Posted by Peskie at November 19, 2003 12:00 PM


I frighten myself sometimes. I understood that whole thing. The only word I had a problem with was 'ilka'.

Posted by: Kathy K at December 2, 2003 09:12 AM

I had a similar problem. The words made no sense until I read them out loud and then I knew what it was saying. I wonder if the 'ilka' is correct or just a mis-spelling. I can even here the "English" accent in the "take a look at my girl". I wonder if it comes from listening to Andy Stewart making fun of all the accents in his reading of "The Rumour".

Posted by: ozguru at December 2, 2003 09:12 AM

Letter of the day, M
M is for maleficent, malevolent, malicious, malignant Monday M is for misfortune, miasma, miserable moment M is for marvelous, magnanimous mechanism M is for mischief, malpractice, maltreatment, misconduct, mishandling, muckraking M is for mercurial, m...

Posted by: Technically Speaking at December 2, 2003 09:12 AM