View Full Version : Happy New Year & Auld Lang Syne


Terry Primos
01-01-2003, 01:46 AM
Happy New Year!

Every New Years Eve you'll hear folks bellowing out words that sound something like Old Ang Zine, but what the heck does that mean?

I decided to do some research and see what this is all about. The song Auld Lang Syne is an old Scottish tune. The reason it doesn't make any sense to most of us is that it appears to be riddled with Gaelic -- old Scottish dialect of the Celtic spoken in the Highlands of Scotland (the Highlanders) -- I think.

The first thing to do was find out what the blasted words to the song actually are, then find out what the Gaelic and various other words mean. It was time consuming but rather interesting. It's a song about drinking a toast to friendship and days gone by. There seem to be multiple versions. I chose the most common one.

Auld lang syne translates to old long since. That is roughly equivalent to saying days gone by, or the good old days.

Here's a breakdown on the first verse and chorus.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

Rough Translation
Should old friends be forgotten,
And never thought of?
Should old friends be forgotten,
And the good old days!

For the good old days, my dear,
For the good old days.
We'll take a drink and give a toast
To the good old days.

Here are some other words in the song that required translation:
twa = two
hae = have
jo = sweetheart
pint stowp = tankard ( three imperial pints )
braes = hills
pu'd the gowans = pulled the dandelions
fitt = foot
paidl'd i' the burn = paddled in the stream
friere = friend
gude-willie-waught = good willow draught ( a good strong drink )
braid = broad

And if you care to see the whole song and figure out what it means, here it is:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus.-For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne.
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o'kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fitt,
Sin' auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us braid hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.

And there's a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak a right gude willie waught,
For auld lang syne.

hammerdownnow
01-01-2003, 02:41 AM
Very interesting Terry, You deserve a right gude wille waught after all that work. These are the good old days!;)

Roger Gregory
01-01-2003, 03:58 AM
Nice work Terry, and Happy New Year to you :)

I think most of those 'odd' words are Scots, a (mostly Lowland)dialect of English, rather than Gaelic, but then I'm sure more than a few Gaelic words from North of the border have crept into daily usage in English.

Another example of Scots:
Scottish - Hinka cumfae cashore canfeh, Ahl hityi oar hied 'caw taughtie.
English - Do you think just because I come from Carronshore I cannot fight? I shall hit you over the head with a cold potato.

Robert Burns wrote poetry in Scots in order to preserve the culture and confuse the English :) Scots has now been recognised as a genuine dialect and you can even see road signs in Scots. There was some threat of it being spoken in the Scottish Parliament but as the Highlanders can't understand it........ :)

Roger

Don Cowles
01-01-2003, 10:35 AM
...and a bonnie new year to you all.