Pictured: Back and front covers of ‘The Mither Tongue’ by Billy Kay. 

The Mither Tongue, was described as one of the best 100 Scottish books ever written.  Now,  Newport-based author and Scots language expert Billy Kay has produced an audio version of his classic book.

We are delighted that Billy has recorded a special introduction to the book for Scots Radio. Link to the App ‘Audible’ for downloading the book: : https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Scots-The-Mither-Tongue-Audiobook/B09LXPTTFY


 Ower monie’s the lang year, fowk hae spierit at me whit wey I haenae gotten roond tae record a soond version o the quair I’m best kent best for – Scots The Mither Tongue?  Ma repone wis aye the same: “Kennin the wark that gaes intae recordin a seiven meinute script for the radio, I wis aye awaur o whit an undeemous darg it wad be tae dae a guid recordin o a book that’s mair nor eicht oor lang.“ Houaniver, like a wheen ither things, the muckle scunner o Covid chynged things – wi the lockdoon garin us aw bide langer in the hoose an finnin projecks  we cuid dae fae hame.  I thocht tae mysel “Noo’s the day an noo’s the oor“  an breenged intae pittin a hame studio thegither an stertin oot on the lang awaited projeck in Januar 2021.

It’s noo duin, an I‘m vauntie aboot recordin aw the braw Scots passages that gie the quair its virr an smeddum – fae the aureate scrievin o the medieval makars in the past tae the orra street wice vyces o the urban workin clesses the day, fae the kenspeckle figures o the vernacular revival, Ramsay, Burns an Fergusson, tae the skeely prose warks o Scott an Stevenson. The chapters on the dialecks o Scots shaws variations in the leid fae aw the airts whaur fowk hae a guid Scots tongue in their mooths, fae Shetland tae Ulster wi stravaigs in the Doric hairtlands an the kintrae that gied us the Border ballads. There’s humour galore as weel wi me recordin for posterity a story I got in the auld BBC biggin in Glesga lang syne, when a rammy atween twa cleaners there endit wi the puit doon, “Whit’ll you dae for a face when King Kong asks for his erse back?“  Fae the patter o Glesga tae the spik o the land, it’s aw there.

As a native Scots speaker fae Ayrshire wha studied the leid an its leiterature at Embro University, I hope I can bring this classic quair alive for a new audience. Wi the interest in Scots warld wide noo, the audio book will help full a tuim void in fowk ayont Scotland’s kennin o the leid, an hou it shuid be pronoonced. It will gie fowk a richer experience gin they hae the audio version an the text afore thaim as weel. Wha kens, mebbe it will stairt a Scots revival in a wheen fremmit airts discoverin the braw soonds o oor ain dear mither tongue  for the verra first time.