Posted by: Tom Triumph | January 3, 2010

70. Auld Lang Syne: Robert Burns

Ah, New Year’s drags out Robert Burns and “Auld Lang Syne”. And here it is again!

First, I have included here the original Scottish version, as written by Burns. Second, there is the Scottish pronunciation guide below. Finally, you will see the version in the International Phonetic Alphabet. All of these and more are on the Wikipedia page.

Why? Well, the kids have heard the song and might feel that connection. Knowing the poem (and its meaning) gives them a leg up next year as they school their parents and friends in knowing something no one else does. This is a good poem to throw some history in, too. The more trivia they have, the better middle schoolers tend to feel.

It is also fun to do a read-aloud. Getting that accent down is fun, and listening to them try to out-Scot each other is a regular hoot. When you show them the Scottish pronunciation guide they can check themselves.

All of this leads to learning phonetic symbols, which can be informative and esoteric at the same time. Again, trivia seems to draw this age in.

You can also sing the song, too. That will produce a lot of foot shuffling and mumbling, which can lead to a great conversation about presentation and our fears of public speaking.

All of which leads up to Burns’ Night on January 25th (his birthday). This is a celebration among the Scots for their great poet, where people drink and eat haggis and read Burns aloud. Instead of scotch, you might want to use ginger ale (nettle beer, a traditional Scottish recipe, is similar to ginger ale but not easy to find) and shortbread cookies. I have made haggis in a crock pot before (no sheep’s stomach required). Some kids made kilts, and we basically had a poetry slam without the slam, but with the spirit and panache and snacks. They read Burns’ poems, in their own way (we had a cheerleader version a few years ago), and enjoy the loud revelry.

Of course, you can do many things leading up to a Burns’ Night, from public speaking to poetry analysis to cultural history. It is a great culminating event, and Dover books offers a cheap text that you can buy a class set of for about fifty bucks.

So, raise a glass as we return to the classroom and gear up for the 25th.

Oh, and “auld lang syne” literally translates to “old long since”, which means long, long ago or days gone by. FYI. Someone will ask.

Auld Lang Syne
(Original Scots Version)
Robert Burns

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 jo,
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.

CHORUS

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary foot,
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin auld lang syne.

CHORUS

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
and gie’s a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught,
for auld lang syne.

CHORUS

Scottish Pronunciation (or, how a Scot would read the poem)

Shid ald akwentans bee firgot,
an nivir brocht ti mynd?
Shid ald akwentans bee firgot,
an ald lang syn?

CHORUS:
Fir ald lang syn, ma jo,
fir ald lang syn,
wil tak a cup o kyndnes yet,
fir ald lang syn.

An sheerly yil bee yur pynt-staup!
an sheerly al bee myn!
An will tak a cup o kyndnes yet,
fir ald lang syn.

CHORUS

We twa hay rin aboot the braes,
an pood the gowans fyn;
Bit weev wandert monae a weery fet,
sin ald lang syn.

CHORUS

We twa hay pedilt in the burn,
fray mornin sun til dyn;
But seas between us bred hay roard
sin ald lang syn.

CHORUS

An thers a han, my trustee feer!
an gees a han o thyn!
And we’ll tak a richt gude-willie-waucht,
fir ald lang syn.

CHORUS

International Phonetic Alphabet Version

ʃɪd o̜ːld ə.kwɛn.təns bi fəɾ.ɡot,
ən nɪ.vəɾ brɔxt tɪ məin ?
ʃɪd o̜ːld ə.kwɛn.təns bi fəɾ.ɡot,
ən o̜ːl lɑŋ səin ?

CHORUS:
fəɾ o̜ːl lɑŋ səin, mɑ diːɾ,
fəɾ o̜ːl lɑŋ səin,
wiːl tɑk ə kʌp ə kəin.nəs jɛt,
fəɾ o̜ːl lɑŋ səin.

ən ʃeːr.li jiːl bi juːɾ pəin.stʌup !
ən ʃeːr.li ɑːl bi məin !
ən wiːl tɑk ə kʌp ə kəin.nəs jɛt,
fəɾ o̜ːl lɑŋ səin.

CHORUS

wi two̜̜ː heː rɪn ə.but ðə breːz,
ən puːd ðə ɡʌu.ənz fəin ;
bʌt wiːv wɑn.əɾt mʌ.ne ə wiːɾɪ fɪt,
sɪn o̜ːl laŋ səin.

CHORUS

wi two̜̜ː heː pe.dlt ɪn ðə bʌɾn,
freː moːɾ.nɪn sɪn tɪl dəin ;
bʌt siːz ə.twin ʌs bred heː roːrd
sɪn o̜lː laŋ səin.

CHORUS

ən ðeːrz ə ho̜ːn, mɑ trʌs.tɪ fiːɾ !
ən ɡiːz ə ho̜ːn ə ðəin !
ən wiːl tak ə rɪxt ɡɪd wʌ.lɪ wo̜ːxt,
fəɾ o̜lː laŋ səin.

CHORUS

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