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An unusual request

21 January 2014

At the Black Country Living Museum it is common to get enquiries related to coal mining, cast iron and canals but at the end of October a peculiar request landed with our Assistant Curator, Helen Taylor.

Local woman, Sue Biggs had written ‘For the past few years we've hosted a Burns Night Supper for our family and each year my husband trips over the speech 'Address to a Haggis' and I thought it would be fun to change it to Black Country dialect’.

Thinking that someone must have already translated it, Assistant Curator Helen Taylor scoured the internet but to no avail. So to put her own dialect into use Helen started working on a translation from an English version of the poem online, starting by replacing Haggis with Faggot, writing yower instead or your. Helen also used published poems in the bugle to see how others authors had written in a Black Country dialect.

Helen sent the newly translated poem over to a very happy Sue Biggs, who started celebrating Burns night as an antidote to the post-Christmas blues and it really works!  Sue said "I am very grateful to Helen for taking so much trouble, it's absolutely great and I'm sure it will be a hit with everyone. I feel a bit of a fraud really as we have no Scottish ancestry but do like entertaining and really enjoy Burns night.  We all wear tartan, the menu is the traditional Cock-a-leekie Soup, Haggis neps & tatties, Cranachan, the bag pipes are piped in (albeit with the aid of an ipad!), the music is all Scottish and a fair bit of Scotch is imbibed! All in all it's a great night and long may it continue!’

Helen said "I hope other readers also enjoy the end product; and I would be interested to see if anyone would have translated it differently."

Black Country Burns Poem

English version of the Burns Poem

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