"Auld Lang Syne”

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opjeshke

Senior Member
Albanian
I have a phase in a book, a character refers as Scottish brogue:

Och aye the noo, lassie, “Auld Lang Syne”

Would you help me with the English version of the phrase? I found out that "Och aye the noo" is kind of, "oh yeah, immediately", but I cannot find the rest. There is no more context, is just a funny example.

Reference:
Girl online going solo
Zoe Sugg
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    From Wikipedia: Scotticism:

    Perhaps the most common covert Scotticism is the use of wee (meaning small or unimportant) as in "I'll just have a wee drink...". This adjective is used frequently in speech at all levels of society.

    An archetypal example of an overt Scotticism is "Och aye the noo", which translates as "Oh yes, just now". This phrase is often used in parody by non-Scots and although the phrases "Och aye" and "the noo" are in common use by Scots separately, they are rarely used together.


    A wee bit more on that link. :)
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    The Scots expression “auld Lang syne” translates into English as “a very long time ago”. But note that the combination of these two well known Scots expressions is not intended to make sense as a whole: it rather indicates that the speaker has extremely limited capacities in Scots and is simply stringing together all the expressions he knows.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    The phrase "auld lang syne" is well known to most native English speakers because it is the title of a poem by Robert Burns, commonly sung on New Year's Eve. Those are the only three words of Scots in the parts of the poem that are usually sung (just two Scots words if one spells "auld" as "old") so many English speakers will be familiar with them even if they know no other Scots words and have never been near Scotland.

    A Scot asking for a small drink will usually ask for "a wee dram."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    A Scot asking for a small drink will usually ask for "a wee dram."
    Why do you think that understatement actually means he wants a small whisky?

    Those are the only three words of Scots in the parts of the poem that are usually sung
    That depends on who is singing and where:

    And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
    And gie's a hand o' thine!
    And we'll tak a right guid willy waught,
    For auld lang syne.

    I didn't learn that at my mother's knee, but I did learn it as a lad at many a Scottish party.
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Why do you think that understatement actually means he wants a small whisky? ...
    The typical serving of whisky in Scotland is smaller than in many other parts of the world. Most pubs offer a choice between 25cl (a bit under one ounce) and 35 cl (a bit over). By other places' standards, these are wee servings. Good Scotch whisky is to be savored, not gulped - and what pub in Scotland would admit to serving any other kind?

    That depends on who is singing and where:

    And there's a hand, my trusty fiere!
    And gie's a hand o' thine!
    And we'll tak a right guid willy waught,
    For auld lang syne.

    I didn't learn that at my mother's knee, but I did learn it as a lad at many a Scottish party.
    I should have specified that I was referring to the part that is usually sung on New Year's Eve in the U.S. I can easily believe that Scots at a party would sing more of it and would not need a translation. I've been to some parties in Scotland, but apparently to the wrong ones!
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Egmont, I do know what the British specified quantities for the sale of spirits are. I have been drinking Scottish malt whisky for at least 40 years and I am slowly savouring my way through my collection of about 20 varieties. My point is that the expression "a wee dram" does not mean that the drinker wants a small measure of whisky, it just means that he wants a whisky. It's use is not restricted to drinking in pubs, and I doubt anybody using the expression cares in the slightest what is considered a normal-sized drink in any other part of the world. It is similar to the expression south of the Border "oh, just a little one, then".
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    I entirely agree with Andygc - this expression is most often used by speakers who in fact intend to have a large whisky.

    But I also have to correct Egmont on spirit measures - whilst modern metric measures require pubs to sell either 25ml or 35ml measures, the standard measure in Scotland used to be 1/5 gill (28ml) whereas the standard measure in England was 1/6 gill (23ml). The main point of reference for Scots being England, Scots were therefore used to larger measures in pubs.
     

    William Chang

    New Member
    Chinese
    May I add another perspective? The following Tang poem is perhaps the most famous "parting song" ever. (And the most debated as well, over "sung thrice.") The oldest extant musical tablature only dates to about 1500, and in any case (like Medieval musical notation) does not indicate length of the notes. I set the words (bilingually) to Auld Lang Syne based on shared meaning and pathos, then discovered that the old music starts the poem with nearly the same line of six notes!

    Bright Passage Sung Thrice (Yuan's Send-off to Fort West ) Wang Wei (Tang)
    (gesture different toasts! sing to We'll tak' a cup ...for Auld Lang Syne ) c.756 (age 56)
    Way City, morning sprinkle wets down a veil of earth
    Inns' tiles blue over blue, willow trees colored anew
    Be good Sir, have downed one further drink, pray —
    Emerge Life's Bright Pass west — ol' friend be missed

    (trans. William Chang)

    p.s. I'm studying the origins of many figurative expressions (e.g. look back, leave one's mark), in comparison with the Chinese equivalent. The OED says figurative "look back" first-use Shakespeare 1599, but I haven't been able to ascertain first recorded use of figurative "leave one's mark." Anyone interested in surprising lyrical/linguistic parallels please contact me.
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I haven't been able to ascertain first recorded use of figurative "leave one's mark."
    It is surprisingly recent:
    OED:
    Mark (n.) 22. to make a (also one's) mark: to make a permanent, important, or obvious impression on a person, field of study, activity, etc.; to attain distinction. Similarly to leave a (also one's) mark(s).
    1820 J. E. Roscoe Poems 40 So, on my soul, do sorrow and dismay, and tracks of earthly suffering leave their mark.

    However, it goes back much further in its literal meaning of
    13. a. A written character or symbol (e.g. an asterisk, question mark, etc.) other than a letter, digit, or point in ordinary punctuation.
    OE Byrhtferð Enchiridion (Ashm.) (1995) iii. iii. 172 Ic hæbbe gesett ane mearke beforan þam rædingum, and þa ic wylle her amearkian, þæt se rædere hig mage þe raðor gemetan.
    a1387 J. Trevisa tr. R. Higden Polychron. (St. John's Cambr.) (1872) IV. 37 What the Hebrewes hadde more þan þe seventy þey marked..wiþ markes [?a1475 tr. R. Higden Polychron. signes; L. signis] þat hatte astarisces.

    which became (or was also)
    b.
    A written character, usually a cross, made in place of a signature by a person unable to write. Frequently with possessive adjective.
    OE Rule St. Benet (Tiber.) (1888) lviii. 98 Aut certe si non scit litteras, alter ab eo rogatus scribat; et ille novitius signum faciat : oððe soðes gif he na can stafas, oðer fram him gebeden write & se nicumena mearce do.
    1434 in F. J. Furnivall Fifty Earliest Eng. Wills (1882) 102 (MED) Y pray yowe loki thys marke and thys Seell, acorde as y Roger wyl answere afore god.
     

    William Chang

    New Member
    Chinese
    Thank you PualQ. I did squint through my Compact OED but (literally) couldn't trust my eyes. I could have sworn Shakespeare or another Elizabethan had used make/leave their mark figuratively but apparently not (so simple). Web search turned up more explanations and connections than the OED but no specific, dated source. Anyway, here's Li Bai's use of liuqiming (end of line 4)

    Bells drum jades silk a fool to hold so dear
    Mere wish long stupor never needs awake
    All sainted, noblest ever dead and gone
    Just drinkers leave their very mark go on!

    <Quotation shortened. Nat, Moderator>
    (blank verse trans. William Chang)

    p.s. My musical great-find turned into fool's gold; the now-popular Auld Lang Syne tune was not the old melody Burns had heard with the words, but a common dance tune substituted to increase sales.
     
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