Auld Lang Syne
“Auld Lang Syne” is a song we all usually sing on New Year's Eve to welcome in the New Year. In China it is known as “You Yi Di Jiu Tian Chang" or "Friendship Forever".
However most people only know a few words of it because the lyrics were written by the Scottish poet Robbie Burns and are quite difficult to those of us who are not Scots.
Robert Burns is Scotland's best loved poet and Scots around the world celebrate January 25th as “Burn's Night”, the day of his birth in 1759. They wear kilts, eat haggis and play the bagpipes. A kilt is traditional Scottish dress, haggis is a dish made from a sheep's stomach stuffed with meat and herbs and bagpipes are a musical instrument.
“Auld Lang Syne” translates as “long long ago” or “days gone by” and on “Burn’s Night” everyone sings it. You may not be able to sing the whole thing but if you can just sing the first verse and the chorus I am sure you will find a welcome amongst Scottish people wherever you go.
If you do sing along you might well be offered “a wee dram” of Scotland’s national drink; whisky. The Scots spell “whisky” without an “e” whilst the Irish and Americans spell it as “whiskey” with an “e.” The word itself originates from Ireland and means “water of life”
“A wee dram” is a small shot or a small measure of a drink. Wee meaning small is often used in English.
“I am feeling a wee bit tired, could we stop for a rest”
If you go to Scotland you will be impressed by the beautiful scenery and the many famous lakes including Lake Ness and its famous monster. Except, of course, it isn’t called Lake Ness but Loch Ness, as loch is the Scottish word for lake.
Johnny Grammar is English Online's resident grammar teacher. Johnny loves to tackle your worst grammar nightmares and provide you with simple explanations.
Johnny's blog: Johnny talks about interesting words and expressions in English that he comes across in his daily life.