Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lammies Bleat in Aw the Fanks: We Knew it All Along, Didn't We?

I've still been dithering around over the word "fank," although I've been sidetracked a few times. Here is the final word, the real definition, quoted from the Dictionary of the Scots Language, a project based at the University of Dundee.
FANK, n.2, v.2     I. n. 1. A sheepfold, a walled or fenced pen for sheep. Orig. Highland but now fairly Gen.Sc. 
    *Slg. 1812 P. Graham Agric. Stirling 293: 
In the vicinity of the farmer’s dwelling there is a pen, here called a fank, erected of stone and turf. 
    *Sc. 1849 Session Cases (1848–49) 535: 
Macfarlane had been employed at his sheep fank all day
    *Uls. 1907 Enquiry into the state of Rathlin Islanders II.: 
    During the summer they have to be herded on the hillocks and knowes among the cultivated plots during the day, and kept in walled-in enclosures, called, locally, fanks, at night. 
    *Abd. 1926 L. Coutts Lyrics 54: 
Lammies bleat in aw the fanks
    *w.Sc. 1949 Scots Mag. (Sept.) 463: 
    Sometimes the fank is substantially built with high stone dykes around its pens and runways, and many ingeniously contrived wicket-gates for “shedding” the sheep into various pens, according to their class and age. 
    2. A sheep-shearing at a fank. Hence fank-day (Sc. 1911 S.D.D.). 
    *Sc. 1875 W. A. Smith Lewsiana 157: 
News has come to the cottage this morning that the people are gathering for the Carloway fank. 
    3. A small cattle-fair, held at a fank. 
    *Arg. 1845 Stat. Acc.2 VII. 162: 
    Formerly there were several small fairs, called Fanks in the parish [Ardnamurchan], which the principal cattle dealers never attended. 
    II. v. To drive into a sheep-fold (Per., Slg. 1825 Jam.). Gen.Sc. 
    [Gael., Ir. fang, a sheep-pen.] 

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