ENGLISCH/744: Questions to Mrs. Gobbledygook (120) Tartan Tammy" (SB)


120. A wee bit of Scots

Dear Mrs Gobbledygook

When I read a book situated in Scotland some kind of "tartan tammy" was mentioned which the hero was wearing on a Gathering. I could find out what is meant by this and on which part of the body you are supposed to wear it. Can you help?

Malin Olofsson (Stugun, Sweden)


Dear Mrs Olofsson

A Tartan is a pattern or design of interlocking lines and squares of different colours and widths, that cross each other at an angle of 90°, used especially on cloth which has made Scotland world-famous. In the old times every Scottish clan, a particular group of families were connected to a certain pattern or tartan (For example: the MacLeod tartan). Therefore a tartan cloth is a piece of woolen material woven in this special pattern.

And a "tammy" (or Tam-o-shanter) is a nice round hat, resembling a beret. It is made of a piece of tartan cloth with a small ball made of wool in the centre on top. Originally worn in Scotland together with kilt (a skirt made of tartan cloth that reaches to the knees and is traditionally worn by Scottish men), plaid (a type of thick tartan cloth worn over the shoulders by Scottish men) and sporran (a flat bag, usually made of leather or fur that is worn also by men in front of the kilt) which are all parts of the Scottish national dress. The tartan tammy can also be worn by women these days as well as the kilt or plaid skirt. And these are very fashionable just now.

Mrs Gobbledygook

16 August 2007