Scottish word of the week: Sprunt – The Scotsman.
SPRUNT is a Victorian-era Scots word that originates from the Roxburgh region. Much as the Cromarty dialect is rich with nouns and verbs of the region’s historic fishing, so the Scottish Borders’ own dialects are redolent of the area’s farming communities.
The extinction of spurt is sad in itself, but it’s an increasingly familiar story of the pace of language. Just as “texting” and “selfies” offer a glimpse into how a technologically savvy Scotland now speaks, “sprunt” takes us back to a much simpler time.
So what does it mean? Basically: boys chasing girls around haystacks after dark. Possibly a portmanteau of “sprint” and “hunt” – such as these escapades may have felt for all involved – it not only reads like an activity straight out of a Boy’s Own manual, but it also suggests that it was done so often that “chasing the girls around the haystack” didn’t really cut it for a quick description.
You do wonder what the girls would’ve called it, though.
So, they’ve finally cracked it. Bletchley Park, the Second World War code-breaking site in Buckinghamshire, celebrates the completion of its one-year, £8 million Heritage Lottery-funded restoration project today with a visit from the Duchess of Cambridge.
You would never guess – well of course you wouldn’t – as you cross the main road from Bletchley railway station and pass a new housing development, that this small country estate housed thousands of wartime staff and the brains that broke, among many other things, the Enigma codes. Nobody knew about it until the first book about Bletchley came out in the Seventies. Nobody visited until a band of doughty local historians fought its demolition and opened it in 1994 (10 people turned up).