Known for her passion for the Scots language, Lennie Pennie has now joined The Herald as our newest columnist. 

Her "Scots word of the day" and poem videos saw her reach tens of thousands of people north of the border each day. 

With her love of Scotland and language, she will bring a fresh voice to the Herald. Now, she has given readers an insight into who she is, as well as sharing a taste of poetry talents. 


Tell us about your motivation behind the daily Scots Word of the Day series and how it started.

  • My motivation for starting the Scots Word of the Day was that I wanted to make learning Scots words as accessible as possible. I've always loved languages but I frequently found it quite difficult to learn and apply new vocabulary purely through studying textbooks, so I wanted to provide a free and easily accessible resource for people to refer to. I also really just wanted to bring some fun to Scots, and hopefully educate people about my favourite words.

What inspired your love of the Scots language?

  • I've always really liked the Scots language, and I certainly heard a lot of it growing up. I was brought up in a house with my parents and grandparents, and they raised me using a lot of Scots. Once I started learning other languages, and learning more about the academic side of communication, I really began to see Scots in a new light.

What does joining the Herald as a columnist mean to you?

  • It means I get to reach a wider, more diverse audience than I would on social media, not to mention I can write longer-form pieces. It’s quite hard to express yourself fully within 280 characters. I always wanted to be a writer and I’m excited for this new challenge.

What are your main sources of inspiration for your poetry?

  • I like to use my poetry to help me cope with my mental illness and to help shed light on important causes. I use the Scots language a lot in my work because it helps me to express myself in the way that feels the most natural.

What have been your favourite experiences/opportunities since launching ‘Scots Word of the Day’?

  • I enjoy having the chance to help charities that are close to my heart, such as Women’s Aid. I see the platform that the Scots Word of the Day has helped me to acquire as both a responsibility and an opportunity to effect positive change.

What’s your favourite part of Scotland?

  • I’m going to err on the side of diplomacy and say my flat. It has my stuff in it.

What are you going to be writing about for The Herald?

  • I’m going to discuss and bring awareness to a wide range of topics that I am passionate about, including the Scots Language, domestic abuse survival, mental health, and human rights.

A poem by Lennie Pennie: 

Little Girls


The little girl stands on a knife-coloured ledge

Dancing till blood starts to drip from its edge

She's been licking her wounds since the first time she bled

Getting judged for each act she commits in her head

Starving herself since she started to eat

Connecting the dots of her hearts every beat

Running from wolves that deny they're a threat

Swimming from fishermen hiding their net

And the men chime in silence girl don't make a fuss

I'd never do this so it's not all of us.

To drown out her sorrow, the male chorus sings

It's only a few, you're imagining things

You're making this issue much more big than it is

It was only a comment, a gesture, a kiss

It was meant as a compliment please take a joke

Don't bite the hand groping you, savour each poke

And the girl learns the axis on which the world spins

Is powered by people who relish their sins


So she keeps her head down and she learns how to live

To be quiet and never take more than they give

Cause the fragile knife edge she must constantly walk

Dictates every word she's permitted to talk,

Each mouthful is measured, each glance not to sly

Lest she melt her wings just from touching the sky

And she'd love to exist as the person she knows

Lives inside of her mind but her agony grows


As she slowly but surely resigns herself to

Being smaller and using far less than they do

Being meeker and not taking up far too much space

Being careful to always remember her place

But the little girl vows that this curse will be broken

She'll break down the barriers, leave them wide open

For the daughters of little girls you wouldn't hear

For the children of women you silenced with fear

For our mothers we'll sing till the screams rip the air


We are the little girls you couldn't scare.