AN AUTHOR from New Cumnock is taking part in a worldwide attempt to translate a classic children’s story into as many languages as possible — by using the Mithir Tung o’ Rabbie Burns.

Dr Jimmy Begg had taken on the challenge, which will mark the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, written by Lewis Carroll in 1865, and involves a group of internationally renowned academics.

Since the first German and French versions of the tale were published in 1869, it has been translated into 48 different languages, including Maori, Swahili, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, Hungarian, Korean, Bengali, Esperanto, Thai, Hebrew, Hindi, and Urdu.

As part of the anniversary project, more will be added including 11 Scots languages, and three Gaelic, as well as some more obscure versions such as Tongan and Zulu.

Meanwhile, the 11 Scots regions’ dialects are Shetlandic, Orcadian, Caithness, North East — Doric, East Angus and Kincardine, West Lothian, East Lothian, Glasgow, Ayrshire and Lanarkshire Scots, Galloway, and The Borders.

Mr Begg was nominated by broadcaster Billy Kay, to take part in the project as someone suitably qualified to take on the Ayrshire/Lanarkshire version, using Burns-speak.

He won an award last year for his novel, The Man’s The Gowd For a’ That, written in Scots language and since adapted in East Ayrshire schools as part of the Scottish Literature curriculum for senior pupils.

Transforming an adventurous-spirited young Victorian girl Alice, from Oxford, into a wee Scots lassie called Alison presented a tremendous challenge which he has managed to negotiate, and have great fun while doing so.

Having already changed her name, he was amazed to find that Alison, a traditional Scots name, came from a medieval Norman version of Alice.

Speaking in the Mither Tung, he said: “Read by mithers, faithers, grannies, an grandpas, an teachers in primary schules, Alison cuid be a key tae the herts, an lowse the Scots tungs, o baith thaim, an oor bairns.

“For here’s Alison, a gallus, gleg wee lassie wi a guid Scots tung in her heid, that’s no feart frae a crabbit auld queen, nor a doitit duchess, nor crabs an cats an creepie-crawlies; an can staun her ain, wi the haverins an cantrips o a daft hatter, glaikit Mairch maukin, an dozent dormous — an aye gie as guid as she gets — a rare tare! Whit bairns cuid ask for mair?” Copies of the book now available from Waterstones of Ayr, Words of Wisdom in Cumnock, and from the author himself.