Brothers are last two to speak Cromarty fisher dialect

Adam   Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:20 am GMT
Brothers are last to speak dialect

By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent

A rare dialect that is only spoken by two elderly brothers is to be recorded for posterity before it disappears.

Bobby Hogg, 87, and his brother Gordon, 80, are believed to be the last fluent speakers of the "Cromarty fisher dialect".

It is said to be the most threatened dialect in Scotland and is to be recorded for an internet-based cultural archive.

It evolved when local fishermen in the town of Cromarty, on the Black Isle north of Inverness, picked up words from English soldiers based in the area in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The fishermen adopted formal words such as thee, thou and thine, but also mispronunciations, substituting "erring" for "herring" and "hears" for "ears".

Bobby Hogg said: "You hear the odd smattering of it in some of the things people from Cromarty say, but nobody speaks it fluently these days but for us two."

His wife Helen added: "My husband is fluent in the Cromarty fisher dialect. I understand it, but his brother is the only other person who can speak it."

A spokesman for Am Baile, a Highland internet archive, said it was important to capture a recording of the last two speakers.

Robin McColl Miller of Aberdeen University's English department said the Cromarty fisher dialect was the most threatened in Scotland, and one of five different dialects once found in the same small area.


Talking Cromarty

• Thee're no talkin' licht
You are quite right

• Ut aboot a wee suppie for me
Can I have a drink too?

• Thee nay'te big fiya sclaafert yet me boy
You are not too big for a slap, my boy

• Pit oot thy fire til I light mine
Please be quiet, and allow me to say something
Liz   Wed Feb 21, 2007 10:54 pm GMT
A rather interesting article, but it's just another "copy and paste" work from you, Adam. If you post an article taken word by word from anywhere else, the least you can do is to comment on it. It's just my opinion, though...
Damian in Edinburgh   Wed Feb 21, 2007 11:29 pm GMT
The accent of the Inverness air is really nice and soft, like it is in most of the Highlkands Region. The town of Cromarty (at the mouth of Cromarty Firth) is just up the coast on the way north from Inverness.

Here you will hear students from Inverness chatting, so it will give you an idea of the accent of this part of the Highland Region:
zzz   Thu Feb 22, 2007 1:09 am GMT
>> The fishermen adopted formal words such as thee, thou and thine <<

Rubbish. Thou/thee/thine was the *informal* 2nd person singular pronoun.

>> substituting "erring" for "herring" and "hears" for "ears". <<

Sounds like hypercorrection rather than "mispronunciation".

Looks like a fairly typical dialect in my opinion.
Lazar   Thu Feb 22, 2007 3:34 am GMT
<<Rubbish. Thou/thee/thine was the *informal* 2nd person singular pronoun.>>

I agree; there's nothing formal about "thou/thee/thine" in the dialects that preserve these forms.
Guest   Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:36 am GMT
<< >> The fishermen adopted formal words such as thee, thou and thine <<

Rubbish. Thou/thee/thine was the *informal* 2nd person singular pronoun.>>

It's implying, from the previous paragraph, that they adopted those words from the English soldiers mentioned, around the 17th or 18th century.