Sunday, November 4, 2012


I was listening to NPR on my morning drive, last month.  Yeah, that's the radio station that gives you the "real" news, but according to a certain billionaire running for president. . . has to go.!?!? There was a very interesting story about the passing of a dialect.In the tiny fishing village of Cromarty on the tip of Scotland's Black Isle, the last speaker of the local dialect has died. Bobby Hogg was 92 years old when he passed away, taking with him a language that had existed for some 600 years. (I wonder if he ended up talking to himself?) The dialect is believed to have arrived in the area with fishing families that moved there in the 15th and 16th centuries. The families were thought to be the descendants of Norse and Dutch fishermen. In this small area, there were at least 3 maybe 5 different dialects.They were all very distinct, Avoch, Fortrose and Cromarty fisher folk had their own dialects. Then there was the Cromarty town dialect and the farmers' dialect.

 While few people may mourn the demise of Cromarty dialect specifically, it’s another example of one language that dies every two weeks. Half of the globe’s 6,000-plus languages are expected to die off by the end of the century. 

 Fortunately, hundreds of words and phrases are documented.This one must have been very useful with the fishermen: "A'm fair sconfished wi hayreen; gie's fur brakwast lashins o am and heggs" – or "I'm so fed up with herring, give me plenty of ham and eggs for breakfast." That phrase survives in print, but it will likely never be spoken again, unless you serve me too much herring. "Bauchles" are old, ill-fitting shoes, which kind of sounds like an old, ill-fitting shoe.  They actually had a word for doing heavy work in wet weather - droog droogle, which kinda sounds like a wet, rainy day. 

I love this word droogle.  I think I could easily fit it into the English dialect.  I also liked another word: dooky--"a tidy". If someone says your "dooky", it means your attractive, hot, sexy,cool, or sweet. Yeah, I am dooky "f
oamin for want"--desperate for tea.
 Our words shape how we think and how we understand the world around us. Cromarty can't go back and it won't. It has been said the loss of each language or regional dialect leaves the world poorer than it was before. "The more diversity in terms of nature we have, the healthier we are. It's the same with language." Without diversity the world is a poorer place.

"It's one less little sparkle in the firmament. One little star might go out and you might never notice it, but it's not there anymore."

I will try to keep Cromarty dialect alive with a few choice words, like dooky, droogle, and foamin for want!!
 Now where did I leave my bauchles?

listen to the dialect here 


Cowgirl said...

Will there be a test on this?

If so, I will need to get 'foamin for want' or is it 'warmth'....

Is that Kevin?...precious, just precious.


susana said...

I came across your blog by pure chance when looking for more information on the ol' bob from cromarty :)

in the end I was reading about all your other adventures here and there and loved it! would like to simply say that. :)))