Small Glossary of Cromarty Dialect Phrases

I am fascinated with dialects and sounds – ever since I was assigned to replicate a Southern dialect in my acting class. My ears are really sensitive to hearing things like that, so in some ways this saddens me that another ‘language’ has died.

But it also makes you wonder how did he communicate with others? Did anyone else understand him?

In a remote fishing town on the tip of Scotland’s Black Isle, the last native speaker of the Cromarty dialect has died, taking with him another little piece of the English linguistic mosaic.

Scottish academics said Wednesday that Bobby Hogg, who passed away last week at age 92, was the last person fluent in the dialect once common in the seaside town of Cromarty, about 175 miles (280 kilometers) north of Scottish capital Edinburgh.

The Biblically-influenced speech — complete with “thee” and “thou” — is one of many fading dialects which have been snuffed out across the British Isles.

Across the world, regional languages and dialects have disappeared as rural populations move to urban areas and compulsory education and mass media combine to iron out the kinks in local speech.

Here are half a dozen Cromarty phrases, compiled by Am Baile, the Scottish Highland Council’s history and culture website.

Holl tol  / Very drunk

Foamin for want / Desperate for tea

At’s theer trouble? / What’s your trouble?

Theer nae tae big fi a sclaffert yet! / You’re not too big for a slap!

Ah wudna ken artil start. / I wouldn’t know where to start.

Hiv thoo a roosky sazpence i thi pooch? / Can you lend me some money?

A’m fair sconfished wi hayreen; gie’s fur brakwast lashins o am and heggs. / I’m so fed up with herring, give me plenty of ham and eggs for breakfast.

The Cromarty Fisherfolk Dialect: http://www.ambaile.org.uk/en/download/files/The%20Cromarty%20Fisherfolk%20Dialect.pdf  (AP))

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