Life blooms and withers, making way for breath anew. And so it is in a far northern Scottish town on the tip of the country’s Black Isle, where a Scottish dialect once full of vigor has waned and vanished.
In the fishing village of Cromarty, 280 kilometres north of Edinburgh, the traditional North Northern Scots dialect was once uttered. The language consisted of thee’s and thou’s and was a proponent of dropping or adding the “h”.
Phrases such as “Oo thee keepan?” Was Cromarty’s version of “How are you?” And “Hiv thoo a roosky sazpence i thi pooch?” Was “can you lend me some money?”
The last known speaker of this scant dialect was ninety-two-year-old resident Bobby Hogg. Hogg had previously compiled a booklet of traditional words and phrases which became lost, along with the language, when he recently passed away.
Director of the Center for Nordic Studies at Scotland’s University of the Highlands and Islands, Donna Heddle, said the loss of a regional Scottish dialect leaves the world a little dimmer than it was before.
“It’s one less little sparkle in the firmament,” she said. “One little star might go out and you might never notice it, but it’s not there anymore.”
And so the world goes on.
As the haggis comes out of the pot, the fog rolls across the highland bay and wrinkles form on the once lavishly beautiful, the rural areas are deserted for the urban, and mass media pierces its virulent sword into the dying tongue of old.
Oh thou winds, how could thee cast thy fading idiom into the blackness, a blackness far more somber than the bleakest days set upon the Black Isle.
The Fox Gazette requests a minute’s silence from its readers in memory of the tongue of Cromarty.
Another once upon a time in the isles of Scotland…