Bobby Hogg, 92 was the last speaker of a unique English dialect passed away last week, taking with him a unique fragment of the English language with him.Hogg, the last person fluent in a dialect once common to the remote fishing town of Cromarty, 175 miles north of Edinburgh.
A linguist at the University of Aberdeen laments the loss: “The more diversity we have in nature, the healthier we are. It’s the same with language. It’s part of a relentless trend toward standardization which drives regional culture dialects and local languages into oblivion”.
Most linguists agree that urbanization, compulsory education, and mass media, while making speech more accessible, also conspires to eliminate the unique cultural linguistic variants that make rural speech unique
Cromarty’s dialect included a lot of archaic ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ and a wealth of seafaring vocabulary, including three sets of words for “second fishing line”.
The aspirate ‘h” was either added or subtracted, so that ‘house’ would be pronounced ‘oos’ and ‘apple’ would be pronounced ‘haypel.’
A sample of Cromarty words from Hogg’s speech, includes “Oo thee keepan?” (“How are you?” and “Hiv thoo a roosky sazpence”i thi pooch? (Can you lend me some money?)’
Urban dialects tend to be more similar than rural ones, counterparts, with an emphasis on differences in pronunciation over differences in vocabulary. And even rival cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh ‘sound more like each other than they used to.’
Half the Earth’s population now lives in cities. while that makes the “Global Melting Pot” larger, it also causes lesser-known regional dialects to slowly evaporate.
According to UNESCO, languages are disappearing regularly. half of the globe’s 6,000-plus languages are expected to become extinct by the end of the 21st century,