Cromarty East Church. SRCT.

In memory of Bobby Hogg, Cromarty's last speaker of Fishertown dialect

12 October 2012

Bobby Hogg, photo by Peter Jolly, BBC newsBobby Hogg, Cromarty's last speaker of the Fishertown dialect has died at the age of 92. His funeral took place at the East Church, with more than 200 mourners in attendance.

Cromarty-based journalist, David Ross, wrote of his death in the Glasgow Herald.

In his article David described Bobby:

'. . . the Hoggs were from the fishing community. "Our folk have been fishermen all the way back to Galilee," he was fond of saying.

Their forbears were mentioned in the public annals of Cromarty as early as the 16th century. In the 1861 census there were no fewer than 96 living in Cromarty and its environs, and there are still some today.

In 2007, The Herald interviewed Bobby Hogg when he and Gordon were about to be recorded by Am Baile, the Highland Council-funded project which has created a digital archive of the history and culture of the Scottish Highlands and Islands.

He said: "Our father was a fisherman and all his folk had been fishermen stretching way back. It was the same on our mother's side, too.

"When we were young we talked differently in the fishertown to the rest of Cromarty. It wasn't written down. It was an oral culture. We had this sort of patois, which I think had both Doric and Gaelic in it.

"There were words, a lot to do with the fishing, which nobody else could understand.

"But there were a lot of other differences in the way we spoke. We would always say thee and thine. The older ones were very biblical in their speech and would always be saying things like 'O Blessed Jesus' or 'O Holy one of Israel'. It wasn't blasphemy. It was just the way they spoke.

"When we went out in the morning we were always told to 'Put the Lord Afore you'. And you would never hear the fisherfolk swear."

You can download audio recordings of Bobby and his brother talking about the dialect and reminiscing from the Am Baile website, which also has a PDF of a booklet Am Baile produced with them about the dialect.


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