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§ 142. As we move inwards from the Bnff. coast we gradually enter the mn.Sc.(b) area, including U.Bnff., Mry. and Nairn. It differs from Abd. speech (1) in the O.E. n series (see § 32.4), which has [e] instead of [i] --- e.g. stane, bane, ane, aince; (2) in the O.E. (Rom. u) series (see § 35.4)- --- e.g. ford, moor, poor, which have oo and yoo [u:, ju:] instead of ee, written sometimes f(y)oord, myoor, pyoor, but more commonly fuird, muir, puir 1; (3) in the series , a, open e (see § 18) which have more regularly [e] in this district than mn.Sc.(a).
§ 143. In Sir John Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland (1793), VIII., p. 396, a contributor gives a good description of the Scottish dialect of Duffus, a parish in the Laich o' Moray, close to the town of Elgin. The writer speaks of the ``narrow'' a sound in words like (1) law, draw --- i.e. [la:, dra:] against the southern [l: dr:]: Agust for August and al for all [al for l]; (2) also the ``narrow'' o in close, road, rode, note, no, choke, post, pronounced closs, rod, not, no, chock, post --- i.e.  was used instead of [o]; (3) ee sound in moon, spoon, fruit, yule, use (n.) --- viz. meen, speen, freet, yeel, eese; (4) the peculiar sound of i in pit, fit, pick, etc., something, he says, nearer to e in Eng. pet, peck ; (5) the use of f for wh in fat = what, etc. These are all characteristic of mn. and nn.Sc. at the present time. In addition he mentions the dropping of r before a consonant, as in first, horse and purse --- fist, hoss, puss, which have been noted for U.Bnff. by Gregor. See Dial. of Bnff., p. 4.
§ 144. The county of Nai. has the same dialect as Mry., with a large percentage of Eng. words. The intonation, however, savours more of Gaelic speech and the inverted r (see Symbols, Intro., p. xili) is common in pronunciation. As we move westwards the language changes into Eng. or Gaelic.
Black Isle and Easter Ross. nn.Sc.(a).
§ 145. If we cross the Inverness Firth at Ardersier we again find Sc. speech of a very curious and interesting type in the fishing village of Avoch and the fisher quarter of the little town of Cromarty, on the firth of that name, as well as in a few of the coast villages of Easter Ross.
§ 146. Most words of the ``moon, spoon, stool'' class (O.E. , Fr. u) have ee in this dialect, as in the N.E. generally. When a back consonant (g or k) precedes the vowel, in Crm. and Avoch, no w is developed as in the N.E., hence for good, school, cool, cuits (ankles) we get geed, skeel, keel, keets, as we find also in Cai. See § 35.2. When the vowel comes before r, or a guttural, the development is the same as in Mry. and Cai. --- e.g. fyoord, myoor, pyoor, swoor, lyooch, for St.Eng. ford, moor, poor, swore, laughed, but enough is anyoch [njx].
§ 147. This dialect has a diphthong [ei], like, but not identical with, the sound in Eng. time. It occurs in many words in the following classes:
§ 147.1. (1) (a) O.E. as in caes (clothes), kame (comb), hairse (hoarse), hame (home), tangs (tongs), hale (whole), wame (belly), alane (alone), bane (bone), aince (once), ane (one), stane (stone).2 (b) Scand. as in kail, scare (splice a rope).3 (c) Scand. ei or æi or ey as in graith (water for washing), hain (save).4 (2) O.E. a as in ear, east, cheap, great, head, leaf, sheaf.5 (3) O.E. (i-umlaut of ), errand, lead (v.), sweat.6 (4) O.E. open e as in eat, heaven, pear, scare, seven, speak, swear, tear, wear.7 (5) Before g this diphthong also appears, in words like pig, big [peig, beig]. Found also in Fif., ne. coast Abd., Cai. and n.Rxb. (6) Also in Romance words --- e.g. chain, chair, change, damock (a girl), ease, easy, feast, pay, place, reins, table, wait.8
§ 148. Words like bide, bike, line, pipe, have a diphthong often written oi, also occurring in Abd. coast dialect and Cai. See §§ 131, 157(2).
§ 149. Instead of o before l and g, a diphthong ow [u] is often used --- e.g. dog, fog, bold, cold, sold may be heard pronounced as dowg, fowg, bowld, cowld, sowld. Cf. Irish pronunciation of these words, also Cai. and Kintyre. In Avoch, caul' and selt are also used.
1 fju:rd, mju:r, pju:r, etc.
2 kleiz, keim, eirs, eim, teiz, eil, weim, lein, bein, eins, etc.
3 keil, skeir.
4 greiþ, ein.
5 eir, eist, eip, etc.
6 eirn, leid, sweit.
7 eit, eivn, etc.
8 ein, eir, etc.
BLACK ISLE, EASTER ROSS AND CAITHNESS
§ 150. The so-called aspirate is often inserted or omitted contrary to standard usage, as in some of the coast villages in mn.Sc. dialect --- e.g. ale-house, Annie, hand, house become hile-us, Hannie, an, oos. See § 140.
§ 151. In the pronominals who, what, whose, when, where, wh  is either omitted or replaced by h when the word is emphatic --- e.g. ``At thoo daein there?'' ``Ar thoo gaean?'' ``As dowg's that?'' Fa, far, fat are also to be heard, probably through contact with Mry. Firth fishermen.
§ 151.1. In Cromarty wh  is often replaced by w as in St.Eng. of the southern type, so which and whiskers become wutch and wuskers.
§ 152. r is generally pronounced with the point of the tongue turned backwards. The inversion, however, is not so great as in the trailing r of Cai.
§ 153. In words beginning with kn the n has been changed to r --- e.g. for knee, knife, knit, knock, knowe we hear kree, krife, etc.1 This is no doubt the result of Gaelic contact.
§ 154. ch = [t] initially is pronounced sh  --- e.g. child, choose, cheat, chair, cheap are sheelie (dim.), sheyse, sheyte, shyre, sheype.2 We find the same peculiarity in Cai. and Sh. and in Chirnside in Bwk. sh was not unknown in Middle Sc., witness the spellings scheikes for cheeks and schyld for child in Wariston's Diary, 1637-1639.
§ 154. 1. ð is often lost initially in the pronominals --- this, then, there, etc. Thoo and thee are still in use.
§ 155. This old dialect has been modified very much in recent years by contact with Moray Firth fishermen and by modern education. Twenty years ago the local teachers had as much difficulty in training the children to use the aspirate properly as Yks. teachers still have. Avoch was originally a Scots settlement in the midst of a Gaelic population. The first settlers were no doubt boats' crews with their families from farther south who came up in search of good fishing or at the request of the local magnates. One of our contributors, Mr James Reid, belonged to a fisher family said to have been brought into the district in the 17th cent. by Sir George Mackenzie, known to the Covenanters as the Bluidy MacKingie. His forbear had come from Dunbar to be the laird of Rosehaugh's official fisherman and the office remained in the family till the time of our correspondent's father.
Examples of Avoch Scots.
(1) Gae thee waz, byoch --- go thy ways, boy.
(2) A steek in time eynes (hains) nine --- a stitch in time saves nine.
(3) Reeze the fyoord az ye funt --- praise the ford as you find it.
(4) Twuz a braa knap o' a sheelie an' no a dymock --- it was a fine knap of a boy and not a girl.
(5) Gee the yellie (yawl) a strok o eycht (height), she's ower laich i the wud.
(6) Ould on, m'dear shylde, tul a get a shaa (chew) i ma sheek --- hold on, my dear fellow, till I get a
chew of tobacco.
(7) Al keyme thee dossan for thee --- I'll comb your hair for you.
(8) On Aloseen the wutchis do be seen, some white, some rud, some black, some dansan on the green.
§ 156. The area of Scottish speech in Cai. lies to the east side of a line drawn from Clyth Ness to 4 miles w. of Thurso. This includes all the lowlying land of the county. On the other side of this line lie the hills where Gaelic used to be spoken. Reports from our correspondents as well as the returns from the last Census (1921) show conclusively that this region cannot now be counted as inhabited by Gaelic speakers, but the language spoken is either school Eng. or an amalgamation of it and Sc. The Sc. dialect of Cai. has a large number of Gaelic and Norse words in it, and Norse was probably spoken there up till the 15th cent. In the extreme north --- e.g. in the neighbourhood of John o' Groat's --- the dialect resembles that of Ork.
§ 157. The vowel (O.E. and Fr. u) in the ``moon, spoon'' class and the ``good, school'' class and in the ``ford, muir'' class develops in the same way as in the Black Isle dialect.
1 ki:, kif.
2 ili, aIz, eit, e
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