I always get a bit nervous when I’m interviewing the youngest cohort, 12-13 years old, in case we don’t find anything to talk about. If I put myself in their place it’s not hard to see why they might feel a bit shy. I mean, not only am I ancient to them, but who wouldn’t get suspicious if a posh English woman suddenly came into your living room and started asking you about every detail about your existence? Thankfully, the interviewees have been wonderful, really friendly and chatty so I needn’t have worried. I have also been saved by the discovery of the popular pastime dooking, which never fails to ignite the conversation (it’s like the Labovian Danger of Death Question, but for 12-year-olds from Buckie).

Before I met these kids, dooking, to me at least, had a very traditional Scots feel about it and I basically took it to mean a quick swim in the sea, (hopefully an extremely quick swim when it’s in the North Sea you’re talking about).

dookdouk Scot vb

1. to dip or plunge

2. to bathe

But to the younger speakers dooking meant something slightly different, as the exchange below between me and Billie (12) shows:

(Billie) I would na like gan to the beach all day. I’d prefer dooking and stuff better (Sophie) So what, you just go down and have a swim and then you carry on with something else or?  (Billie) Well, like dooking is like, jumping off the pier and stuff. I’ve only been a few times but like, I’ll be honest, like, most of the times I’ve went, the tide’s been, like, too far out so I have na jumped off a lot.

So, for the younger speakers, dooking no longer meant just having a quick dip in the sea – you had to be jumping of something perilously high for it to be called dooking.

This was confirmed by Jimmy (12). An avid “dooker” himself, Jimmy also explained that there was a kind of hierarchy based on the size of the “jumps” and that these jumps had names:

(Jimmy) Aye dooking, it’s like you go to a like you go to somewaie with a harbour and there’s different jumps and you jump off the pier in to the water. Every jump has a different name. There’s like higher jumps and athing  ’cause  there’s the high jumps in Cullen The Parra and The Wisey Headii  and you can only jump them,  well you can jump the Wisey Headii at spring time but you can jump The Parra at high tide and in Portknockie there’s  The Run Hythie, Green Castle and athing. The Steps, and The Blue Wall, they’re the lowest you can get and then it’s The Pier, and then it goes up like The Blocks.  (Sophie) Have you done all of them? (Jimmy) Nae all of them ’cause there’s heaps of rocks at the Green Castle, bottom of that ain. And there’s folk that’s broke their back jumping that ain. So I– I kind of do na want to jump that ain but I do

The word dooking appeared to have gone through a type of semantic narrowing where it had gone from the more general meaning, “going in the sea”, to the more specific, “jumping from a height into the sea”. As well as the narrowing, the concept had developed an associated vocabulary with the jumps being assigned names. The associated vocabulary did not appear confined to the jump names, as Billie explained what it meant “to strike”:

(Billie) But like, if you hit the bottom, folk’ll say, ”Oh, did you strike?”  ‘Cause if you’ve hit the bottom you striked.

The fact that the Buckie kids are reclaiming and modifying traditional dialect words, using them to encode their experiences, might serve as a good indication of the status the dialect has for them. These observations could indicate the maintenance of the Buckie dialect as, akin to ethno-linguistic vitality, they could be markers of ethno-dialectic vitality. The measurement of ethno-linguistic vitality looks a number of different factors such as who uses the language and in which domains. The young speakers do not shy away from their Doric, they use the dialect in a wide range of domains; in texting and on social media, as well as their speech – as is evident from the transcripts above. Doric is also the norm for when they speak to each other and their parents, they even use the dialect when they speak to someone who is so out of touch they still think dooking means swimming.

Overall, the linguistic behavior of the kids, with words like dooking and the use of Doric on Facebook, may spell good news for the continued use and development of Doric in Buckie.