Relic forms

There are so many of these used in Buckie and lots of them arise from the fantastically named Great Vowel Shift. This is when around 1350 – 1700, lots of groups of words changed their pronunciation. Everyone in Britain before this time would say hoose and stane but then after this time started to say house and stone.

Now, you’ll have noticed that in Buckie (and many other varieties of Scots) we still say hoose and stane, as shown below:

     The hoosies was a’ knockit doon in the 30s.

     He was throwin’ stanes at the loonie.

This is because the Great Vowel Shift started in the south of England and moved northwards…but not quite all the way up, and certainly not as far as the north east, hence the Buckie dialect is still full of hooses and stanes.

Independent innovations

The F-words

Not quite as salacious as they sound! The F-words refer to a set of words that in traditional Scots are pronounced with a labio-velar approximant /ʍ/.  This is when you can hear the wh- sound in words like what and where. In Buckie (and other parts of the north east) this sound is often realised as /f/, so what is pronounced fit, where is pronounced farwhen is pronounced fan/fin and who is pronounced fa, as the examples below show:

     She wasna long in it fin Irene packit in.

     Is that farr you’re gan next week?

     Fit did ye say?

     I na ken fa that is.

In contrast to something like hoose, this use is particular to the north east of Scotland. You don’t here it anywhere else. And while linguists know the reason we say hoose in Scots, it’s not clear why we use these f- forms. Sometimes things like this just arise in dialects for no particular reason at all.