Archive for February, 2007

A rare dialect that is only spoken by two elderly brothers is to be recorded for posterity before it disappears.

Bobby Hogg, 87, and his brother Gordon, 80, are believed to be the last fluent speakers of the “Cromarty fisher dialect”.

It is said to be the most threatened dialect in Scotland and is to be recorded for an internet-based cultural archive.

It evolved when local fishermen in the town of Cromarty, on the Black Isle north of Inverness, picked up words from English soldiers based in the area in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The fishermen adopted formal words such as thee, thou and thine, but also mispronunciations, substituting “erring” for “herring” and “hears” for “ears”.

Bobby Hogg said: “You hear the odd smattering of it in some of the things people from Cromarty say, but nobody speaks it fluently these days but for us two.

His wife Helen added: “My husband is fluent in the Cromarty fisher dialect. I understand it, but his brother is the only other person who can speak it.

A spokesman for Am Baile, a Highland internet archive, said it was important to capture a recording of the last two speakers.

Robin McColl Miller of Aberdeen University‘s English department said the Cromarty fisher dialect was the most threatened in Scotland, and one of five different dialects once found in the same small area.



Here you can find some sentences in Cromarty and you can listen to the brothers’ interview and how they say some words and expressions.


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IPods could be damaged by Microsoft’s new computer operating system, the company behind the popular digital music players has warned.

Apple, the long-standing rival of Bill Gates’s Microsoft, is urging users not to upgrade their PCs to the Vista system until it comes up with a compatible version of the software that runs iPods.

Microsoft launched its long-awaited Vista operating system in a blaze of publicity last week and claimed that more than 5,000 hardware and software products would work with it.

But Apple, which has sold 90 million iPods since 2001, says many users of the iconic portable music players have had problems when connecting them to PCs using Vista.

It claims some have found that songs bought on its iTunes Store will not play on the new system, and that other Vista users have even seen their iPods corrupted when they try to unplug them. The contacts and calendar functions on iPods are also said to be affected.

A statement on Apple’s website reads: “iTunes Store purchases may not play when upgrading to Windows Vista from Windows 2000 or XP.

“Ejecting an iPod from the Windows System Tray using the Safely Remove Hardware feature may corrupt your iPod.”

Microsoft has already released a software update for Vista users so they can play their iTunes Store songs.

But Apple is still warning PC users not to use Vista until it can release a completely new version of the iTunes software.

Apple’s website states: “Apple recommends that customers wait to upgrade Windows until after the next release of iTunes which will be available in the next few weeks.”

Microsoft said it has a dedicated team working on problems with Vista and iTunes, and insisted users should not stop using the new operating system.



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Step aside Britney Spears. Movie moguls, television producers and publishers believe this year’s teen hit will be the 19th-century “lit girl” Jane Austen.

The life and works of the author, who died a spinster at the age of 41 in 1817, form the basis of no fewer than six forthcoming films and television series, along with plans for new editions of her works, tailored to the teenage market.

A host of young stars, including Billie Piper, best known for her role as Rose Tyler in Doctor Who, James McAvoy, who starred in Channel 4’s Shameless, and Anne Hathaway, the star of The Princess Diaries will spearhead the new Austen revival which, unlike previous adaptations, will be aimed at younger viewers.

Bookshops and libraries, anticipating a surge of interest in the author as a result of her exposure on both the big and small screens, are planning major displays of her works. A spokesman for Waterstone’s, Britain’s biggest bookseller, predicted it would sell more copies of Austen’s works than at any time since Colin Firth emerged from a lake during the BBC’s adaptation of Pride and Prejudice in 1995, while Penguin said it planned new editions of the author’s six best-known works with covers designed to appeal to teenagers.

The Austen revival will begin next month with the release of the film Becoming Jane, which examines the author’s romance with Thomas Langlois Lefroy, the Irish politician. The lead roles are taken by Hathaway, the actress who rose to prominence playing alongside Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada, and McAvoy, who previously played Mr Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Douglas Rae, the film’s producer, said: “We are on course for the most prolific year of Jane Austen’s career in terms of television and film coverage. We went with Anne because we know she will bring a young teen audience with her film. Many of the 11-year-olds who fell in love with her in The Princess Diaries are now just turning 15. They are the right age for Austen.”

Julian Jarrold, the film’s director, said: “There is a stereotype of Jane as a spinster obsessed with manners. But we are looking at her when she is 21, full of life and hope and kicking against the restrictions around her.”

Andrew Davies, who has written adaptations of Sense and Sensibility for the BBC and Northanger Abbey for ITV, predicted a new generation of teenagers would fall in love with Austen and her work.

Davies, who wrote the screenplay for the 1995 Pride and Prejudice said: “The effect of all of these projects will make for a Jane Austen frenzy. The stories are absolutely contemporary. They are about sex and they are about money. One of the good things about Jane Austen is the men. They are real men – classy and rather scary. That makes them terrific for a female audience.”



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