Monday, October 8, 2012


Meaning: a Scottish dialect word for the throat, more specifically the windpipe or larynx.

Usefulness: 3 (Perhaps if someone asks you to do a bad Scottish accent, or if, like me, you need a reason to mention that one of the last speakers of a Cromarty dialect has died recently.)

Logofascination: 3 (possibly not that fascinating, but it is used twice in an English translation of a French work. And it's quite old.)

In the wild: in the interesting (well, if you're into obscure Scots dialects) booklet, The Cromarty Fisherfolk Dialect.  So far, my favourite term is tumblers for dolphins. (Thanks to The Virtual Linguist and the Omniglot for various sources on this).

Degrees: 1

Connections: n/a

Used in: Used twice in G&P, thropple turns up in a small section of Scottish, discussed at the end of this post, and (used by Friar John) in the passage quoted in this post. Since you can go and read those, I am instead giving you Sir Thomas on Cromarty Bay, home of the aforementioned fisherfolk and their dialect:
I have (or at least had, before I was sequestered) a certain Harbour or Bay, in goodness equal to the best in the world ... whose promontories on each side, vulgarly called Souters, from the Greek word swthre*, that is to say, Salvatores, or Savers, from the safety that ships have...
This Harbour, in all the Latine Maps of Scotland, is called portus salutis; by reason that ten thousand Ships together, may within it ride, in the greatest tempest that is, as in a calm; by vertue of which conveniency, some exceeding rich men, of five or six several Nations, Masters of Ships, and Merchant-Adventurers, promised to bring their best Vessels, and stocks for trading along with them, and dwell in that my little Town with me... By which means, the foresaid town of Cromarty (for so it is called) in a very short space would easily become the richest of any within threescore miles thereof.
Goodness only knows what that would have meant for the dialect. From Logopandectesion, Book 6, 15-18, which I have rudely edited for relevance.  The full version can be found here

*As with any logofascinated soul, Sir Thomas couldn't resist etymology. 


  1. I love your blog. I found you through the inky fool. I have nothing clever to say but I visit every day and wanted to say hello. My blog is a craft blog so of no interest to you at all! However, my degree is English literature and I studied at Sheffield university. Was totally inspired to go there by empson's seven types of ambiguity - he was emeritus there. Anyway, your blog reminds me that I used to be intelligent and for that I thank you. Jenx

  2. Thank you kindly, Ms Jen: I sometimes wonder if my eccentric meanderings make sense to anyone but me, so I appreciate the comment.

    I'm not sure I've read Empson- I'll dig it up. It sounds like the sort of thing that would be full of interesting words.