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Britain's dialect and accent frontiers

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Peregrine Arkwright
612515.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 4:50 am Reply with quote

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Britain's Dialect and Accent frontiers
(start of topic)

In Pygmalion, 'Enry 'Iggins claimed he could identify accents in the east end of London to the nearest street. A bid of Shavian bravado, methinks, but accent and dialect frontiers in Britain are quite close.

Here are a few examples for folk to kick off with - I'm sure there are many more, known to QIers especially.

1. Thee and thy
How far south is the second person singular in English still heard? It is common enough in South Yorkshire, but is it still heard, say, south of the Trent?

2. Narrow passageways between buildings
Back in Sheffield these used to be called 'gennels' - probably still are. In Kent they are 'twitchens'. How many more variants are there, and what is their geography?

3. Mardy
Perfectly normal word in Sheffield for 'childishly sulky'. I've never heard it in London. Where is the frontier of its use?

4. Give over
Normal south Yorkshire for 'pack it in' or 'do desist', often pronounced 'gee o'eer'. How far afield is it known?

5. Premises that sell alcohol for consumption at home
We've been into this somewhere in the forum before. Sheffield is 'beer off' and this spreads elsewhere as 'offie'. Elsewhere you get 'outdoor' and 'carry out' and I think others too. Does anyone know the geography?

That just England and maybe Scotland. Can anyone tell us equivalent local and regional word patterns in other English-speaking countries?

Peregrine Arkwright

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QiScorpion
612575.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:43 am Reply with quote

Peregrine Arkwright wrote:
.


Britain's Dialect and Accent frontiers
(start of topic)

In Pygmalion, 'Enry 'Iggins claimed he could identify accents in the east end of London to the nearest street. A bid of Shavian bravado, methinks, but accent and dialect frontiers in Britain are quite close.

Here are a few examples for folk to kick off with - I'm sure there are many more, known to QIers especially.

1. Thee and thy
How far south is the second person singular in English still heard? It is common enough in South Yorkshire, but is it still heard, say, south of the Trent?

2. Narrow passageways between buildings
Back in Sheffield these used to be called 'gennels' - probably still are. In Kent they are 'twitchens'. How many more variants are there, and what is their geography?

3. Mardy
Perfectly normal word in Sheffield for 'childishly sulky'. I've never heard it in London. Where is the frontier of its use?

4. Give over
Normal south Yorkshire for 'pack it in' or 'do desist', often pronounced 'gee o'eer'. How far afield is it known?

5. Premises that sell alcohol for consumption at home
We've been into this somewhere in the forum before. Sheffield is 'beer off' and this spreads elsewhere as 'offie'. Elsewhere you get 'outdoor' and 'carry out' and I think others too. Does anyone know the geography?

That just England and maybe Scotland. Can anyone tell us equivalent local and regional word patterns in other English-speaking countries?

Peregrine Arkwright

.



Thy can be heard in church services all over Britain, but in common speech you wouldn't really hear it down here in Buckinghamshire.

Mardy I've heard round here, but not very often - my sister's used it a few times to describe me. The phrase "mardy beggar" comes to mind.


Give over I use quite a lot, and so does my mum.



Language really shouldn't have such boundaries, in my opinion. Learning a language (even the dialects of your own country) promotes understanding, not only of what people are saying but also of culture, which if encouraged in turn allows for tolerance and with tolerance comes peace.

[/philosophical linguist mode]

 
Redd Arrow
612629.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:41 am Reply with quote

Hampshire, as i hear it

Thee and Thy. never.

Passageway. maybe Alley.

Mardy, Nope, miseryguts is more common.

Give over, sometimes but spoken as written.

Off licence, def Offiie, Offy.

 
Efros
612631.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:46 am Reply with quote

"Give over" is used in the North East.

 
strawhat
612642.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:50 am Reply with quote

I've found gennel a very Sheffield specific one, even as close as Barnsley it's replaced with jinnel, and some parts of Rotherham as well I've found.

 
Ion Zone
612645.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:52 am Reply with quote

I live in Kent, but have never heard of 'twitchens', it is a run-down part though.

 
soup
612655.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 6:58 am Reply with quote

1)Never heard thee and thy used locally

2)Passageways are vennels.

3)Mardy = (poss) moody

4)gie over is usually said as gies a brek

5)an off license is an offy

Edinburgh(east coast), Scotland.

 
Moosh
612707.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:26 am Reply with quote

Having lived in various parts of Lancashire, I don't recall hearing thee and thy from locals, but a narrow passage is a ginnel, and mardy and give over are common.

Having also lived in the midlands, specifically Stafford, the only one I think is in common use is mardy, and the passage would be an alley.

 
bemahan
612709.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:29 am Reply with quote

"Snicket" is a word I know for an alley but can't remember where I was living when I heard it - would have been Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire.

 
Ion Zone
612722.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:57 am Reply with quote

I have heard thee and maybe thy used in conversation, but only once or twice, and I am not sure where they came from.

 
Celebaelin
612738.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 8:24 am Reply with quote

1. Not usually heard round here. Perhaps people could comment on "tha'sen" as well (ie thyself, yourself) a quick search gives Bradford and Bridlington users.

2. Alley, alleyway, side-passage.

3. Mardy is understood but has fallen out of the recent(ish) spate of usage.

4. Again understood but not commonly used. "Pack it in" would be way more usual.

5. The only place I've heard "outdoor" used for off-licence is Birmingham, how far you have to travel in any direction before that's no-longer the case is another question, but it's not far.

Central Warwickshire.

 
Sebastian flyte
612766.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:26 am Reply with quote

2. They don't say it to mean passageway between buildings much as part of the dialect of Chelsea but you certainly hear the cunt word quite a lot.
3. I've certainly heard mardy a lot recently (in the 14-22 age bracket) and so I think it might have been on TV.
4. I've heard 'pack it in' and 'give over' and 'stop messin abaat' (which reminds me of Kenneth Williams) :)
5. We say 'Off license' or 'oddbins' or 'threshers' (the shame I feel so left out, we don't say 'offy' maybe some people do..)..or the name of the shop whatever it is.

 
suze
612775.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:58 am Reply with quote

1. Thee, thou, and thy are by now practically confined to church, to some Mennonites and Quakers, and otherwise to parts of the north of the England. Trudgill (1999) lists the counties where these forms are still in regular use as (parts of) Derbyshire, Durham, Lancashire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Westmorland, and Yorkshire.

2. Alley can get a bit confusing. In some North American cities, a road which inconveniently comes in between 2nd Street and 3rd Street can get a name something like 2nd Street Alley. Whereas a thing which is strictly a path and which runs along the backs of the houses was called a lane when I was a kid in Vancouver. Yes, I know this is rather the reverse of British usage!

3. and 4. My husband's parents are originally from the north of England, and they do use mardy and give over. He doesn't, though.

5. The general term in North America for this kind of establishment is liquor store, although the name of the store is likely to be used when it has one. (Which in Canada it often doesn't, since most provinces of Canada have a provincial monopoly or near-monopoly on selling alcoholic beverages.)

 
exnihilo
612777.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:03 am Reply with quote

There's been a huge amount of research on this very topic over the years, and plenty of academic books available with maps of dialects of the UK. A useful starting point would be the British Library's Collect Britain project and specifically its Sounds Familiar? component.

 
strawhat
612781.  Mon Sep 14, 2009 11:10 am Reply with quote

Mardy may have come into the younger adults dialects because of the song by the T'arctic Monkeys.
#Now then Mardy Bum,
I've seen your frown and it's like looking down the barrel of a gun#

 

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