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This is intended to be mainly about my crafting stories, as a personal record of what I do. However, I interpret crafting quite widely, not just paper crafting but other things too. I have a butterfly mind and like to change from one thing to another depending on what I feel like on a given day - knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, cards, baking and several others.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

The wonders of dialects

While chatting on Facebook about what I had been doing this week, I used the word "canking" and no-one knew what I meant.  Just to clear that one up straight away, it actually means gossiping or talking a lot.  This word comes from the Birmingham, Walsall, Black Country area.

That set me thinking about dialects in general.  I love listening to the Black Country dialect in particular and there is a wonderful version of the Nativity, all written in Black Country  http://blackcountrysteve.blogspot.co.uk/  Don't try to just read it.  Read it aloud and it will make more sense.

I was born in Walsall and spent a lot of my childhood going back there to visit the rest of the family.  The first picture shows what was my grandfather's undertaking (funeral) business - not the big double fronted Horrocks Hardware, but the small shop to the left, which actually has a cremation urn in the window from the time after my grandfather had died and the shop was taken over by a stonemason.

As you can see, the second photo is from a much earlier time, but shows the same building from the back.  My grandparents are on the right, with their eldest son's wife.  You can see planks of wood propped up again the building.  This was the back yard where the coffin workshop was and also the even older bridle bit workshop (Walsall was the main centre of saddle and bridle bit making, in fact for any parts of horse harness).  The wood was generally good seasoned oak for making the coffins.

After all the time spent round the family, I can usually pick someone who comes from Walsall at 20 paces.  These days, Walsall is usually considered to be in the Black Country, but the dialect is not the same.  There are subtle differences.

It is not just the words and dialect which define where you come from, it is the phrases you use in common speech.  I went to Teacher Training College  at Bingley in what was the West Riding of Yorkshire.  Till then, I had never realised that some things are truly regional.  I said something about I had "gone all round the Wrekin", meaning I had struggled to find my way, it had taken much longer than it should.  All the northern folk looked at me as if I had gone mad and had no idea what I meant.  For those who are confused, the Wrekin is a large hill in Shropshire.

There is another site which give the translation to the more commonly used words and phrases from Brum (Birmingham).  http://www.thedialectdictionary.com/view/letter/Brummie/  The other great things to listen to are the CD's by Professor Carl Chinn, Malcolm Stent and Laurie Hornsby - Brummagem Air and Any Road Up.  Did you know that Birds Custard, HP Sauce and Typhoo Tea were all made in Brum?


Do you cringe at the way TV people pronounce the names of places round you?  I was most impressed recently that one managed to get the name of an area of Walsall right.  It is spelt Caldmore, but pronounced as Carmer.

Any road up (translation = anyway), what dialects do you like, and do others understand you?

5 comments:

Di said...

Fascinating Maggie - you've got me thinking about Geordie expressions from the years I lived in Northumberland now :) Can't come up with one right away - and probably won't sleep tonight for thinking about them!

Yup, Barbara sure summed it up well in that blog post :)

Sleep well, hugs, Di xx

Di said...

Me again - I just remembered one:
Geordie: how yee ower there hoy yer hammer ower heor

Translation:hey you over there throw your hammer over here

Kings English: I say old chap, do lend me your hammer

xx

Greta said...

Fun reading your post. We laugh because the west coast of the U.S. is so unknown--our rivers, cities, etc are often not pronounced correctly by the national news people.
Thanks for the tech tip & I did do the update. Still can't get the scroll bar on the side of this comment box to work, but I was able to make the box bigger so the Publish comment comes up for your blog, but not for a lot of others. I'm baffled & frustrated! Can't edit a gadget on my blog since I can't get to the save button--argh!

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

ah Maggie had to smile... great post!!
..my Nanna was a Yorkshire lass and she used phrases which were beyond our ken many a time.. think she like to bamboozle us as she really had a sense of humour.. and yes lots of phrases over here could throw at your, rather like Di's hammer.

...and some are definitely related to area..

Some years back when moved to Melbourne found saucepans were called pots, and the screen door was called flywire door and your port was called suitcase etc. Now some of those fall out of use like port.
Every blessing, Shaz.xx
PS feeling for Greta in comment above.. blogger has a lot to answer for.. but guess it is free. :D

Mrs A. said...

My parents coming from Australia I was brought up learning certain words for objects round the house and never thought anything of it as we all knew what we meant. Time moved on and I married The Doc and can remember asking him not long afterwards where he had put his Washer! He was totally mystified and made me describe it for him. Apparently the English call it a flannel or a face cloth. Now washer means just what it is you wash with it. Simples!!
Hugs Mrs A.