Academics probe how dialects of the English language have changedNovember 9, 2019
Do the words ‘coochy-pawed’ and ‘fernitckles’ still mean anything to you? Academics probe how different dialects of the English language have changed over time
- Researchers are looking at how dialects have changed over time in areas of UK
- Academics updating 1950s study when people asked what they called objects
- A dialect archive at Leeds University’s library will be opened up to the public
They hark back to a time when many Britons stayed in the area where they were born and raised – and retained a distinctive dialect.
Now researchers are checking to see if people in different parts of the UK still use unusual words such as ‘coochy-pawed’ (left-handed) and ‘ferntickles’ (freckles).
It is an attempt to update a landmark study in the 1950s when field workers travelled across England asking residents about their words for everyday objects.
Researchers are checking to see if people in different parts of the UK still use unusual words such as ‘coochy-pawed’ (left-handed) and ‘ferntickles’ (freckles) (file image)
Academics carrying out the study have received more than £500,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Enough to shock a blatherskite! A guide to dialects
Freckles – ferntickles, murfles, brannyspreckles, brunny-spots, vrackles or frantittles
Left-handed – cack-handed, cat-handed, coochy-pawed, gibble-fisted, left-kaggy, squippy
Packed lunch – bait, jock, snap
Splinter – spelk, spell, shive, spill
Icicles – ice-bugs, ice-candles, ice-daggles, ice-shoggles, ickles, clinkers, icy-bells, conker-bells
Daddy long-legs – May maid, john long-legs, long-legged-tailor, jenny-splinters, lady-milord, spindleshanks, harvest men
A gossip – blatherskite, cagmag, cank, jaffock, yapper, chammer, gallivanter
Cobbler – greither, nobby, shoey, snobbler, stubby
Porridge-stick – mundle, patter, pot-stick, thrivel, speltle, gull-thivel
Bogeyman – boggart, bogle, bobby, bugaboo, jenny wisp, old harry
As part of the move, a dialect archive at Leeds University’s library will be opened up to the public.
Researchers will look at how dialects have changed over time and want to speak to descendants of the original interviewees.
The 1950s field workers painstakingly recorded dialect variations in handwritten notebooks.
They later captured how the words sounded by using cumbersome reel-to-reel tape recorders.
Workers interviewed ‘old men with good teeth’. Over-65s were preferred as they were more likely to use traditional dialect, while having your own teeth meant you spoke clearly.
Men in rural areas were mostly interviewed about farming, nature, the human body, food and the weather. Women were largely restricted to talking about housekeeping and cooking.
Fiona Douglas, an English lecturer at Leeds University, said her criteria would be very different.
She explained: ‘I’m not just going out looking for old men with good teeth who haven’t moved anywhere.
‘We will speak to people whose families haven’t stayed in one area for generations – as well as those who can trace their roots back to the same place over hundreds of years.’
She stressed: ‘We want to include everyone’s language.’
Researchers will look at how dialects have changed over time and want to speak to descendants of the original interviewees (file image)
Source: Read Full Article