Skip to comments.Now, a Database of Brit's Weirdest Words
Posted on 07/04/2011 11:18:06 AM PDT by nickcarraway
Heard of bobowler, baffies, bishybarnabee, tittermatorter? Well, these are some of the weirdest words used in Britain.
For the first time, the British Library is keeping track of the nation's regional words and has developed a word bank of around 4,000 entries.
The words were submitted by visitors to the British Library in central London or to a series of events at provincial libraries as part of its Evolving English exhibition.
According to experts, many local dialects died off in recent decades, squeezed out by the increasing standardisation of the language thanks to population mobility as well as the influence of television and radio.
But they added that the sheer range of bizarre and impenetrable words submitted by the public shows there remains plenty of life in regional forms of speech, reports the Daily Mail.
While there is plenty of historical evidence for some phrases, others are more recent, such as the Grimsby term for chewing gum, 'spoggy'.
Alongside the terms are entire phrases - for example, someone from Newark in Nottinghamshire might say 'Man de don't know what the buer is rockerin'.
That translates as 'I don't know what the woman is on about', using 'buer' or 'bewer' for woman, and 'rocker', meaning to speak or understand.
The completed word bank will interest anyone from actors wanting to perfect regional roles to foreign call centre workers looking to understand local British dialects.
Jonnie Robinson, curator of sociolinguistics and education at the Library, said regional language retained plenty of vitality.
"Social and geographic mobility nowadays means that people draw on a variety of terms and their default term is likely the mainstream standard term,' he said.
"But people can still draw on terms from their local dialects," he added.
Some of Britain's obscure words compiled by the library:
Baffies -- slippers (east coast of Scotland)
Bishybarnabee -- ladybird (Norfolk)
Bobowler -- large moth (Birmingham)
Deff -- to ignore, split up, pack in, avoid (Birmingham)
Dodderman -- snail (Norfolk/Suffolk)
Gopping -- unattractive ( Manchester)
Guddle -- to rummage about (Northumberland and parts of Scotland)
Gurtlush -- the best ( Bristol)
On the box -- off sick from work (Black Country)
Ronking -- smelly, disgusting (Black Country)
Tittermatorter -- see-saw (Norfolk)
Tranklements -- ornaments (Black Country)
Now, linguists will study their origins, how they relate to other words and how widely spread their use is.
They need to learn English.
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“They need to learn English.”
I was thinking the same. If they won’t learn English, then we need a way to translate what they say to English.
They would say the same thing.
Translate this for me, West Midlands English?
I can’t believe the list didn’t include spotted dick. (English Pudding).
dumb post = dumb post
the F section should be R rated.
“American and England - two nations separated by a common language”
Snickelways and Ginnels
Terms for alleys in York left over from medieval times...:^)
That’s not West Mids, the Macc Lads are from Macclesfield in Cheshire (hence the name). They speak in a northwestern dialect with some similarities to the Manchester accent which is dominant in that region.
West Mids is Black Sabbath, Judas Priest etc. An interview with Rob Halford or Tony Iommi would give you a stereotypical west mids accent. I wouldn’t say Ozzie because his accent is some strange amalgamation of west mids, US, drugs and booze!
The reason for that is almost certainly because this is a database of regional slang and Spotted Dick is a) not slang and b) not regional
I day know what y’um piping on about our kid :)
When I first lived in England in the late 80s, I could hardly understand a word most Brits said. I really had to train my ear to listen carefully.
After about a year there, I could actually hear British dialects better than I could my own. The Scots were a whole different story, though!
Naw, they oughta stune their beebers!
Don’t worry about that mate, i’m born and bred here and I can’t understand a word that mad lot north of the wall say!
I don’t think France even has any dentists!
There's a reason Hadrian built that wall, ya know ;-)
My dad and grandad would use the phrase “on the box” to refer to being on the sick, but that’s the only one of those I recognise.
In the black country we sometimes used to refer to it as "spotted dog".
Where is the black country? Is this as opposed to the white country?
The area was very much the cradle of the industrial revolution, particularly heavy industry - manufacturing, metal bashing, engineering - later auto construction. Coventry was like a British Detroit - all the main British auto manufacturers - Rolls Royce, Austin, Triumph, BSA, Morris, MG, Leyland and so on were based there.
Anyway, in the very early days all that industry meant steam power generated by firing coal. Lots and lots of it. Result: the sky would literally turn black from all the smoke and pollution - hence "black country". It's not an exageration either - the lack of sunlight caused a lot of problems - rickets was notoriously prevalent amongst children.
chimley instead of chimney
chrystual instead of crystal
furni tour instead of furniture
I think National TV over the past two generations has helped to homogenize our pronunciation across the country.
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