Know your frantittles from your spindleshanks? UK dialects survey launched

A survey of English dialects has been launched to take a look at whether or not persons are nonetheless utilizing phrases like coochy-pawed and ferntickles.

Researchers travelled throughout England within the 1950s asking individuals about their phrases for on a regular basis objects.

For the primary time since then they are going to replace the “most comprehensive survey of England’s dialects ever undertaken”, after securing greater than £500,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The public will even have entry to the archive housed at Leeds University Library’s particular collections.

How dialects have modified over time shall be examined and researchers need to converse to descendants of the unique interviewees.

In the unique 1950s work, researchers recorded dialect variations in handwritten notebooks, and later with cumbersome reel-to-reel tape recorders that have been typically linked to car batteries due to a scarcity of mains electrical energy.

Words similar to ferntickles (freckles), coochy-pawed (left-handed), and spindleshanks (daddy long-legs) have been recorded.

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The work concerned interviews with “old men with good teeth” – over-65s have been most well-liked as a result of they have been extra possible to make use of conventional dialect and having their very own enamel allowed them to talk extra clearly.

A researcher's notebook showing different words and pronunciation for the word splinter
Image: A researcher’s pocket book exhibiting totally different phrases and pronunciation for the phrase splinter

Researchers focused males in rural areas who they interviewed about farming, animals, nature, the human physique, household, meals and the climate.

Women have been largely restricted to speaking about housekeeping, cooking and the laundry.

Fiona Douglas, lecturer in English language within the University Of Leeds’s college of English, stated her standards could be very totally different.

“I’m not just going out looking for old men with good teeth who haven’t moved anywhere,” she stated.

“I would like to have the ability to see how a lot dialect has modified.

“We will converse to individuals whose households have not stayed in a single space for generations, in addition to those that can hint their roots again to the identical place over tons of of years. We need to embrace everybody’s language.”

She added: “Dialect is a very great way of getting a window into the language of the previous.”

Ms Douglas stated that within the 1950s after the conflict, researchers feared that dialect would disappear eternally as individuals have been transferring across the nation extra.

“People have been saying that for the reason that 18th century. Of course it hasn’t disappeared but it surely has modified. They noticed it as a race in opposition to time.”

A notebook featuring a researcher's drawing of a wagon
Image: A pocket book that includes a researcher’s drawing of a wagon

She added: “If you, your parents, grandparents or other relatives have a connection to these historical dialect studies, the project would like to hear from you.”

A pop-up dialect package will characteristic in a roadshow that can go on tour as a part of the challenge’s ongoing work with 5 museums – Avoncroft Museum of Historic Buildings in Worcestershire, Dales Countryside Museum and Ryedale Folk Museum in North Yorkshire, Suffolk’s Museum of East Anglian Life, and Weald and Downland Living Museum in West Sussex – participating.

Examples of dialect discovered within the authentic survey:

Freckles – ferntickles, murfles, brannyspreckles, brunny-spots, vrackles or frantittles

Left-handed – cack-handed, cat-handed, coochy-pawed, gibble-fisted, left-kaggy, squippy

Packed lunch – A 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(s), jenny-splinters, lady-milord, spindleshanks, harvest males

Cobbler – shoe-mender, greither, nobby, shoey, snobbler, stubby

Porridge-stick – mundle, patter, pot-stick, thrivel, speltle, gull-thivel

A gossip – blatherskite, cagmag, cank, jaffock, yapper, chammer, gallivanter

Bogeyman – boggart, bogle, bobby, bugaboo, jenny wisp, previous harry

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