Name the dialect

Can you work out what dialect of English this is, and what it means? Can you also name the transcription system used here?

Quiz question, 15th October 2006

Clue: the transcription system was invented during the 1880s.

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13 Responses to Name the dialect

  1. Josh says:

    I’m not familiar with the transcription system, but from what I can decipher it “sounds” like Southern American English. I’m probably wrong though- because sometimes it “sounds” Scottish.

  2. Joseph Staleknight says:

    The italics are stress, right?

  3. Chase B. says:

    Middle English?

  4. Simon says:

    Joseph – I think the italics are stress.

    Chase B. & Josh – it’s not Middle English or a form of English spoken in the southern USA, but rather a dialect spoken in the north of England.

  5. Josh says:

    Ack, I know nothing about England. I’ll say it’s “Lanky”- just because I have a friend in Blackpool that has a really trippy accent.

  6. Josh says:

    I’m also curious as to why this system isn’t featured on the site.

  7. Evans Knight says:

    is it Geordie?

  8. Chase B. says:

    Is it some kind of ‘traveller’ or to be un-PC gypsy dialect?

  9. Evans Knight says:

    now I’m just throwing things out there, but…liverpudlian?

  10. Paul says:

    As a native speaker of “a dialect spoken in the north of England”, I can say I’m completely stumped. It might be the odd transcription system, but I can’t resolve a good number of those words into anything meaningful. The long ‘aa’ sounds, the diphthongs, and the t’ make me think Yorkshire, rather than anything from the north-east, as does the intro, which I’m pretty sure is meant to represent ‘E wor, i.e. He was. But that’s all guesswork.

  11. Simon says:

    And the answer is … Yorkshire dialect – Paul got it. Not sure which part of Yorkshire it comes from though.

    Here’s a version of the sentence in standard English: “He was whining away, says she, for all the world like a sick child, or a little girl in a fret”

    The transcription system is called Dialectal Paleotype and was developed by Alexander J. Ellis (1814-1890), a phonetician, philologist and music theorist, who undertook a major survey of (mainly) rural dialects in Britain in the 1880s.

  12. Dagnabbit, I was going to say Yorkshire! Too many James Herriot books for me… ;-)

    Anyway, do you happen to have a link to how this system works? Now I’ve got to see it!

  13. Simon says:

    Minstrel – unfortunately there appears to be no information about this transcription system online, but I have some details in one of my books (The World’s Writing Systems, by Daniels & Bright), which I’ll add to Omniglot.