Talking for Britain
At the moment I’m reading a fascinating book about the English language in the UK called Talking for Britain – A Journey Through the Nation’s Dialects, by Simon Elmes. It draws on the BBC’s Voices survey and shows that regional English is very much alive and well, and constantly changing. Although many of the old rural dialects are disappearing, new urban ones are evolving.
One of the things the book discusses is terms of affection or greeting, which include me ‘ansum (my handsome) in Cornwall; my lover, in Bristol and the West Country (Wess Vinglun); mi duck, loov (love), yowth (youth) or cock in the Midlands; and chuck in Lancashire. These are generally used by anyone to anyone, though can lead to misunderstanding when used to people from other areas.
Other interesting words I’ve come across include tiddy oggy, a potato pie or pasty in Cornwall and Devon; ferniggle, to play truant in the West of England; agger-jaggers, sea mist in Kent; obzocky, unattractive – from Trinidad; mollycrosh, to hit – from Wigan; gennel, snicket or twitchel, an alley in different parts of the Midlands; and skopadiddle/skopadiggle – a mischievous child in Sheffield.