This book will help you understand the unique and ancient Dorset dialect and have you talking like a native in no time. The book includes a dictionary to help you develop an altogether new vocabulary, plus a wonderful collection of tales and anecdotes, all chosen to illustrate different aspects of the delightful local dialect.
It was the Piddles and the Puddles which first brought the vivid language of Dorset to life for me. During childhood visits to the county, I was told about the fascinating history behind Dorset place names such as Piddletrenthide and Tolpuddle! Those names were my first insight into the words associated with the area, many of which have great character while others, as we see in this book, have a more risqué meaning in modern times!
Many of us naturally think of Thomas Hardy when it comes to considering the association between Dorset and words. While there’s no doubt, as we will see briefly in this book, that Hardy’s contribution is extensive and inspiring, many other writers have had a connection with Dorset too. With a particular view on dialect, it is William Barnes we have to thank for capturing so much of the county’s language. His poems and glossary have been instrumental in keeping the language of Dorset’s past alive. Yet, as we see in this book, while Barnes’s works are acknowledged to be of great importance, there are some who feel that he is still undervalued outside of Dorset.
Take a close look at the glossary in the first part of the book to discover just how poetic the Dorset dialect is, from the wonderful word ‘dumbledore’ to ‘goocoo’ to ‘joppety-joppety’! Then explore the sayings which were once commonplacenin the county. You’ll find out why you wouldn’t want to be called a ‘Lawrence’ or a ‘lablolly’ and why to ‘goo snacks’ does not mean heading off the local shop for a sandwich! Even the local food holds hints of the area’s fascinating past, as with the names Blue Vinny Cheese and Piddle Bacon Cake (back to those Piddles and Puddles again!). While we’re on the topic of food, read on to find out why people in Dorset love throwing their food around and why we have Dorset to thank for one of our most well-known vegetables!
West Country accents have often been unfairly associated with comedy. Yet the folk singers of the county have always relished the potential for humour in their dialect. As we see in this book, bands like The Yett ies have helped to bring the dialect to greater public recognition. Reading Dorset dialect is one thing. Hearing it is something else. It’s incredible to be able to listen to it through the wonderful recordings of conversations, folk songs and more on the British Library website. But let’s not look at Dorset dialect as a thing of the past. Even Dorset’s motto is in the local dialect! Words still have great power in the county, as you’ll discover when you read why you must never give ‘underground mutton’ its proper name if you’re ever in Portland!
It’s all too easy to have a perception of a place and its dialect based on just a few aspects. Yet, like most places, the closer you look, the more there is to Dorset and its language. There’s no denying that Dorset is indeed a rural place with a rich agricultural past. But scratch away at the surface (and sadly we can only do this briefly here in this book) and you’ll discover a county which truly lives up to its motto. Where else would you find a place which is as significant for swans, as it is for its role in the beginnings of the trade union movement and of Trivial Pursuit?
Released: April 2015
Publisher: Bradwell Books
Size: 180 x 110mm
Author: Gill Newton