« PreviousContinue »
WEST SOMERSET WORD-BOOK.
DIALECTAL AND ARCHAIC WORDS AND PHRASES
USED IN THE
WEST OF SOMERSET AND EAST DEVON.
FREDERIC THOMAS ELWORTHY,
MEMBER OF COUNCIL OF THE PHILOLOGICAL SOCIETY,
"In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold;
Pope, Essay on Criticism.
TRÜBNER & CO., LUDGATE HILL.
All rights reserved.
ALTHOUGH the work of observing and recording peculiarities of native speakers may fairly be considered as original research, yet the labours of those who have before done the same thing in other districts are of immense value to an observer, and therefore it is fitting that acknowledgment of the obligation should be placed in the very fore-front of these pages.
The various workers of the Dialect Society are of the greatest use to each other, by reason of their bringing the folk-speech of different localities into a sort of focus; and thus they suggest to an observer what he should look for in his own. The greatest difficulty to be dealt with is not that of becoming familiar with local speech, but of deciding what is provincial or dialectal, and what is standard English--for nowadays so many novelists and other writers employ words and forms of expression they know more or less as being used in the place they are dealing with. These words, however, are not literary English, nor are they slang; yet from frequent use they have become current, although they have not yet found their way into dictionaries, nor will they until Dr. Murray's gigantic task is finally completed. These writers are, unconsciously, but steadily, building up a sort of conventional literary dialect, containing a little of several, but not confined to any one in particular. Whether this will tend to the improvement of literature, or the true knowledge of the English language, is beyond the scope of this Word-Book.
For any particular detail in the following pages I am unconscious of being indebted to any of the Glossarists who have preceded me, but to all I am obliged for many suggestions.
Long experience has now convinced me of that which I put forward in my first paper on the subject, in 1875, that our