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Idn a more gapmouthéder gurt doke in all the parish.
Jim, nif thee artn the most vorgetfulest fuller ever I'd a-got ort to doin way in all my born days! See MORE, Most.
Not is regularly placed before yet in negative sentences.
I baint gwain not eet, is the usual form of I am not going yet. See SLEWED.
There are many phrases in use which are mere redundancies, and merely serve to fill up the sentences of those whose ideas run short. Such as in a manner o' spakin'. See MANNER. Eens mid zay-i. e. so to say. TINO! ZINO! &c.
In suffixes we have -ish, which can be applied to any adjective or adverb without adding one iota to its meaning. That there's a goodish lot o' sheep. thick farm, &c.
Plainish sort o' groun' 'pon
Sometimes, however, this termination has the force of rather, or inclined to be, but there is nothing to show this except intonation or context. See -ISH.
Er is also a very common addition, as in LEDGER, LEGger, LARK'S LEERS, TOERS, &c.
It is usual to hear a man who is going to throw down anything from a scaffold call out, "Mind yer headers!" Summerleys is often pronounced zummerlee-urs.
Est is constantly added to the superlative, particularly of the irregular adjectives. The leastest bit out, is the commonest of phrases. That's the bestest ever I zeed. See Wis.
Our few plurals in en are very usually duplicated by the addition of s. Oxen is rather a fine word, and seldom used, but when it is, we say oxens.
There was a fine lot o' fat bullicks there, and most o'm was oxens too. Rexens is now the common plural of REX. See S 10.
A curious feature is the redundant d inserted in or at the end of most words, after a liquid when followed by a short vowel; also between and I, as smallder, tallder, tailder, pa'alder (parlour), firmder, SCRAMDER, fineder, cornder, zoonder, varder, vurder, lickerdish (liquorice), and in girɗdl, mardl, MERDLY, QUARDLE, Bardle river Barle, surdly, &c.
A redundant is always sounded in words ending in ation; the
long a being invariably fractured and r added Also in all words having ash in them, r is inserted. As arshen-tree, arshes, warsh, larsh, splarsh, marsh, &c., while on the other hand from those words, which in lit. Eng. have the r, we eliminate it—as in haash, maash, for harsh, marsh, &c.
Final d or 1, being the past weak inflection, are added redundantly to the strong forms of a great many verbs; as in bornd, tor'd, wor'd wore, tookt, brokt, &c., but these will be found to be dealt with more at length later on. For ill. see MINNIKIN, NATTLed 2, MIRSCHY, NECK OF THE FCOT, PIECEN, SCRAG 1.
A possessive s is inserted between two nouns, when the first is used to qualify the second, as though we said cannon's ball. I believe a rustic would give that form if the object were familiar enough to be spoken of commonly with his fellows; but I cannot say I have heard it. It is however quite usual to speak of day's light for daylight, the barn's door, barn's floor planch, the hill's See SAFE.
tap, the mill's tail, &c.
Initial s is prefixed to many words, and for them has become the regular form, as in scrawl crawl, scrumpling, snotch, splatSee S 2.
i. e. plot, sprong, squinsy, &c. N is a redundant initial to naunt, n(h)our, nuncle, and can hardly be held to be owing to the M. E. confusion of the terminal of the adjective an with the initial vowel of the following word, because in the dialect we do not recognize an at all. It may be, however, that the few words to which this refers, have come down from M. E. times; they are of course analogous to the nyen of the Boke of Curtasye (11. 25, 116, 324), and others of about the same date.
We always place a redundant a before plenty and worth; this use is without exception among dialect speakers. See I. A. 4.
I can't think where all the parsley's a-go to, we'd a-got a plenty avore Kirsmas, and now idn a mossle-bit. See PLENTY, Z 3, SPOT. This a is an undoubted adjective, and its use idiomatic, but the constant a before worth is not so certain.
Thick idn a wo'th tuppence. Hon I come t' onheal the tatycave, they was all a-vrosted eens they wadn a wo'th a cobbler's There seems an implication in this use, that worth is the p. part. of some verb. Whether this is a survival of the Ang.-Sax. weordan, to become, to be, so long obsolete in literature, I will not pretend to decide. See WORTH, LISSOM, LEARINESS, NEAR 2, PIECEN, RAP 4.
The redundant use of the participial prefix a [u] before both
adverb and past part. has been already dealt with in this Introduction (p. xx), and also under VIII. A. 1, p. 5.
Another superfluous a, which is probably a contraction of on or in, but is none the less redundant, is placed before certain adverbs or adverbial phrases, denoting situation. I baint gwain vor t'ave it a-do'd a thick there farshin. See IV. A. 1 (c), p. 3.
As regards the changes which occur in the folk-speech, they are naturally too minute and gradual to attract attention, if measured only by the observation of single observers, even if those should happen to spread over a lifetime, because in the first place no exact standard was in existence by which to start from, and secondly, because in the experience of one individual, the changes will generally only have taken place so slowly, and he will have become so unconsciously accustomed to them, that even a good memory and minute observation will fail to recognize them. The present epoch of our history is however in this respect exceptional. The Education Act has forced the knowledge of the three R's upon the population, and thereby an acquaintance in all parts of the country with the same literary form of English, which it has been the aim and object of all elementary teachers to make their pupils consider to be the only correct one. The result is already becoming manifest, and though less in degree, is analogous to that which we are told exists in China. There is one written language understood by all, while the inhabitants of distant parts may be quite unintelligible to each other vivâ voce.
Apart from this, it is to be expected that universal instruction in reading and writing would certainly have a more marked effect on, and cause more perceptible change. in, the spoken words, than would have been the case in the same period of time not under the same powerful influence, and it is, and will be, both interesting and instructive to watch these developments in all parts of the country.
Not the least valuable result of the labours of the Dialect Society will have been in the provision, more or less minute and exact, of a standard at a certain date by which these changes may in future be tested. The present writer is of opinion that they will be found greater than is generally supposed; and yet that those changes. will not in all, or in most cases, be found to take the precise direction of levelling or uniformity, which at first sight would appear to be most probable.
Twelve or fourteen years ago, when the dialect of West Somerset was first brought into notice, and its pronunciation carefully recorded by the aid of some of the most accomplished and painstaking of living phonologists, a carefully prepared list was made (see W. S. Gram. p. 48) of verbs which, originally strong, have the weak termination superadded to the past participle, and also in the past tense when a vowel follows, or when the verb ends in r. At that time, as stated (Ib. p. 49), this list was exhaustive, and probably elementary teaching had not then had very much time to influence and work changes. Now, however, the children have all learnt to read, and have been taught the "correct" form of all the verbs they use. The girl would come home, and her mother would say, "Lize! you didn ought to a-wear'd your best shoes to school." Eliza would say, "Well, mother, I wore my tothers all last year, and they be a-wore out." In this way parents become familiar with the strong forms of literary verbs, but they have no notion of dropping the past inflection to which they have always been accustomed, while at the same time they wish to profit by their children's "schoolin." Consequently the next time the occasion arrives, Eliza is told she should have a-wor'd her tother hat, &c., and thus wor'd and a-wor'd, woa urd, uwoa urd, soon become household words with the parents; and the same or a like process is repeated by them with respect to other words all through their vocabulary. All children naturally copy their parents' accent, tone, and sayings; indeed I have often recognized childrens' parentage by some family peculiarity of speech quite as much as by physical resemblance. Consequently the schoolteaching sets the model for written language, and home influence that for every-day talk. The result is that at the present moment our people are learning two distinct tongues-distinct in pronunciation, in grammar and in syntax. A child, who in class or even at home can read correctly, giving accent, aspirates (painfully), intonation, and all the rest of it, according to rule, will at home, and amongst his fellows, go back to his vernacular, and never even deviate into the right path he has been taught at school. By way of illustration to these remarks, attention is asked to the list of strong verbs now used with the weak inflection superadded, which is not now given as exhaustive, but as only containing words actually heard.
Let this list here set down in the same order as noted, containing thirty-two fresh words, be compared with the former one above
referred to containing ten, and it will be conceded that Board School teaching is scarcely tending to the destruction of peculiarities of spoken English.
In the foregoing list it will be noted that the verb to strike has two very distinct meanings, and that the difference is well marked by the pronunciation, although in both the double inflection is used. Another curious distinction is, the two compounds of think in the past tense