« PreviousContinue »
Readers of Nathan Hogg's poems will perceive that, as in East Somerset, so in Devon, long o is much broader in sound than with Our long oa is scarcely distinguishable from literary speech.
Like Italian and French we drop the first when two vowels come together, or rather slide the two into one, much more than in lit. English, as in
vur ae upmee
O in lit. Eng. is seldom
influence neighbouring vowels.
for a halfpenny.
too heavy for you.
go up and see.
= bow and arrow.
changed or dropped, nor does it
Compare go away, go in, go out,
go up, with our goo wai, geen, g-aew't, g-uup, or g-aup.
Wuz you to the show last night? No, they widn lat me g'in 'thout I paid shillin', and I could'n vord it. Nif I be able vor g-out doors next week, the work shall be a-doo'd. g-up and put'n to rights.
Our Jim shall
"In t'ouze" is the invariable form for "in the house." Maister home? Ees, I count a went in t'ouze by now. The very usual forms of narration are, So I zess, s-I. Zoa, a zess, s-ee. You baint gwain, b-ee ?-i. e. be ye. Mother's in t'ouze. Home t-our house. Up t-ēez place. Down t-Oun's moor. Come in t-arternoon. You can git'n in t'Hill's (t-ee'ulz). Mr. Hill t-Upton (t-uup'm) farm.
Abundant examples will be found in the text and in the Word Lists of all these varieties of vowel pronunciation.
B, and often d, before le are not sounded-we say buum'l, buunl, muuml, tuuml, truun·l, an·l, aaml, nee ul, for bumble, bundle, mumble, tumble, trundle, handle, amble, needle, &c.
Yet we find a redundant d inserted between r and 7, especially in monosyllables. In Mid. Eng. this was done in world, which we find written wordle by several writers-e. g. Langland, Trevisa,
&c., but this is peculiar, and its M. E. form seems to indicate from analogy of similar words in the dialect, that at that time as now the final d was dropped, and that the d in wordle is a redundant insertion, precisely similar to our modern vernacular, guur dl, maardl, kuur dl, puur dl, wuur dl, buur dl, Baaʼrdl, kwau rdl, for girl, marl, curl, purl, whirl, burl, Barle (river), quarrel, &c.
Words spelt alike in literature, but different in meaning, have often very distinct sounds in the dialect.
Quarrel, v. and sb., is always kwau'rdl. Quarrel, sb., a pane of glass, is kwau ryul.
On the other hand differences of sound in certain literary words do not exist with us. Hear, ear, here, year, are all alike-yuur. The following words of lit. English ending in y drop this termination in the dialect, notwithstanding the partiality for the sound shown in its general use as an infinitive inflection, marking the intransitive and frequentative form; also as a diminutive of nouns in words like lovy, deary, sweety, &c., and as a redundant, perhaps euphonic, insertion, in Foxydown, Dartymoor, &c.
Stud for study, v. t. and i. and sb.; car for carry, v. t.; dirt for dirty, v. t.; emp for empty, v. t.; slipper for slippery, adj.; store for story, sb.; ice for icy, adj.
I can't think nor stud what I shall do. In a riglur brown stud. You can't car't all to once. Tommy, mind you don't dirt your pinny. Your old Jim 'll emp cloam way one here and there. The road was that slipper, I thort never should'n ha comed 'ome. Purty store sure 'nough 'bout th' old Bob Snook's wive. I sure ee 'tis riglar ice cold.
The form of the possessive used by a native constantly distinguishes to whom he refers, when there is nothing in the context to show this.
[Aay yuurd Júm zai tu Jaak; neef ee ded'n lat loa'un dhai wauy'ts haun ee wuz daew'n een uun'dur ee'd braek-s aid,] I heard Jim say to Jack, if he did not leave alone the scales while he was underneath, he would break his head. Nothing here but the form of the possessive shows who's head would be broken. In the literary version, the implication decidedly is that of a threat that Jim would under certain conditions break Jack's head. Not so in the dialect. No ambiguity would arise. The use of the possessive pronoun his (when so contracted) is invariably reflective, and shows unerringly that it is Jim's own head that would be broken. On the other hand, the opposite meaning would be just as infallibly conveyed by
identically the same words, if only the his had but had ever so little stress upon it. "He'd break 'is aid," would express that there had been a distinct threat to Jack on the part of Jim. Another, and still more emphatic form of conveying the threat to Jack, would be, "he'd break th' aid o' un," i. e. that Jim would break Jack's head, and not that his own would be broken. We see then that the possessive masculine pronoun contracted and unstressed is reflective, while stressed it is objective. The feminine possessive being incapable of such modification would be reflective in meaning whether accentuated or not, and thus in order to narrate the threat it would be needful to say, "he'd break th' aid o'er." It should be noted that this contraction of the possessive his into a mere sibilant, is not consequent upon any influence of proximate consonants-" Bill cut-s vinger" means his own finger, while "Bill cut ees vinger," in the absence of all context, implies some one else's finger.
Stress again in the dialect comes in to mark differences in the meaning of homonyms, which in literary English are marked only by the context; for instance
"Well nif thick-s to good vor me, he-s to good vor 'ee too." This use of the two forms of too is invariable. When stress has to be laid upon the too, in the case of over and above, it is laid not on the adverb, as in literary English, but upon the adjective, e. g. to good, to bad, &c., while in the sense of likewise it is always tue-good too, bad too, &c. The aesthetic slang, quite too too, would therefore be in violation of dialectal usage, and be unintelligible.
Another expressive difference in stress is that commonly heard in the demonstratives this, these, when used with nouns signifying time, in the sense of during or for the space of.
[Aa'y aa'nt u-zeed-n z-wik], means, "I have not seen him for a week or more," but [aa'y aa'nt u-zee'd-n dhee'uz wik], means "I have not seen him during this current week," dating from Sunday last. The same applies to future as well as past construction "Your wagin 'ont be a-do'd-z-vortnight," means, it will not be finished for a fortnight, at least-while this fortnight in literary English would mean, during these particular two weeks.
On opening a cistern in the garden which needed cleansing, the man said to me, [u doa'n lèok s-auf ee'd u-bún u-tlai'nd aew-t-s yuurz,] he (the cistern) does not appear to have been cleaned out for many years past.-Nov. 9. 1883.
The demonstrative this here is often used as a phrase implying something new, or at least unfamiliar, and out of the common run. A tenant farmer, speaking of some repairs to the dairy window, said to me, They do zay how this here preforated sinc 's a sight better 'n lattin. This implied that the zinc was a new thing which he had heard of, but never proved. So one often hears sentences like the following-This here mowing o' wheat idn nit a quarter so good's th' old farshin reapin'.
Have ee a-yeard much about this here ensilage?
This here artificial idn nit a bit like good old ratted dung, about getting of a crop way.
This here Agricultural Holdings Act idn gwain to do no good to we farmers, nif we do keep on having cold lappery saisons.
This here bringing over o' fresh meat from America's gwain to be the finisher vor we; beef's 'most the only thing can zil like anything, and hon that's a-hat down, t'll be all over way farmerin. In each of these illustrations this here has the meaning of this new-fangled.
In adjectives we have a kind of hyper-superlative used chiefly for great emphasis, in which the superlative inflection is reduplicated, with or without most as a kind of make-weight.
I zim yours is the most beautifulestest place ever I zeed. The purtiestest maid in all the parish. The most ugliestest old fuller, 'sparshly (especially) hon 'is drunk. The irregular adjectives have the superlative inflections superadded almost regularly to their ordinary superlatives. The bestest drink in the town. The wús tees old thing vor falseness. The mostest ever I zeed, &c.
Some auxiliary verbs have no inflection in the past tense, in the dialect, e. g. to let (permit); to help; consequently instead of the principal verb being as usual in the infinitive mood-as, I let him see; I help(d) him do it; I let her have it; I help(d) mount him, we use the past tense of the principal verb instead of the infinitive, and so the past construction becomes unmistakable.
May 28, 1883.—A man said to me respecting a new tenant for a cottage he was quitting-He come to me and ax whe'er wadn nother 'ouse to let, and zo I let'n zeed the house to once. This man or any other native would say I let her had'n; I help 'm do'd it; I help mounted'n; I help measured'n for a new suit o' clothes; you mind you help me cleaned out thick pond. See HUTCH 3.
Inasmuch as [dúð·n] did not, is a present conditional form as
well as a past, so when used in a past construction it follows the rule of let and help. A woman would say I didn care, i. e. I should not care, nif I wadn so wake, but I never didn thought ever he'd a-sar'd me zo bad.
We see a strong analogy in this feeling that a past construction must be marked by a past inflection, in the hymen of Sir Ferumbras; in the thesem [dhee'uzm] of Dorset, where sing. and plural forms being alike, it seemed needful to add a plural inflection. See MUN.
It has over and over been given as a rule almost without exception (see VIII. A. 1, p. 4), that the past part. of all verbs is formed by the prefix a [u]. A peculiarity however not previously noted is that very frequently this prefix is separated from the verb to which it belongs by the insertion of the qualifying adverb, in phrases like the following-I was a proper overtookt. Joe've a fresh sharp the zaw. He'd a new lined the zaddle. I told ee how you was a vrong directed. Her zaid how he was a oncommon vexed o' it. I 'sure you the well was a well claned out.
In these sentences the words used could not be placed after the verbs-i. e. we could not say-Joe've sharp'd the saw afresh— anew; but it is possible our dialect form may suggest something as to the formation of such adverbs as afresh, anew, awry, &c.
In some cases and by some individuals the prefix is often used both before the adverb as above, and again before the verb. 'Vore I com'd home nif I wadn a proper a-tired out. The hedge had a-bin all a fresh a-made, and there, they hunters com'd along and tord'n all abroad.
Our intransitive verbs have an inflection which is only just referred to in p. 51 of W. S. Gram. It is us, and is quite peculiar to W. Som., or if not, I have not seen it alluded to by other observers. Not only is this inflection distinctly intransitive, but it is frequentative as well. A country girl would say of her occupation-I [zoa'us] sews long way mother and that. This would distinctly convey that she worked habitually with her mother at needlework. The form could not be used with a transitive construction, but is construed with all the persons except 2nd pers. sing.
They zess how they workus to factory. Her [ai tus] eats to vast by half. Our Handy always berkus so long's any strangers be about. We lookus vor the death o' her every day. They [chee'urmaek us] chairmakus-(i. e. work at chairmaking) nif they can get it. In all these cases the inflection distinctly conveys a continuance of action; and in certain districts is a commoner form