Talk:West Country English

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Why the capital A in Accent in the title of this artilce? Michael Hardy 01:22, 12 Jan 2005 (UTC)


The title of this article should really be "West Country dialect", not "accent".

No the article title is correct, because it is about the accent not the dialect (both of which are correct). An accent is the way words are pronounced, a dialect is the words that are used. Thryduulf 14:59, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Then what is this: "In various districts there are also distinct grammatical and syntactical differences"? Looks like a list of dialectal features to me!
I'd agree with that. Votes for retitling it anyone? MacRusgail 19:14, 24 Apr 2005 (UTC)
Count me in. Over half the article is about the language used, not the accent. 00:13, 20 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Yo Splash! This is a serious entry is it? This one isn't largely a joke? Come spend a weekend with us in Englands beautiful west, then you'll see where the joke lies. Armando aug16 2005

Moved to dialect[edit]

I have moved this page to "West Country dialects", as I believe this is where it belongs. I have added further information on literature and history, its relationship to Saxon dialects, and also mention the curious fact that in some circumstances it is closer to Standard German than Standard English is. In other words, I think that these dialects are worth far more attention, particular in terms of vocabulary, and not just as some comedy accent. I believe the English neglect the importance of their dialects when they see them merely as objects of derision, and "corruptions" of RP.--MacRusgail 13:11, 7 September 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Terminal "R"[edit]

The article talks about the "L" frequently added to words in the dialect. Is there any further info on the origin of the "R" found at the end of "my loveR"? Its one of the most obvious instances of dialect. Is this also a potential relic of West Anglo Saxon or Germanic routes? Any ideas? - (Nosh unsigned)

I think you can find info under rhoticism. --MacRusgail 20:12, 7 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Is anyone here interested in Zeaxysch? E-mail me at Nickxylas AT wmconnect DOT com if you share my interest.

I'm not sure if Zeaxysch belongs on this page or not, it's something slightly different. If it does get a mention here, it should be brief like that of West Saxon. --MacRusgail 13:18, 11 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have moved the Zeaxysch section to here. As a conlang, it is arguable if it belongs here or not, and seems to be beginning to overdominate the article. The examples are also somewhat odd, and the vocab section is badly laid out. --MacRusgail 17:49, 13 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In 2005, a book entitled Zeaxysch Vor To-dai: A Guide To New West Saxon (ISBN 1897999607), written by Robert Craig, was published by Joseph Biddulph Publishers. Zeaxysch is a "constructed" language (cf. Cornish) which draws heavily on Western dialect, Middle English,and the West Saxon form of old English, but adds a "purified" orthography which reintroduces the Old English letter "þ" and uses the letter "w" purely as a vowel. Reversing the usual English practice "y" is used for the vowel and "i" for the consonant ("yogh").Zeaxysch orthography also uses some unusual letter combinations, such as "vp" to replace "w" (based on the visual similarity of the letter "p" to the Anglo-Saxon rune "wynn", which has the same phonetic value as "w"), "cg" to replace "ch", and "zgh" (pronounced like the French "j" or the "g" in beige) to replace "sh" initially. This "conlang" has attracted some academic interest among Wessex regionalist groups, but there are at present no serious proposals formally to adopt it as a spoken or written language.

examples: aspirates: rhode/road, rhyng/ring; lhand/land, lhowd/loud; phat/what, phare/where.

Dost zeo en? Phare be en* to? Er be comycal. Er be o zyder drynker, er be. - Byst rhyit?

translation: Do you see him? Where is he? He is strange. He is a cider drinker. - Are you right?

( *grammatically,"er")

some vocabulary: how/how.snovp/snow.cnovp/know.cnovped/knew.vpater/water.vpycch/witch.phych/which.vader/father. ynowih/enough.morihen/morning.zghyb/ship.o/a.on/ arelych/early.dailych/daily.iefve/give.teche/teach.teched/taught.cgangie/change(noun).cgangiy/change(verb).vort/until.vur/far.vermer/farmer.zeo/see.zum/some.zun/son.zunne/sun.gode/ aien/again.aiense/against.howzen/houses.gurt/large.vpol/well.vpul/will.iyss/yes.iede/went.vpusch/wish.jhuggi/judge(noun).jhuggiy/judge(verb).zeoed/saw.vpurch/work.vorch/fork.kebe/keep.kebed/kept. lhufve/love.lhove/loaf.lhofve/ zot/sat.zyve/scythe.vacch/thatch.bufve/above.cuss/kiss.zdur/star.ete/eat.efven/indeed. eme/uncle.eaveruchone/everyone.garse/grass.urn/run.ufvel/evil.urthlore/geology. vysch/fish(noun).vyschy/fish(verb).vyschyi/fishy(adjective).vpwd/wood(noun).vpwdyi/woody(adjective).vpeod/weed(noun).vpeody/weed(verb).vpeodyi/weedy(adjective).tothe/tooth.clomb/climbed.vocch/fetched.zghoan/shoes.zghy/pair of shoes.zghene/beautiful.umb/around,about.urned/ran.unvaier/ugly.vol/full.vole/foal.vorst/frost. vreond/friend.vpulvol/wilful.vpolc/cloud.bleo/complexion.byst/thou art.y/me.chom/I am.chafve/I,e/you(subject).eovp,eo/you(object).drang/throng.drasch/thresh.dred/thread.dreo/three.hys/his,its.hyt/it.hafve/have,has.

Dorset, Gloucestershire, Bristol[edit]

I'm interested to know why these three were left out of the list in the introductory section. Dorset is mentioned at some length in the article itself. Can anyone comment?

If nobody comes up with an argument against, I may add them into the area covered by West Country dialect. Chris Jefferies 22:50, 15 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

All three are mentioned within the article, and should be IMO. The only other thing is that the eastern boundaries of the West Country are not well defined, and some folk wouldn't include the two counties you mention. As for Bristol, it is a large city, and these nearly always have different dialects to the rural hinterland. --MacRusgail 19:01, 16 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I made the changes, taking MacRusgail's comments into account. In particular I've noted that the northern and eastern limits of the area are ill-defined. It's true that the Bristol accent is different from the surrounding rural areas, but it's still a clearly West Country dialect sharing many of the same local words, phrases, accent, and constructions. Chris Jefferies 17:24, 22 April 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Studies show...[edit]

There's a small paragraph about studies into trustworthy accents. Should that have a cited source? Triangl 11:56 (BST)

West Country dialects and counties[edit]

Can it be proven that some of the words listed as north Somerset, Devon etc actually erive from that specific area? In Wiltshire "chuggy pig" is the name given to woodlice, "cuss" is used in the same way in black patois as it is in north Somerset apparently. Hmmmm. "Bulling" is a term we actually learnt in science, and farmers in nationwide commonly use the term. Can it really be proven to derive from that specific area? To say "oooh arrr" comes from Devon is ridiculous. I think that section needs a good clear up. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Nimrod379 (talkcontribs) 15:41, 4 January 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Language is notoriously mobile, and if we were to be really pedantic, I suppose we could argue that some of these words originate in Normandy, France, Saxony, the Netherlands, Rome etc... or the Steppes long before that!!! "Oo ar!", I suppose is probably more linked with Somerset in the popular mind, thanks largely to the Worzels. Many dialects share words that are not found in national standards, e.g. "ax"/"axe" for "ask". That is found in many dialects of English... you can hear it in the songs of Bob Marley, and you can find it in medieval English literature. In fact, it's a form which can be traced back to Anglo-Saxon quite nicely. --MacRusgail 17:07, 7 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well that is what I am trying to say - if you are saying that they can be traced back to the Steppes (!), then why limit saying that it originates from Somerset? Just because "oo ar" has entered common popular consciousness thanks to the Wurzels, it doesn't mean that the term originated with them. Surely to list the words using specific evidence in the form of the first recorded usage of that word or phrase is the best way, otherwise list the word or phrase "West country". It is an archaic publication, but you may be interested in reading (if you havn't already) "Wilkinson Sherren's The Wessex of Romance (London: Chapman & Hall, 1902)" - an extract is here: --Nimrod379 23:07, 10 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The counties, or parts of counties, listed next to the vocabulary section seem to me to be totally ridiculous. The author is obviously from northern Somerset and believes these terms to be exclusive to his locality, which is very far from true. These counties have to be either clarified or removed from the glossary. What kind of permission does one need to go ahead and do this?

The mentions of the interjection "Oo arr" also make me cringe, as nobody actually says this and I believe it to be a total misunderstanding of West Country English phonetics. There is the interjection "Oh ahh!" which is an older generation equivalent of the modern "Ahh right!". My grandparents use this, though I think younger people avoid it because it sounds like the "Oo arr" of stereotype.CFear 01:33, 25 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Ar" means "yes" in parts of Wiltshire and Somerset and I imagine it probably turns up with the same meaning in other areas too. I hear it sometimes in the villages around places like Bath, Corsham, Chippenham, Calne, Devizes, and so on, even sometimes from young people. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:54, 1 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Less emphasis on German, more on Anglo-Saxon[edit]

It's a bit misleading to emphasize the connections between West Country speech and German, when the latter resemblance is due to the retention of Germanic linguistic features absent from Standard English. For example, the a- prefix in "If I'd a-know'd " is really Anglo-Saxon ge (pronounced "ye") which serves the same purpose as modern German ge (pronounced with a hard g). The connections between Westcountry speech and German are much more apparent when one knows the Anglo-Saxon connections. --Saforrest 01:02, 10 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The point is not to claim that these dialects derive from Hochdeutsch, but rather that what is ridiculed in English dialect, can sometimes have a high register in German e.g. "I been" or "I ken"--MacRusgail 17:43, 11 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Ich bin" is the verb to be in the present tense, not the past tense as in "I been", but rather as in "I be". This should be made clear on the page. We could also explore the link between the Anglo-Saxon "unc" ("we" for only two people, not more) and the use of "us" as the subject. Subsequently, when referring to only two people, a phrase like "Us is going" is not historically without precedent. CFear 00:30, 28 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Britain this and that[edit]

There are a number of references to "throughout Britain" etc. I can say straight off that this is not true. There is increasing prestige to a Welsh accent, and in Scotland regional accents and dialects have much more dignity than south of the Border IMHO.--MacRusgail 12:05, 26 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'd have to agree with this, at least partly. In Wales and Scotland in recent years there has grown a greater sense of separate and/or individual ethnic and political identity. Along with this comes the fear of sounding "too English" with respect to Received Pronunciation. As a parallel to this there is also the case that in England there is also the fear of sounding "too posh", however the fundamental difference is that in England this is class-related, which I would say reinforces the notion of regional accents being associated with the lower class. CFear 00:26, 28 February 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


In the vocab section I took out some of the area labels, because they seemed too specific. ProfPirate 02:45, 7 May 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Irish in Somerset[edit]

The article says that there is evidence for Irish settlement "especially in Somerset". There is evidence for settlement in Devon and Cornwall but what evidence is there for Somerset? 12:56, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

The settlement of Beckory derives its name from Becc Eriu (Beag Eire) meaning Little Ireland. This is one of the few Gaelic names south of Scotland, or Gwynedd.--MacRusgail 17:37, 22 June 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Beckery, not Beckory, is derived from Anglo_saxon words meaning beekeeper's island. When Irish monks came later to Glastonbuty it was interpreted by them as Irish but erroneously. The chief influence of the Irish in the West Country is in Cornwall, as shown by ogam inscriptions. Adresia (talk) 17:24, 5 May 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

other influences[edit]

Are there any dialectal words/grammar with influences in other languages (have brythonic and anglo-saxon/germanic (obv))? BLM86.158.135.224 BLM —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:00, 27 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

cornish paragraph[edit]

Made some (minor) changes here, I think making is more understandable/ less potentially misleading.

  • Have avoided whole what is a monoglot issue (Is someone who got a D at french GCSE in school bilingual?) by giving a summary af when it likely stopped being used, rather than having to put in a huge amount of (for the basis of the article) irrelevent information and definition to basically let the reader know the same thing.

Beware that there are a lot of myths/misunderstandings/different interpretations of 'who was the last cornish speaker?' The fact is we don't really know, but to explain what we Do know in an honest and clear manner would take too long in an article which is, after all, about english not cornish.

  • Put in what I think is the important bit for this article which is words being adopted by english (dialect) speakers I put a plural dialect because of industry related (fishing) usage, west penwith and other cases. Don't know if this was really ness.
  • Slightly reworded prayer book rebellion passage, just to make it flow & be less confusing, same info in it.


Devon pronunciation of "Bath"[edit]

According to "The Linguistic Dialect of England" by Widdowson, there were still large areas of Devon that said "bath" with the short a, as is used in Northern England and Scotland, in the 1960s. Not even the West Country /a:/ but the flat /a/. Is this still used anymore? Perhaps, this is worth a mention? Epa101 (talk) 14:15, 20 February 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I know as recently as 70s my dad's family (as far up as Wiltshire)pronounced certain words like "castle" with the short "a" (not really even the west country short "a" as in Bath but pretty imperceptible to my ears from the northern english "a") which sounded pretty alien to my south -eastern/London area (so definitely long "a") ears.


Standard German; Somerset; Standard British English Ich bin; I be/A be; I am Du bist; Thee bist; You are (archaic "Thou art") Er ist; He be; He is

OK, the first two make sense. But how in the world is "He be" considered more like "Er ist" than like "He is"? It makes no sense. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:19, 12 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think it is a comparison. In many points, the Somerset dialect bears similarities to German, but not in all.--MacRusgail (talk) 15:48, 12 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Help improve our long-awaited Wikiproject[edit]

Please join our project to upgrade Gloucestershire-related articles to featured status.  Mike |talk 16:24, 30 November 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Article name in plural[edit]

Why is this article name in plural? Shouldn't it be West Country dialect, similar to Cumbrian dialect, Kentish dialect, Norfolk dialect, etc.? Jay (talk) 12:48, 22 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Possibly because Cumbria, Kent and Norfolk are single counties; the term 'West country' embraces many counties and many dialects.There isn't *one* West country dialect. ♦ Jongleur100 talk 13:02, 22 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(ec) I don't think that there is a single "west country dialect" - certainly, many of the dialect words I grew up with in Cornwall would be incomprehensible to most pepole in Somerset. DuncanHill (talk) 13:04, 22 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Makes sense. However there are usages where the singular "West Country dialect" is being used. I get the impression that all the dialects refer to a combined entity in common usage. See articles where "West Country dialect" is being used - International Talk Like a Pirate Day, Lorna Doone, Harry Potter in translation, Emmet (Cornish), Culture of Bristol. Basically I encountered the issue when I wanted to wikilink the term in Bungee jumping and found that the article name is in plural. Jay (talk) 13:18, 22 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Emmet should link to Cornish dialect - I don't think it occurs in other parts of the region. The Bristol dialect and accent is highly distinctive. A redirect from West Country dialect to West Country dialects would make sense, but not the other way round. DuncanHill (talk) 13:23, 22 April 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A few people say emmet where I'm from (North Wiltshire) but here it just means ant. Kind of like how chucky pig/chuchy pig is another name for a woodlouse. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:45, 1 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agree with Jongleur's comment. It's arguable whether they form a single dialect. They are really a group of similar dialects. But then again Bristolian has quite different features to the dialects of its rural hinterland - as many city vernaculars do. I think there should be a separate article on Cornish dialect, partly because it is the most distinct variety, and also because it is the one place with continuous influence from another language for the best part of a thousand years. (900-1800)--MacRusgail (talk) 15:21, 22 April 2009 (UTC) p.s. as regard the Harry Potter stuff... Americans keep on talking about a "British accent". There's actually no such thing.Reply[reply]

Just to close this, West Country dialects was moved to West Country English in 2015. Jay (Talk) 06:55, 29 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

See Also: The Wurzels?[edit]

Is this here for any reason other than a practical joke? They're not the only band in the world to have a west country accent or make use of dialectical words peculiar to the region. Unless anyone objects I'd like to remove it in the interests of maintaining a serious tone. ▫Bad▫harlick♠ 00:35, 3 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Erm, the fact that they're probably one of the best known examples in popular culture qualifies them. I don't know what exactly you mean by "maintaining a serious tone". This article doesn't have to be boring.--MacRusgail (talk) 17:22, 3 January 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well ok, there was also Fred and The Yetties. But it was Adge and the Wurzels who gave the name to that genre. By far the most commercially successful. "The Combine Harvester" was a 1976 UK number 1. Martinevans123 (talk) 09:25, 29 August 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Southern USA Connection[edit]

It is my understanding that the west country accent had a good deal of influence on the Southern USA accent. If not the main influence on the southern accent. As most of the early settlers of virginia and the carolinas were from here. Is this true can anyone verify this? (talk) 17:29, 14 July 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More so in New England, IMHO.--MacRusgail (talk) 20:47, 14 July 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Really? I don't think so. I'm familiar with the Dorset/Somerset/points-west accents and dialects, and I have to disagree. You will find that the early settlers of Virginia and the Carolinas were a mixed bag, including other countries such as Germany as well as what are known as "Scot-Irish". — Preceding unsigned comment added by Twistlethrop (talkcontribs) 07:48, 3 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Pronunciation of standard English /əu/[edit]

I was on holiday in Devon two years ago, where it struck me how hard to understand these people could be. In a restaurant en route, the waitress brought me a light Cola which she referred to as diet cake. Is the pronunciation of standard English /əu/ as [ei] another feature of the West Country dialects? Steinbach (talk) 11:30, 28 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Isn't that rather a feature of modern Estuary English? I have heard similar pronunciations on a visit to London recently. As a non native speaker, I found it hard not to mix up road and raid, put and pit or choose and cheese. Unoffensive text or character (talk) 11:48, 28 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Quite possible, Estuary English is heard all over the country nowadays. But the Estuary English article doesn't say, and Cockney gives [æu] and [æː] as possible realisations, not [ei]. Btw thanks for your quick reply. Steinbach (talk) 12:01, 28 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This may be complete rubbish on my part but the waitress could have been working there as a student and maybe be from a family of newcomers to the area and in that case invariably be middle class and therefore never having spoken with a West Country accent - in that case she probably spoke in the estuary accent adopted by many such people throughout England. as I say this may be well wide of the mark but I've never heard that pronunciation from anyone who does have a genuine West Country accent. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:06, 14 May 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I though of the sound changes described [here], esp.: The Teletotty accent does appalling violence to all vowels. "U" is flattened to "yee", as in "Thank yee". "O" is mangled in two different ways - either lengthened in the manner once confined to antipodeans, so that "no" becomes "no-yoo", or else squashed into an A so that "road" becomes "raid". "Two" becomes "tuy", "put" becomes "pih" and "good" becomes "gid".Unoffensive text or character (talk) 16:32, 30 June 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Love, My Love, Luvver[edit]

I added an explanation of these terms being used towards strangers, to prevent any grockles getting confused over their summer hols :) I'm not really sure on the origin of the differences between them though, so if anyone could shed any light on that would be useful. I'm originally from West Dorset and everyone there says "my love" and sometimes just "love", I also lived in Exeter for a few years where "luvver" or "my luvver" seems to be the norm. Is "luvver" just a different pronunciation of "lover" that has been picked up by common parlance? What about sometimes having "my" between them? Lucaspiller (talk) 08:57, 16 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


A "dubious" tag has been added to "Blooth — A blossom (Welsh blodyn)" as an example of Brythonic words surviving in Devon dialect. Can anyone help to cast any light on this?— Rod talk 11:09, 19 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Blooth" is certainly a Devon word - [1], [2] - but I haven't seen any sources giving its origin. Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:38, 19 December 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have now removed this. If anyone has a reference they can put this back.— Rod talk 12:05, 14 February 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Split of the article into an article about the dialect and another about the mixture of the standard language and the dialect[edit]


this article covers both the dialect and the mixture of the standard language and the dialect. Kind regards,

Sarcelles (talk) 09:09, 22 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • I see no real reason for splitting the article. It is comprehensive and informative. David J Johnson (talk) 13:01, 1 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • In practice, the difference between 'standard language spoken with an accent' and a dialect can be quite blurry. (talk) 16:23, 3 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • I certainly wouldn't know the difference and I suspect that for most people having all the information in one place is more helpful.— Rod talk 20:08, 6 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]
A single article covering both aspects is more useful to the general reader; two separate articles might be valid in a linguistic encyclopaedia but Wikipedia is for all who can understand any form of English.--Johnsoniensis (talk) 10:29, 9 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As everyone seems to be against this split can we remove the banner?— Rod talk 14:57, 10 September 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The pirate connection?[edit]

The West Country dialect isn't just associated with farmers. It's frequently used in television and cinematic depictions of stereotypical olde worlde pirates real and imagined. Just have a watch of the Pirates of the Caribbean series as a contemporary example. Oo arr me hearties! I'm assuming the history of piracy in Cornwall and Bristol (Blackbeard) spawned the association which persists today. Is it worth mentioning somewhere? (talk) 03:59, 24 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

You didn't get to the bottom of the article then?--Ykraps (talk) 05:52, 24 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Whoops, missed that bit, thank you. I guess because it's at the end of the 'social stigma' section where I wouldn't have expected it to be. Not sure it qualifies as stigma these days, mind you. (talk) 15:57, 25 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree it's not where one would expect to find it but it's difficult to see where else it could go.--Ykraps (talk) 13:32, 27 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Not every pirate sounded like Robert Newton (himself born in North Dorset). A fair number were of Welsh origin, which suggests a very different accent indeed. But it is true that the various West Country accents as well as dialects (there are several) are different than Hollywood would have people believe, and are not at all as rustic as is commonly thought. Bristol? Now there's a different one entirely. Twistlethrop (talk) 07:54, 3 June 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In literature?[edit]

Does anyone have a better title for this section? It's not exclusively about literature.--Ykraps (talk) 13:32, 27 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, does Hagrid have a West Country accent in the books or is this only how Robbie Coltrane portrays him in the films?--Ykraps (talk) 13:35, 27 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Can we find a clip of someone less controversial to use as the audio sample?[edit]

On a page with no real connection to Burchill beyond her accent surely it'd be better to use a clip of someone less controversial's speech? To leave her voice sample in could imply that all people who speak with her accent share her attitudes, which could at best be seen as an unintentional breach of neutral point of view and at worst could be seen by some as insulting. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:01, 25 February 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]


The article claims that metathesis occurs only when constonant + 'r' precedes a vowel. It certainly does occur in that situation, but as a native speaker (born Isle of Wight) I can state that metathesis also commonly occurs in words like 'wopse' = 'wasp', the former the standard form in my youth. I don't have data on other examples, but it's surely more prevalent than the article claims Chrismorey (talk) 20:36, 8 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article mentions wopse in the J A Garton quotation under "History and origins". It's not metathesis, but rather the retention of the Old English word. DuncanHill (talk) 22:52, 8 January 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Cornish language "dying out [as a first language] in the 18th century"[edit]

Are we certain of this (stated at the end of "Early Period")? I remember that in the 1950s there was occasional mention of an old woman whose family had still been using Cornish fairly exclusively in the home when she was young, in IIRC, the 1870s-80s. She had therefore learned it as a first language, and those now encouraging the revival of the language were pretty sure she was the last such person. Having discovered her, they were picking her brains about it, and she was joyful at having someone she could speak it to after some years since anyone else in her village had wanted to speak it. She admitted her Cornish was a bit rusty, but she was remembering more and more as she spoke it. I think she died some time in the 60s.

(I'm not sure that too much should be made of the rusty idiolect of one person from IIRC the west of Cornwall, when there was a fair amount of information available about usage in the rest of the West Country in earlier years, but I suppose it was interesting to see how the language had developed in the years of the steam locomotive, motor car, aeroplanes, etc, and academics would be able to deduce with a reasonable accuracy what the development in her idiolect would mean for the language generally. In the 18th century, the language would have reacted to the invention of a steam pump which barely worked, by a Devon man Thomas Savery, and the recent improvement of it by another Devon man, Thomas Newcomen, who developed it into something capable of pumping water from the very deep Cornish tin mines. But the Devon invention of the railway locomotive (by Richard Trevithick) and the other transport uses on road and sea, and for ploughing, were still in the future.)

IIRC the woman believed that all her ancestors in an unbroken line had learned Cornish as a first language. Of course, she might have been wrong -- I never thought to ask my grandparents anything at all about their grandparents; we know where a few of them lived, but little or nothing else about them. Would she have known if her great-great-grandparents had been brought up speaking English, and then, in a late 18th century revival, decided to learn Cornish and bring future generations up to speak it? After all, the revivalists of the mid-20th century revival were energised by knowing she was the last native-speaker. It might have been the same for her twice-great grandparents.

But somewhere in the BBC archives should be notes of an interview with her saying she was the last of an unbroken line. If anyone can find that, or other records of her, that would at least be a reason to say that the "died out in the 18th century" statement was disputed by some. Enginear (talk) 07:41, 8 April 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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