Regional variation of pronunciation in the south-west of England

Regional variation of pronunciation in the south-west of England






Part I. The Specific Features of dialects

1. What is the dialect?4

2. Geographic dialects5

3. Dialectal change and diffusion...5

4. Unifying influences on dialects..8

5. Focal, relic, and transitional areas..9

6. Received Pronunciation.9

7. Who first called it PR?.10

8. Social Variation11

9. Dialects of England: Traditional and Modern..12

Part II. Background to the Cornish Language

1. Who are the Cornish?...15

2. What is a Celtic Language?.15

3. How is Cornish Related to other Celtic Languages?...15

4. The Decline of Cornish15

5. The Rebirth of Cornish16

6. Standard Cornish..16

7. Who uses Cornish Today?...16

8. Government Recognition for Cornish..16

Part III. Peculiarities of South-Western Dialects


1. Consonantism...23

2. Grammar..27

3.1 Nouns.27

3.2 Gender27

3.2.1 Gender making in Wessex-type English.27

3.3 Numerals29

3.4 Adjectives...29

.5 Pronouns.30

3.5.1 Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns

in a Devonshire


3.6 Verbs...39

3.7 Adverbs...42

3.8 Transitivity and intransivity in the dialects

of South-West England...44

4. Vocabulary..52





The modern English language is an international language nowadays. It

is also the first spoken language of such countries as Australia, New

Zealand, Canada, South Africa.

But in the very United Kingdom there are some varieties of it, called

dialects, and accents.

The purpose of the present research paper is to study the

characteristic features of the present day dialect of the South-Western

region in particular.

To achieve this purpose it is necessary to find answers to the

following questions:

- What is the dialect?

- Why and where is it spoken?

- How does it differ from the standard language?

Methods of this research paper included the analysis of works of the

famous linguists and phoneticians as Peter Trudgill and J.K. Chambers,

Paddock and Harris, J.A. Leuvensteijn and J.B. Berns, M.M. Makovsky and

D.A. Shakhbagova, and also the needed information from Britannica and the

encyclopedia by David Crystal and the speech of the native population of

Devonshire and Wiltshire.

Structurally the paper consists of three parts focused on the

information about the dialect in general and the ways it differs from the

standard language (its phonetic, grammar and other linguistic differences),

and the specific features of the South-West of England.

The status of the English language in the XXth century has undergone

certain changes. Modern English has become a domineering international

language of nowadays.

PART I. The Specific Features of dialects.

1. What is the dialect?

Dialect is a variety of a language. This very word comes from the

Ancient Greek dialectos discourse, language, dialect, which is derived

from dialegesthai to discourse, talk. A dialect may be distinguished from

other dialects of the same language by features of any part of the

linguistic structure - the phonology, morphology, or syntax.

The label dialect, or dialectal, is attached to substandard speech,

language usage that deviates from the accepted norm. On the other hand the

standard language can be regarded as one of the dialects of a given

language. In a special historical sense, the term dialect applies to a

language considered as one of a group deriving from a common ancestor, e.g.

English dialects. (9, p.389)

It is often considered difficult to decide whether two linguistic

varieties are dialects of the same language or two separate but closely

related languages; this is especially true of dialects of primitive


Normally, dialects of the same language are considered to be mutually

intelligible while different languages are not. Intelligibility between

dialects is, however, almost never absolutely complete; on the other hand,

speakers of closely related languages can still communicate to a certain

extent when each uses his own mother tongue. Thus, the criterion of

intelligibility is quite relative. In more developed societies, the

distinction between dialects and related languages is easier to make

because of the existence of standard languages and, in some cases, national


There is the term vernacular among the synonyms for dialect; it

refers to the common, everyday speech of the ordinary people of a region.

The word accent has numerous meanings; in addition to denoting the

pronunciation of a person or a group of people (a foreign accent, a

British accent, a Southern accent). In contrast to accent, the term

dialect is used to refer not only to the sounds of language but also to its

grammar and vocabulary.

2. Geographic dialects.

The most widespread type of dialectal differentiation is geographic.

As a rule, the speech of one locality differs from that of any other place.

Differences between neighbouring local dialects are usually small, but, in

travelling farther in the same direction, differences accumulate.

Every dialectal feature has its own boundary line, called an isogloss

(or sometimes heterogloss). Isoglosses of various linguistic phenomena

rarely coincide completely, and by crossing and interweaving they

constitute intricate patterns on dialect maps. Frequently, however, several

isoglosses are grouped approximately together into a bundle of isoglosses.

This grouping is caused either by geographic obstacles that arrest the

diffusion of a number of innovations along the same line or by historical

circumstances, such as political borders of long standing, or by migrations

that have brought into contact two populations whose dialects were

developed in noncontiguous areas. (9, p.396)

Geographic dialects include local ones or regional ones. Regional

dialects do have some internal variation, but the differences within a

regional dialect are supposedly smaller than differences between two

regional dialects of the same rank.

In a number of areas (linguistic landscapes) where the dialectal

differentiation is essentially even, it is hardly justified to speak of

regional dialects. This uniformity has led many linguists to deny the

meaningfulness of such a notion altogether; very frequently, however,

bundles of isoglosses - or even a single isogloss of major importance -

permit the division, of a territory into regional dialects. The public is

often aware of such divisions, usually associating them with names of

geographic regions or provinces, or with some feature of pronunciation.

Especially clear-cut cases of division are those in which geographic

isolation has played the principal role. (9, p.397)

3. Dialectal change and diffusion.

The basic cause of dialectal differentiation is linguistic change.

Every living language constantly changes in its various elements. Because

languages are extremely complex systems of signs, it is almost

inconceivable that linguistic evolution could affect the same elements and

even transform them in the same way in all regions where one language is

spoken and for all speakers in the same region. At first glance,

differences caused by linguistic change seem to be slight, but they

inevitably accumulate with time (e.g. compare Chaucers English with modern

English). Related languages usually begin as dialects of the same language.

When a change (an innovation) appears among only one section of the

speakers of a language, this automatically creates a dialectal difference.

Sometimes an innovation in dialect A contrasts with the unchanged usage

(archaism) in dialect B. Sometimes a separate innovation occurs in each of

the two dialects. Of course, different innovations will appear in different

dialects, so that, in comparison with its contemporaries, no one dialect as

a whole can be considered archaic in any absolute sense. A dialect may be

characterized as relatively archaic, because it shows fewer innovations

than the others; or it may be archaic in one feature only. (9, p.415)

After the appearance of a dialectal feature, interaction between

speakers who have adopted this feature and those who have not leads to the

expansion of its area or even to its disappearance. In a single social

milieu (generally the inhabitants of the same locality, generation and

social class), the chance of the complete adoption or rejection of a new

dialectal feature is very great; the intense contact and consciousness of

membership within the social group fosters such uniformity. When several

age groups or social strata live within the same locality and especially

when people speaking the same language live in separate communities

dialectal differences are easily maintained.

The element of mutual contact plays a large role in the maintenance

of speech patterns; that is why differences between geographically distant

dialects are normally greater than those between dialects of neighbouring

settlements. This also explains why bundles of isoglosses so often form

along major natural barriers - impassable mountain ranges, deserts,

uninhabited marshes or forests, or wide rivers - or along political

borders. Similarly, racial or religious differences contribute to

linguistic differentiation because contact between members of one faith or

race and those of another within the same area is very often much more

superficial and less frequent than contact between members of the same

racial or religious group. An especially powerful influence is the

relatively infrequent occurrence of intemarriages, thus preventing

dialectal mixture at the point where it is most effective; namely, in the

mother tongue learned by the child at home. (9, p.417)

The fact that speech, in particular, can give such a clear answer to

the question Where are you from? exercises a peculiar fascination, and

the terms dialect and accent are a normal part of everyday vocabulary. We

can notice regional differences in the way people talk, laugh at dialect

jokes, enjoy dialect literature and folklore and appreciate the point of

dialect parodies.

At the same time - and this is the paradox of dialect study - we can

easily make critical judgements about ways of speaking which we perceive as

alien. These attitudes are usually subconscious.

The study of regional linguistic variation is very important. The more

we know about regional variation and change in the use of English, the more

we will come to appreciate the individuality of each of the varieties which

we call dialects, and the less we are likely to adopt demeaning stereotypes

about people from other parts of the country.

As for the United Kingdom until 1700 the small population was sparsely

distributed and largely rural and agricultural, much as it had been in

medieval times. From the mid-18th century, scientific and technological

innovations created the first modern industrial state, while, at the same

time, agriculture was undergoing technical and tenurial changes and

revolutionary improvements in transport made easier the movement of

materials and people. As a result, by the first decade of the 19th century,

a previously mainly rural population had been largely replaced by a nation

made up of industrial workers and town dwellers.

The rural exodus was a long process. The breakdown of communal farming

started before the 14th century; and subsequently enclosures advanced

steadily, especially after 1740, until a century later open fields had

virtually disappeared from the landscape. Many of the landless agricultural

labourers so displaced were attracted to the better opportunities for

employment and the higher wage levels existing in the growing industries;

their movements, together with those of the surplus population produced by

the contemporary rapid rise in the birth rate, resulted in a high volume of

internal migration that took the form of a movement toward the towns.

Industry, as well as the urban centres that inevitably grew up around

it, was increasingly located near the coalfields, while the railway

network, which grew rapidly after 1830, enhanced the commercial importance

of many towns. The migration of people especially young people, from the

country to industrialized towns took place at an unprecedented rate in the

early railway age, and such movements were relatively confined


Soon after World War I, new interregional migrations flow commenced

when the formerly booming 19th-century industrial and mining districts lost

much of their economic momentum. Declining or stagnating heavy industry in

Clydeside, northeastern England, South Wales, and parts of Lancashire and

Yorkshire swelled the ranks of the unemployed, and the consequent outward

migration became the drift to the relatively more prosperous Midlands and

southern England. This movement of people continued until it was arrested

by the relatively full employment conditions that obtained soon after the

outbreak of World War II.

In the 1950-s, opportunities for employment in the United Kingdom

improved with government sponsored diversification of industry, and this

did much to reduce the magnitude of the prewar drift to the south. The

decline of certain northern industries - coal mining shipbuilding, and

cotton textiles in particular - had nevertheless reached a critical level

by the late 1960s, and the emergence of new growth points in the West

Midlands and southwestern England made the drift to the south a continuing

feature of British economic life. Subsequently, the area of most rapid

growth shifted to East Anglia, the South West, and the East Midlands. This

particular spatial emphasis resulted from the deliberately planned movement

of people to the New Towns in order to relieve the congestion around


4. Unifying influences on dialects.

Communication lines such as roads (if they are at least several

centuries old), river valleys, or seacoasts often have a unifying

influence. Also important urban centres often form the hub of a circular

region in which the same dialect is spoken. In such areas the prestige

dialect of the city has obviously expanded. As a general rule, those

dialects, or at least certain dialectal features, with greater social

prestige tend to replace those that are valued lower on the social scale.

In times of less frequent contact between populations, dialectal

differences increase, in periods, of greater contact, they diminish. Mass

literacy, schools, increased mobility of populations, and mass

communications all contribute to this tendency.

Mass migrations may also contribute to the formation of a more or less

uniform dialect over broad geographic areas. Either the resulting dialect

is that of the original homeland of a particular migrating population or it

is a dialect mixture formed by the levelling of differences among migrants

from more than one homeland. The degree of dialectal differentiation

depends to a great extent on the length of time a certain population has

remained in a certain place.

5. Focal, relic, and transitional areas.

Dialectologists often distinguish between focal areas - which provide

sources of numerous important innovations and usually coincide with centres

of lively economic or cultural activity - and relic areas - places toward

which such innovations are spreading but have not usually arrived. (Relic

areas also have their own innovations, which, however, usually extend over

a smaller geographical area.)

Relic areas or relic phenomena are particularly common in out-of-the-

way regional pockets or along the periphery of a particular languages

geographical territory.

The borders of regional dialects often contain transitional areas that

share some features with one neighbour and some with the other. Such

mixtures result from unequal diffusion of innovations from both sides.

Similar unequal diffusion in mixed dialects in any region also may be a

consequence of population mixture created by migrations. (9, p.420)

6. Received Pronunciation.

The abbreviation RP (Received Pronunciation) denotes the speech of

educated people living in London and the southeast of England and of other

people elsewhere who speak in this way. If the qualifier educated be

assumed, RP is then a regional (geographical) dialect, as contrasted with

London Cockney, which is a class (social) dialect. RP is not intrinsically

superior to other varieties of English; it is itself only one particular

regional dialect that has, through the accidents of history, achieved more

extensive use than others. Although acquiring its unique status without the

aid of any established authority, it may have been fostered by the public

schools (Winchester, Eton, Harrow and so on) and the ancient universities

(Oxford and Cambridge). Other varieties of English are well preserved in

spite of the levelling influences of film, television, and radio. (8,


The ancestral form of RP was well-established over 400 years ago as

the accent of the court and the upper classes. The English courtier George

Puttenham writing in 1589 thought that the English of nothern men, whether

they be noblemen or gentlemen is not so courtly or so current as our

Southern English is.

The present-day situation.

Today, with the breakdown of rigid divisions between social classes

and the development of the mass media, RP is no longer the preserve of a

social elite. It is most widely heard on the BBC; but there are also

conservative and trend-setting forms.

Early BBC recordings show how much RP has altered over just a few

decades, and they make the point that no accent is immune to change, not

even the best. But the most important fact is that RP is no longer as

widely used today as it was 50 years ago. Most educated people have

developed an accent which is a mixture of RP and various regional

characteristics - modified RP, some call it. In some cases, a former RP

speaker has been influenced by regional norms; in other cases a former

regional speaker has moved in the direction of RP.

7. Who first called it RP?

The British phonetician Daniel Jones was the first to codify the

properties of RP. It was not a label he much liked, as he explains in An

Outline of English Phonetics (1980):

I do not consider it possible at the present time to regard any

special type as standard or as intrinsically better than other types.

Nevertheless, the type described in this book is certainly a useful one. It

is based on my own (Southern) speech, and is, as far as I can ascertain,

that generally used by those who have been educated at preparatory

boarding schools and the Public Schools The term Received

Pronunciation is often used to designate this type of pronunciation. This

term is adopted here for want of a better. (1960, 9th edn, p.12)

The historical linguist H.C. Wyld also made much use of the term

received in A Short History of English (1914):

It is proposed to use the term Received Standard for that form

which all would probably agree in considering the best that form which has

the widest currency and is heard with practically no variation among

speakers of the better class all over the country. (1927, 3rd edn, p.149)

The previous usage to which Jones refers can be traced back to the

dialectologist A.J. Ellis, in On Early English Pronunciation (1869):

In the present day we may, however, recognize a received

pronunciation all over the country It may be especially considered as the

educated pronunciation of the metropolis of the court, the pulpit, and the

bar. (p.23)

Even then, there were signs of the future, for he goes on to say:

But in as much as all these localities and professions are recruited

from the provinces, there will be a varied thread of provincial utterance

running through the whole. (8, p.365)

8. Social variation.

As for the accents, they refer to the varieties in pronunciation,

which convey information about a persons geographical origin. These

varieties are partly explained by social mobility and new patterns of

settlement. Distinct groups or social formation within the whole may be set

off from each other in a variety of ways: by gender, by age, by class, by

ethnic identity. Particular groups will tend to have characteristic ways of

using the language-characteristic ways of pronouncing it, - for example -

and these will help to mark off the boundaries of one group from another.

They belong to different social groups and perform different social roles.

A person might be identified as a woman, a parent, a child, a

doctor, or in many other ways. Many people speak with an accent, which

shows the influence of their place of work. Any of these identities can

have consequences for the kind of language they use. Age, sex, and socio-

economic class have been repeatedly shown to be of importance when it comes

to explaining the way sounds, constructions, and vocabulary vary.

I think the best example to show it is the famous play Pygmalion by

Bernard Shaw touched upon social classes, speech and social status of

people using different types of accents and dialects. One of the ideas was

that it is possible to tell from a persons speech not only where he comes

from but what class he belongs to. But no matter what class a person

belongs to, he can easily change his pronunciation depending on what

environment he finds himself in. The heroine Liza aired his views, saying:

When a child is brought to a foreign country, it picks up the language in

a few weeks, and forgets its own. Well, I am a child in your country. I

have forgotten my own language, and can speak nothing but yours. (13,


So some conclusions about the kinds of social phenomena that influence

change through contact with other dialects can be made:

a) dialects differ from region through the isolation of groups of speakers;

b) dialects change through contact with other dialects;

c) the upper classes reinforce Standard English and RP through education.

9. Dialects of England: Traditional and Modern.

After the retirement of the Romans from the island the invading

immigrants were the Jutes, Saxons, Danes and Angles. The Jutes seized Kent,

The Isle of Wight and a part of the mainland; the Saxons had all those

parts that have now the suffix sex, as Essex, Sussex, Middlesex, and

Wessex; and the Angles took possession of that tract of the north that has

the present terminations land, shire and folk, as Suffolk, Yorkshire,

Northumberland. These last afterwards gave the name to the whole island.

Dialects are not to be considered corruption of a language, but as

varieties less favoured than the principal tongue of the country. Of the

various dialects, it must be borne in mind that the northern countries

retain many words now obsolete in current English: these words are of the

genuine Teutonic stock. The pronunciation may seem rough and harsh, but is

the same as that used by the forefathers; consequently it must not be

considered barbarous. The other countries of England differ from the

vernacular by a depraved pronunciation.

Awareness of regional variation in England is evident from the

fourteenth century, seen in the observation of such writers as

Higden/Trevisa or William Caxton and in the literary presentation of the

characters in Chaucers Reeves Tale or the Wakefield Second Shepherds

Play. Many of the writers on spelling and grammar in the 16th and 17th

centuries made comments about regional variation, and some (such as

Alexander Gil) were highly systematic in their observants, though the

material is often obscured by a fog of personal prejudices.

The picture which emerges from the kind of dialect information

obtained by the Survey of English Dialects relates historically to the

dialect divisions recognized in Old and Middle English.

The classification of modern dialects presents serious difficulties as

their boundaries are rather vague and the language standard more and more

invades the spread area of the dialectal speech. One of the most serious

attempts at such classification was made by A. Ellis. His classification

more or less exactly reflects the dialectal map of modern Great Britain and

it was taken as the basis by many dialectologists.

The map below displays thirteen traditional dialect areas (it excludes

the western tip of Cornwall and most of Wales, which were not English

speaking until the 18th century). A major division is drawn between the

North and everywhere else, broadly following the boundary between the Anglo-

Saxon kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia, and a Secondary division is found

between much of the Midlands and areas further south. A hierarchal

representation of the dialect relationship is shown below. (8, p.324).

Relatively few people in England now speak a dialect of the kind

represented above. Although some forms will still be encountered in real

life, they are more often found in literary representations of dialect

speech and in dialect humour books. The disappearance of such

pronunciations, and their associated lexicon and grammar, is sometimes

described as English dialects dying out. The reality is that they are

more than compensated for by the growth of a range of comparatively new

dialect forms, chiefly associated with the urban areas of the country. If

the distinguishing features of these dialects are used as the basis of

classification, a very different-looking dialect map emerges with 16 major


Part II. Background of the Cornish language.

The southwestern areas of England include Devonshire, Somersetshire,

Cornwall, Wiltshire and Dosertshire. But first of all Id like to draw your

attention to the Cornish language as it doesnt exist now.

The History of Cornish.

1. Who are the Cornish?

The Cornish are a Celtic people, in ancient times the Westernmost

kingdom of the Dumnonii, the people who inhabited all of Cornwall, Devon

and West Somerset.

The Cornish are probably the same people who have lived in Cornwall

since the introduction of farming around 3000 B.C.. The start of farming in

Cornwall may also indicate the start of what some scholars now term proto

Indo-European, from whence the Celtic languages along with the Italic and

other related groups of languages began evolving.

2. What is a Celtic Language?

Around 2000 B.C., the group of languages now called Celtic languages

started to split away from the other members of the Indo-European group of

languages. By 1200 B.C. Celtic civilisation, a heroic culture with its own

laws and religion is first known. It is from this period that the first

king lists and legends are believed to come.

3. How is Cornish Related to other Celtic Languages?

Between 1500 B.C. and the first encounters with the Romans (around 350

B.C.), the Celtic languages are believed to split into two distinct groups,

the p and q Celtic branches. Cornish, Welsh and Breton (to which

Cornish is most closely related) are the three remaining p Celtic

languages. Irish, Scots Gaelic and Manx being the q Celtic tongues.

4. The Decline of Cornish.

Cornish developed pretty much naturally into a modern European

language until the 17th century, after which it came under pressure by the

encroachment of English. Factors involved in its decline included the

introduction of the English prayer book, the rapid introduction of English

as a language of commerce and most particularly the negative stigma

associated with what was considered by Cornish people themselves as the

language of the poor.

5. The Rebirth of Cornish.

Cornish died out as a native language in the late 19th century, with

the last Cornish speaker believed to have lived in Penwith. By this time

however, Cornish was being revived by Henry Jenner, planting the seeds for

the current state of the language and it is supposed that the last native

speaker was the fishwoman Dolly Pentreath.

6. Standard Cornish.

Standard Cornish was developed from Jenners work by a team under the

leadership of Morton Nance, culminating in the first full set of grammars,

dictionaries and periodicals. Standard Cornish (Unified) is again being

developed through UCR (Unified Cornish Revised), and incorporates most

features of Cornish, including allowing for Eastern and Western forms of

pronunciation and colloquial and literary forms of Cornish.

7. Who uses Cornish Today?

Today Cornish typically appeals to all age groups and to those either

who have an empathy with Cornwall, who have Cornish roots or perhaps have

moved to Cornwall from elsewhere. One of the great successes of Cornish

today is ifs wide appeal. After a break in native speakers for nearly one

hundred years, Cornwall now has many children who now have Cornish as a

native language along side English, and many more who are fluent in the


8. Government Recognition for Cornish.

Cornish is the only modern Celtic language that receives no

significant support from government, despite the growing numbers learning

Cornish, and the immense good will towards it from ordinary Cornish people

and from elsewhere.

This contrasts strongly with the favourable stand taken by the Manx

government towards Manx for example, as evidenced by Manx primary school

places being made generally available.

Recently, the UK government scrapped the Cornish GCSE. Lack of Cornish

language facilities and support is no longer just a language issue, but is

rapidly becoming a civil rights and political issue too. Despite the

growing support of councillors in Cornwall, some key individuals in County

Hall continue to make clear their hostility to the language.

e.g. of the Cornish language:

Pyw yw an Gernowyon?

Pobel Geltek yw an bobel a Gernow . Yn osow hendasek, an wtas

Gorfewenna yn Wtas Dumnonii, neb a dregas yn Kernow, Dewnans ha Gwtas an


Y hyltyr bos del An Gernowyon a wrug trega yn Kernow hedro an dallath

gonys tyr adro 3000 K.C.. An dallath gonys tyr yn Kernow a vo dallath an os

proto Yndo-Europek, dres an tavajow Keltek ha tavajow Ytaiek dallath dhe


Part III. Peculiarities of South-Western Dialects.

1. Vocalisation.

|Devonshire |Somersetshire |Wiltshire |

|a after w |

|is realized as [a:]: |is realized as []: | |

|wasp [wa:sp] |warm [wrm] | |

|watch [wa:t?] |warn [wrn] | |

|want [wa:nt] |wart [wrt] | |

|wander [wa:nd ] | | |

|asp, ass, ast, a > []: grass [grs], glass [gls], fast [fst] |

|al + a consonant |

| |l is realized as [a:] | |

| |or | |

| |[ :]: | |

| |talk [ta:k] | |

| |walk [wa:k] | |

| |chalk [t?a:k] | |

| |balk [ba:k] | |

|a + l, a + ll |

|in the open syllable | |in the open syllable |

|a > []: | |a > []: |

|crane [krn] | |crane [krn] |

|frame [frm] | |frame [frm] |

|lame [lm] | |lame [lm] |

|make [mk] | |make [mk] |

|name [nm] | |name [nm] |

|The first sound is vowel |

|acre [jakr] |

|ale [jal] |

|acorn [jak?rn] |

|hare [hja:r] |

|ache [jek] |

|acorn [jek?rn] |

|behave [b?hjev] |

|e in the closed syllables > a |

|Nothern |Western | |

|egg [ag], fetch [fat?], step [stap], | |

|wretch [rat?], stretch [strat?] | |

|e in the closed syllables > [e?] |

|Eastern |Southern | |

|egg [e?g], stretch [stre?t?] | |

|e in the closed syllables > [e:] |

|South-Western |Western |Middle/Eastern |

|Leg [le:g], bed [be:d], hedge [he:d(] | |

|if e follows w > [ :] |

| |Western | |

| |well [w :l] | |

| |twelve [tw :lv] | |

| |wench [w :nt?] | |

|i in the closed syllable |

|North-Western |Western | |

|> [e]: |> [ ]: | |

|big [beg] |bill [b l] | |

|bid [bed] |little [l tl] | |

|flitch [fletch] |children [t? ldr n] | |

|sit [set] |cliff [kl f] | |

|spit [spet] |hill [h l] | |

| |drift [dr ft] | |

| |shrimp [?r mp] | |

| |fit [f t] | |

| |ship [? p] | |

| |pig [p g] | |

| |fish [f ?] | |

|ight > [e] |

|North-Western |Western | |

|flight, right | |

|if a nasal consonant follows i |

|> [e]: | |> [e]: |

|sing [se?] | |sing [se?] |

|cling [kle?] | |cling [kle?] |

|i before nd |

|North-Western | | |

|> [e]: | | |

|bind [ben] | | |

|blind [blen] | | |

|find [ven] | | |

|grind [gren] | | |

|i before ld |

| |Eastern | |

| |> [i:]: | |

| |mild [mi:ld] | |

| |wild [wi:ld] | |

| |child [t??ld] | |

|i in the open syllable |

|South-Western |Southern | |

|> [e?]: |> [e?]: | |

|fly [fle?] |bide [be?d] | |

|lie [le?] |wide [we?d] | |

|thigh [?e?] |time [te?m] | |

|Eastern | | |

|> [ ?]: | | |

|fly [fl ?] | | |

|lie [l ?] | | |

|o in the closed syllable followed by a consonant |

|South-Western | |Eastern |

|> [a:]: | |> [ ]: |

|dog [da:g] | |cot [k t] |

|cross [kra:s] | |bottom [b tm] |

| | |dog [d g] |

| | |cross [kr s] |

| | |Western |

| | |> [a:]: |

| | |dog [da:g] |

| | |cross [kra:s] |

|o + a nasal consonant |

|North-Western |Western |Western |

|> []: |> []: | |

|among [?m?] |among [?m?] |among [?m?] |

|long [l?] |long [l?] |long [l?] |

|wrong [r?] |wrong [r?] |wrong [r?] |

|ol + a consonant |

| |Western |Western |

| |> [u?]: |> [u?]: |

| |gold [gv?ld] |gold [gv?ld] |

| |old [u?ld] |old [u?ld] |

|o in the open syllable and oa |

| |Western | |

| |> [ ]: | |

| |bone [b n] | |

| |broad [br d] | |

| |rope [r p] | |

| |load [l d] | |

| |oi | |

| | |> [a?]: |

| | |choice [t?a?s] |

| | |join [d(a?n] |

| | |moil [ma?l] |

| | |point [pa?nt] |

| | |spoil [spa?l] |

| | |voice [va?s] |

|u in the closed syllable |

|Southern | | |

|> [e]: | | |

|but [bet] | | |

|dust [dest] | | |

|ou / ow |

| | |Easter |

| | |> [av]: |

| | |low [lav] |

| | |owe [au] |

|oo |

|North-Western |Western |Middle/Eastern |

|> [?]: |> []: |> [ ]: |

|good [g?d] |book [bk] |book [b k] |

|hood [h?d] |cook [kk] |brook [br k] |

|foot [f?t] |crook [krk] |crook [kr k] |

|blood [bl?d] |look [lk] |look [l k] |

|stood [st?d] |took [tk] |took [t k] |

|bloom [bl?m] |good [gd] |good [g d] |

|broom [br?m] |foot [ft] |foot [f t] |

|moon [m?n] |stood [std] |soot [s t] |

|loom [l?m] | |flood [fl d] |

|Eastern | | |

|> [ ]: | | |

|book [b k] | | |

|brook [br k] | | |

|crook [kr k] | | |

|i in the open syllable |

|South-western |Southern | |

|> [e?]: |> [e?]: | |

|fly [fle?] |bide [be?d] | |

|lie [le?] |wide [we?d] | |

|thigh [?e?] |time [te?m] | |

|Eastern | | |

|> [ ?]: | | |

|fly [fl ?] | | |

|lie [l ?] | | |

|o in the closed syllable followed by a consonant |

|South-western | |Eastern |

|> [a:]: | |> [ ]: |

|dog [da:g] | |cot [k t] |

|cross [kra:s] | |bottom [b tm] |

| | |dog [d g] |

| | |cross [kr s] |

| | |Western |

| | |> [a:]: |

| | |dog [da:g] |

| | |cross [kra:s] |

|Devonshire |Somersetshire |Wiltshire |

|o + a nasal consonant |

|North-western |Western |Western |

|> []: among [?m?], long [l?], wrong [wr?] |

|ol + a consonant |

| |Western |Western |

| |> [u?l]: gold [gv?ld], old [u?ld] |

|oa |

| |Western | |

| |> [ ]: | |

| |bone [b n] | |

| |broad [br d] | |

| |rope [r p] | |

| |load [l d] | |

| |oi | |

| | |> [a?]: |

| | |choice [t?a?s] |

| | |join [d(a?n] |

| | |moil [ma?l] |

| | |point [pa?nt] |

| | |spoil [spa?l] |

| | |voice [va?s] |

|u in the closed syllable |

|Southern | | |

|> [e]: | | |

|but [bet] | | |

|dust [dest] | | |

|ou/ow |

| | |Easter |

| | |> [av]: |

| | |low [lav] |

| | |owe [au] |

|oo |

|North-Western |Western |Middle/Eastern |

|> [?]: |> []: |> [ ]: |

|good [g?d] |book [bk] |book [b k] |

|hood [h?d] |cook [kk] |brook [br k] |

|foot [f?t] |crook [krk] |crook [kr k] |

|blood [bl?d] |look [lk] |look [l k] |

|stood [st?d] |took [tk] |took [t k] |

|bloom [bl?m] |good [gd] |good [g d] |

|broom [br?m] |foot [ft] |foot [f t] |

|moon [m?n] |stood [std] |soot [s t] |

|loom [l?m] | |flood [fl d] |

|root [r?t] | | |

|spoon [sp?n] | | |

|Eastern | | |

|> [ ]: | | |

|book [b k] | | |

|brook [br k] | | |

|crook [kr k] | | |

|look [l k] | | |

|er, ir, ur |

| |Southern | |

| |> [a:]: | |

| |learn [la:n] | |

| |earth [a:?] | |

| |bird [ba:d] | |

| |birch [ba:t?] | |

| |merchant [ma:t??nt] | |

| |herb [ha:b] | |

| |work [wa:k] | |

|or |

| |> [a:]: fork [fa:k], horse [ha:s], horn [ha:n], |

| |short [?a:t], |

| | Morning [ma:n??], word [wa:d] |

|ew |

|Eastern | |Northern |

|> [:]: | |> [jav]: |

|dew [d:] | |dew [djau] |

|few [f:] | |few [fjau] |

| | |new [njau] |

| |

|2. Consonantism |

|[w] in the beginning of the word or before h |

|old [w l] | |[w] is not pronounced: |

|oak [w k] | |week [ouk] |

|hot [w t] | |swick [su:k] |

|home [w m] | | |

|orchard [wurt??t] | | |

|hole [hwul] | | |

|hope [hwup] | | |

|open [wupen] | | |

|w before r |

|is not pronounced |Western |is not pronounced |

| |> [vr]: | |

| |wreck, wren, wrench, | |

| |wrap, write, wrong | |

| |e.g. Ye vratch, yeve | |

| |vrutten that avrang. | |

| |(= You wretch, youve | |

| |written that all wrong.)| |

|wh at the beginning of a word is [w], [u:], [u?] |

|in the middle of a word [w] is pronounced |

|boy [bwo], moist [mw ?st], toad [twud], cool [kwul], country [kw?ntr?] |

|f, th, s, sh are voiced |

|Friday [vr:d?], friends [vr?n(], fleas [vle:z], and in the these words: |

|foe, father, fair, fear, find, fish, foal, full, follow, filth, fist, fire, |

|fond, fault, feast, force, forge, fool. |

|[?]: thought [ :t], thick [?k], thigh [a?], and in the words: from, |

|freeze, fresh, free, friend, frost, frog, froth, flesh, fly flock, flood, |

|fleece, fling, flower, fail. |

|t at the beginning of the word before a vowel |

|Nothern | | |

|> [t?]: | | |

|team [t?em], | | |

|tune [t?un], | | |

|Tuesday [t?uzde] | | |

|East D t in the middle| | |

|of the word is voiced: | | |

|bottle [b dl], | | |

|kettle [kedl], | | |

|little [l?dl], | | |

|nettle [nedl], | | |

|bottom [b dm], | | |

|matter [med?], | | |

|cattle [k dl], | | |

|kittens [k?dnz] | | |

|t in the middle of the word is voiced |

| | |Western |

| | |bottle [b dl], |

| | |kettle [kedl], |

| | |little [l?dl], |

| | |nettle [nedl], |

| | |bottom [b dm], |

| | |matter [med?], |

| | |cattle [k dl], |

| | |kittens [k?dnz] |

|The consonant [t] in (the French borrowings) hasnt become [t?] as it is in |

|RP: |

|picture [p?kt?r], nature [net?r], feature [f??t?r] |

|the middle [t] sometimes disappears in the positions before ml, nl, |

|mr |

| |Western | |

| |brimstone [br?msn] | |

| |empty [emp?] | |

| |The same happens to the | |

| |middle [b]: | |

| |chamber > chimmer, | |

| |embers > emmers, | |

| |brambles > brimmels | |

|between l and r; r and l; n and r a parasitic [d] has developed |

|parlour [pa:ld?r], tailor [ta?ld?r], smaller [sm :ld?r], curls |

|[ka:dlz], hurl [a:dl], marl [ma:dl], quarrel [kw :dl], world [wa:dl], |

|corner [ka:nd?r] |

| | |Western |

| | |a parasitic [d] appeared|

| | |after [l, n, r]: |

| | |feel [fi:ld] |

| | |school [sku:ld] |

| | |idle [a?dld] |

| | |mile [ma?dl] |

| | |born [ba?nd] |

| | |soul [s :ld] |

| | |soon [zu:nd] |

| | |gown [gaund] |

| | |swoon [zaund] |

| | |wine [wa?nd] |

| | |miller [m?l?d] |

| | |scholar [sk l?d] |

|the middle [d] in the word needle comes after [l]: [ni:ld] |

| |Eastern | |

| |In the word disturb | |

| |[b] is pronounced as [v]| |

| |- | |

| |[dis, t?:v] | |

|the first [?] is pronounced as [] |

|thank [?k] and in other words: thatch, thaw, thigh, thin, thing, think, |

|third, thistle, thong, thought, thousand, thumb, thunder, Thursday |

| |Sometimes [?] is | |

| |pronounced as [t] at the| |

| |end of the word: | |

| |lath [lat] | |

| | |Western |

| | |In some words [s] at the|

| | |beginning of the word is|

| | |pronounced as [?]: |

| | |suet [?u?t]. |

| | |The same happens when |

| | |[s] is in the middle of |

| | |the word: |

| | |first [fer?t] |

| | |breast [br??t] |

| | |next [n??t] |

| | |North-West W: [s] is |

| | |sometimes pronounced as |

| | |[(]: sure [(u?r] |

|sh, sk at the end of the word |

| |Western | |

| |> [s]: | |

| |cask [k s] | |

| |flask [fl s] | |

| |leash [li:s] | |

| |tusk [tus] | |

| |Sometimes instead of [k]| |

| |[t?] is heard: | |

| |back [b t?] | |

| |wark [wa:t?] | |

|sometimes the initial letter or a syllable is apsent |

| |Western |Eastern |

| |believe, deliver, desire, directly, disturb, |

| |eleven, enough, except, occasion, inquest, |

| |epidemic |

|the initial cl |

|> [tl]: clad [tlad], clap, clay, claw, clean, cleave, clergy, clerk, clew, |

|cliff, climb, cling, clip, cloak, close, clot, cloth, cloud, clout |

|gl in the beginning of the word |

|> [dl]: glad, glass, glisten, gloom, glove, glow |

|[l] in the middle of the word isnt pronounced |

| |Western |Eastern |

| |Already |

| |shoulder [?a:d?r] |

| | |the Middle/Eastern |

| | |[l] is often > [ ]: |

| | |bill [b? ] |

| | |tool [tu ] |

| | |nibble [n?b ] |

| | |milk [m? k] |

| | |silk [s? k] |

3. Grammar.

3.1 Nouns.

The definite article.

- There isnt the definite article before same: Tis sames I

always told ee.

- The of-phrase the of is of ten used instead of the possessive

pronoun (e.g. the head of him instead of his head)

The plural form of a noun.

- In many cases -s (es) can be added for several times:

e.g. steps [steps?z] (South Som.)

- in some cases [n] is heard at the end of the word:

e.g. keys [ki:n] (Wil.)

cows [kain] (Dev.)

bottles [botln] (South-W. Dev.)

primroses [pr?mr zn] (Dev.)

- but sometimes [s] is heard in the words ended with -n

e.g. oxen [ ksnz] (Western Som.)

rushes [r?ksnz] (Dev.)

- some nouns have the same form in the singular and in the plural:

e.g. chicken - chickens [t??k] (Som.)

pipe - pipes [pa?p] (Som.)

- sometimes the plural form of the noun is used insted of the

singular form:

a house [auzn] (Southern Wil.)

3.2 Gender.

The full characteristic of Gender in South-Western English Id like to

base on the part of the article by Paddock. Paddock uses the historical

lebel Wessex to describe the countries of South-Western England.

3.2.1 Gender making in Wessex-type English.

It is usually claimed that English nouns lost their grammatical

gender during the historical period called Middle English, roughly 1100-

1500. But this claim needs some qualification. What actually happened

during the Middle English period was that more overt gender marking of

English nouns gave way to more covert marking. As in Lyons (1968:281-8),

the term gender is used here to refer to morphosyntactic classes of

nouns. It is true that the loss of adjective concord in Middle English made

gender marking less overt; but Modern English still retains some determiner

concord which allows us to classify nouns (Christophersen and Sandved

1969). In addition, Modern English (ModE), like Old English (OE) and Middle

English (ME), possesses pronominal distinctions which enable us to classify


We can distinguish at least three distinctly different types of gender

marking along the continuum from most overt to most covert. The most overt

involves the marking of gender in the morphology of the noun itself, as in

Swahili (Lyons 1968:284-6). Near the middle of the overt-covert continuum

we could place the marking of gender in adnominals such as adjectives and

determiners. At or near the covert end of the scale we find the marking of

gender in pronominal systems.

During all three main historical stages of the English language (OE,

ME, ModE) one has been able to assign nouns to three syntactic classes

called MASCULINE, FEMININE and NEUTER. However, throughout the recorded

history of English this three-way gender marking has become less and less

overt. In OE all three types of gender marking were present. But even in OE

the intrinsic marking (by noun inflections) was often ambiguous in that it

gave more information about noun declension (ie paradigm class) than about

gender (ie concord class). The least ambiguous marking of gender in OE was

provided by the adnominals traditionally called demonstratives and definite

articles. In addition, gender discord sometimes occurred in OE, in that

the intrinsic gender marking (if any) and the adnominal marking, on the one

hand, did not always agree with the gender of the pronominal, on the other

hand. Standard ME underwent the loss of a three-way gender distinction in

the morphology of both the nominals and the adnominals. This meant that

Standard ModE nouns were left with only the most covert type of three-way

gender marking, that of the pronominals. Hence we can assign a Standard

ModE noun to the gender class MASCULINE, FEMININE or NEUTER by depending

only on whether it selects he, she or it respectively as its proform.

During the ME and Early ModE periods the south-western (here called

Wessex-type) dialects of England diverged from Standard English in their

developments of adnominal and pronominal subsystems. In particular, the

demonstratives of Standard English lost all trace of gender marking,

whereas in south-western dialects their OE three-way distinction of

MASCULINE/FEMININE/NEUTER developed into a two-way MASS/COUNT distinction

which has survived in some Wessex-type dialects of Late ModE. The result in

Wessex was that the two-way distinction in adnominals such as

demonstratives and indefinites came into partial conflict with the three-

way distinction in pronominals. (18, p.31-32)

- Nowadays in the south-western dialects the pronouns he / she are

used instead of a noun:

e.g. My ooman put her bonnet there last year, and the birds laid their

eggs in him. (= it)

Wurs my shovel? I aa gotim; hims her. (= Where is my shovel? Ive

got it. Thats it.)

- In the south-western dialects objects are divided into two categories:

1) countable nouns (a tool, a tree), and the pronouns he / she are used

with them

2) uncountable nouns (water, dust), and the pronoun it is used with them.

The pronoun he is used towards women.

3.3 Numerals.

In south-western dialects the compound numerals (21-99) are pronounced

as: five and fifty, six and thirty.

In Devonshire instead of the second twoth is used (the twenty-

twoth of April).

3.4 Adjectives.

In all dialects of the south-west -er, -est are used in the

comparative and superative degrees with one-, two- and more syllabic


e.g. the naturaler

the seasonablest

delightfuller (-est)

worser - worsest (Dw.)

- The words: gin, an, as, nor, till, by, to, in, on

are used instead of than in the comparative forms:

e.g. When the lad there wasnt scarce the height of that stool, and a

less size on (= than) his brother;

Thats better gin naething;

More brass inney (= than you) haddn;

Its moor in bargain (= more than a bargain).

- The word many is used with uncountable nouns

e.g. many water / milk

- The word first is often used in the meaning of the next:

e.g. The first time I gang to the smiddie Ill give it to him.

Will you come Monday first or Monday eight days?

3.5 Pronouns.

- The forms of the nominative case are often used instead of the forms

of the objective case and vice versa:

e.g. Oi dont think much o they (= of them).

Oi went out a-walkin wi she (= with her).

Oi giv ut t he (= it) back again.

Us (= we) dont want t play wi he (= him).

Har (= she) oont speak t th loikes o we (= us).

When us (= we) is busy, him (= he) comes and does a days work

for we (= us).

- The pronoun mun (min) is used in those cases, when in the

literary language them is used:

e.g. put mun in the house

gie mun to me

I mind (= remember) the first time I seed mun.

- Mun is also used instead of him, it

e.g. let min alone

it would sarve un right if I telled the parson of mun

- Instead of those, them is used:

e.g. I mind none of them things.

Give us them apples.

Fetch them plaates off o th pantry shelf.

- In the south-western dialects at the beginning of the sentenu the

personal and impersonal pronouns are often dropped.

- Whom is never used in the south-western dialects. Instead of it

as / at is used:

e.g. Thats the chap as (or what) his uncle was hanged.

The man at his coats torn.

- The nominative case of the personal pronouns is also used before


e.g. we selves (Somerseshire, Devonshire)

- The standard demonstrative pronoun this is used in the south-

western dialects as: this, this here, thease, thisn,


- The standard demonstrative pronoun that is used in the south-

western dialects as: thatn, thickumy, thilk:

e.g. I suppose I could have told thee thilk.

- Those is never used in the south-western dialects.

thir ans is used instead of it.

3.5.1 Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns in a Devonshire


Id like to give not only the grammatical description of adjectives

and pronouns in the south-western part of England, but the pronunciation of

demonstrative adjectives and pronouns found in the dialect of south zeal, a

village on the northern edge of Dartmoor. Martin Harris made his research

work in this field:

The analysis is based on a corpus of some twenty hours of tape-

recorded conversation, collected in the course of work for a Ph.D. thesis,

either in the form of a dialogue between two informants or of a monologue

on the part of a single informant. The principal informant, Mr George

Cooper, has lived for some eighty-five years in the parish, and has only

spent one night in his life outside the county of Devon.

For the purposes of this chapter, only one phonological point needs to

be made. The /r/ phoneme is retroflex in final position, and induces a

preceding weak central vowel [?] when occurring in the environment /Vr/,

(thus [V?r]), when the /V/ in question is /i:/ or /?/. (These are the only

two vowels relevant within this work.). The transcription used for the

actual forms should not give rise to any further problems. In the case of

the illustrative examples, 1 have decided to use a quasi-orthographical

representation, since the actual phonetic/phonemic realization is not

directly relevant to the point under discussion. The prominent syllable(s)

in each example are illustrated thus: .

We may now proceed to look at the actual forms found in the dialect

(Table 1):

|Singular adjective| | | |

| |/i:z/ |/at/ |/i-ki:/ |

|Simple |/s/ | | |

|First compound |/i:z/ ji:r/ |/at ?r/ |/i-ki: ?r/ |

| |/is ji:r/ | | |

|Singular pronoun | | | |

|Simple |/is/ |/at/ |/ i-ki:/ |

| |/i:z/ | | |

|First compound |/is ji:r/ |/at ?r/ | |

|Second compound |/is ji:r ji:r/ |/at ?r ?r/ | |

|Plural adjective | | | |

|Simple |/ejz/ |/ej/ |/i-ki:/ |

| |/i:z/ | | |

|First compound |/ejz ji:r/ |/ej ?r/ |/i-ki: ?r/ |

|Plural pronoun | | | |

|Simple (only) | |/ej/ | |

The relative frequency of these forms is shown in Table 2.

|Adjectives |

|Singular |% |Plural |% |

|/i:z/ |13 |/ejz/ |23 |

|/is/ |11 |/i:z/ |2 |

|/i:z ji:r/ |9 |/ejz ji:r/ |7 |

|/is ji:r/ |2 |/i:z ji:r/ |4 |

|/at/ |15 |/ej/ |49 |

|/at ?r/ |3 |/ej ?r/ |2 |

|/i-ki:/ |43 |/i-ki:/ |10 |

|/i-ki: ?r/ |4 |/i-ki: ?r/ |3 |

| |100 | |100 |

|Pronouns |

|Singular |% |Plural |% |

|/is/ |10 | | |

|/i:z/ |4 | | |

|/is ji:r/ |2 | | |

|/is ji:r ji:r/ |25 |/ej/ |100 |

|/at/ |22 | | |

|/at ?r/ |2 | | |

|/at ?r ?r/ |34 | | |

|/i-ki:/ |1 | | |

| |100 | | |

The paradigm as outlined in Tables 1, 2 presents few morphological

problems. The two pairs of forms /i:z/ and /is/ and /ejz/ and /i:z/ do,

however, need examination. In the singular of the adjective, the two forms

/i:z/ and /is/ are both frequent, being used mostly in unstressed and

stressed position respectively. However, some 30 per cent of the

occurrences of each form do not follow this tendency, so it does not seem

profitable to set up a stressed: unstressed opposition, particularly since

such a division would serve no purpose in the case of /at/ and /i-ki:/.

With the first compounds, the form /i:z ji:r/ outnumbers /is ji:r/ in

the ratio 1 in the adjective position.

When functioning as a pronoun, /i:z/ is rare as a simple form and

never occurs at all either within a first compound (although first

compounds are so rare as pronouns that no generalization can usefully be

made, see Table 2) or within a second compound, where only /is ji:r

ji:r/, never /i:z ji:r ji:r/, is found. Thus /is/ seems to be more

favoured as a pronoun, and /i:z/ as an adjective; this, of course, is only

a tendency.

In the plural, the position is more clear-cut. The normal adjective

plurals are /ejz/ and /ejz ji:r/, which outnumber /i:z/ and /i:z ji:r/

by a large margin (see Table 2). Such cases of the latter as do occur may

perhaps be ascribed to Standard English influence, since /i:z/ is clearly

used normally as a singular rather than a plural form. The absence of any

reflex of /ejz/ as a plural pronoun is discussed below.

The other forms present little morphological difficulty. There is only

one occurrence of /i-ki:/ as a pronoun, although as an adjective it almost

outnumbers /i:z/ and /at/ together, so it seems to belong primarily to

the adjectival system. The normal singular pronouns are either the simple

forms or the second compounds, the first compounds being most unusual.

In the plural of the adjective, the simple forms are much more

frequent than their equivalent first compounds, whereas in the plural of

the pronoun, there is apparently only the one form /ej/. The status of

this form is discussed below.

The following are examples of those demonstatives which are not

further discussed below. The uses of /at/ as a singular adjective, of /i-

ki:/ as a singular or plural adjective, and of all the pronouns are fully

exemplified in the syntactic section, and thus no examples are given here.


I come down here to live in this little old street.

Well; this year, I done a bit lighter.

Now this season, tis over.

This was coming this way.

/is ji:r/

Theres all this here sort of jobs going on to day.

I was down there where this here plough was up here.


These places be alright if you know where youm going to.

They got to pay the wages to these people.

I do a bit of gardening . . . and likes of all these things.


What makes all they hills look so well?

Where Jim was sent to, they two met.

They wont have all they sort of people up there.

Tell Cooper to shift they stones there.

We may now turn to the functions of those forms whose uses are

identifiably different from those of Standard English.

The most striking feature of the demonstrative system is that, in the

singular adjective system at least, there is apparently a three-term

opposition /i:z : at : i-ki:/, in contrast with the two-term system of

Standard English. It seems fair to say that the role of /i:z/ is similar

to that of 'this' in Standard English (but see note on /i:z ji:r/ below),

but any attempt to differentiate /at/ and /i-ki:/ proves extremely

difficult. There are a number of sentences of the type:

If you was to put that stick in across thicky pony . . .

where the two forms seem to fill the same function. The virtual absence of

/i-ki:/ from the pronoun system, together with the fact that /i-ki:/ is

three times as frequent as /at/ as an adjective, would suggest that /i-

ki:/ is the normal adjectival form in the dialect, and that /at/ has a

greater range, having a function which is basically pronominal but in

addition adjectival at times. This is further supported by the fact that

when presented with sentences of the type:

He turned that hare three times and he caught it.

the informant claimed that /i-ki:/ would be equally acceptable and could

indicate no distinction. Thus there are pairs of sentences such as

I used to walk that there two mile and half.

You'd walk thicky nine mile.

or again

That finished that job.

I wouldnt have thicky job.

There are certain cases where either one form or the other seems to be

required. In particular, /at/ is used when actually indicating a size with

the hands:

Go up and see the stones that length, that thickness.

while /i-ki:/ is used in contrast with /t?-r/, where Standard English

would normally use one or the one.

Soon as they got it thicky hand, theyd thruck(?) it away with the


In the adjective plural, the contrast between /i-ki:/ and /ej/ is

not a real one, since /i-ki:/ is found only with numerals.

I had thicky eighteen bob a week.

I expect thicky nine was all one mans sheep.

When presented with /i-ki:/ before plural nominals, the informant

rejected them. It would therefore be preferable to redefine singular and

plural in the dialect to account for this, rather than to consider /i-

ki:/ as a plural form; this would accordingly neutralize in the plural any

/i-ki:/:/at/ opposition which may exist in the singular.

In the pronominal system, there is only one occurrence of /i-ki:/:

My missis bought thicky before her died (a radio).

It is true that most of the occurrences of /al/ as a pronoun do not

refer to a specific antecedent, e.g. I cant afford to do that, but there

are a number of cases where /at/ does play a role closely parallel to /i-

ki:/ above.

As I was passing that, and that was passing me (a dog).

As there are no other examples of /i-ki:/ as a singular pronoun,

either simply or as part of a first or second compound, and no cases at

all in the plural, it seems fair to say that any /at/:/i-ki:/ opposition

is realized only in the singular adjective, and that here too it is

difficult to see what the basis of any opposition might be. A list of

representative examples of /at/, /at ?r/, /i-ki:/ and /i-ki: ?r/ is

given below, in their function as singular adjectives, so that they can

easily be compared.


All they got to do is steer that little wheel a bit.

Youd put in dynamite to blast that stone off.

Usd go in that pub and have a pint of beer.

/at ?r/

I used to walk that there two mile and half.

Good as gold, that there thing was.


All of us be in thicky boat, you see.

Thicky dog, he said, been there all day?

Stairs went up there, like, thicky side, thicky end of the wall.

Thicky place would be black with people . . .

I travelled thicky old road four year . . .

Whats thicky little place called, before you get up Yelverton?

Thicky field, theyd break it, they called it.

He was going to put me and Jan up thicky night.

Never been through thicky road since.

/i-ki: ?r/

Jim Connell carted home thicky there jar of cyder same as he carted

it up.

We got in thicky there field . . .

The morphological status of /i:z/ and /is/ as singulars, and of

/ejz/ and /i:z/ as plurals has already been discussed. Syntactically,

their use seems to correspond to Standard English closely, except in one

important respect: the first compound forms are used in a way similar to

a non-standard usage which is fairly widespread, in the sense of a or a


/i:z ji:r/

Hed got this here dog.

Youd put this here great crust on top.

The first compound is never used as an equivalent to Standard

English this, being reserved for uses of the type above, although there

is another form /i:z . . . ji:r/, which is occasionally used where

Standard English would show this, eg Between here and this village here


In the plural, an exactly parallel syntactic division occurs between

/ejz/ (cf Standard English these) and /ejz ji:r/.

These here maidens that was here . . .

I used to put them in front of these here sheds.

They got these here hay-turners . . .

In all the above examples, the first compounds, both singular and

plural, refer to items which have not been mentioned before, and which are

not adjacent to the speaker; they are thus referentially distinct from the

normal use of Standard English this.

Although we can fairly say that /i:z/ and /ejz/ are syntactically

distinct from their equivalent first compounds, what of the other adjective

compounds /at ?r/, /i-ki: ?r/ and /ej ?r/? There seems to be no

syntactic division in these cases between them and their equivalent simple

forms, so it is perhaps not surprising that Table 2 shows them to be

without exception much less common than /i:z ji:r/ and /ejz ji:r/, which

have a distinct syntactic role. Forms such as

Us got in thicky there field


Good as gold, that there thing was.

do not seem any different from

Us mowed thicky little plat . . .


He turned that hare three times . . .

There is certainly no apparent correlation with any notional degree of


In the case of the singular pronouns, the first compounds are

extremely rare, cf.

He done well with that there. (/at ?r/)

He went out broad, this here whats dead now. (/i:z ji:r/).

The basic opposition here is between the simple forms and the second

compounds /is ji:r ji:r/ and /at ?r ?r/. Here the syntactic division

is fairly clear: the second compounds are used in certain adverbial

phrases, particularly after like, where the demonstrative refers to no

specific antecedent:

Tis getting like this here here.

Ive had to walk home after that there there.

and also, with reference to a specific antecedent, when particular emphasis

is drawn to the item in question.

Ive had the wireless there, this here here, for good many years.

One of these here crocks, something like that there there.

In all other cases, the simple forms are used.

This was coming this way.

Then he did meet with this.

Thats one bad job, that was.

/at/ is used particularly frequently in two phrases, likes of that

and and that.

He doed a bit of farmering and likes of that.

I got a jumper and that home now.

The last question is one of the most interesting. Is there really only

one form /ej/ functioning as a plural pronoun? At first sight, this would

seem improbable, given that there is a plural adjective form /ejz/ and

that the 'this':'that' opposition is maintained elsewhere in the system.

However, all attempts to elicit such a form failed, and there is at least

one spontaneous utterance where, if a form /ejz/ did exist as a pronoun,

it might be expected to appear:

Theres thousands of acres out there would grow it better than they

in here grow it.

Taking all these factors together, we tentatively suggest that the

opposition this:that is neutralized in this position, even though this

seems rather unlikely, given the adjectival system.

But there is another point. It is in fact difficult to identify

occurrences of /ej/ as demonstratives with any certainty, because the form

is identical with that of the personal pronoun /ej/ (Standard English

they or them).

We may observe at this point that in the dialect, the third plural

personal pronoun forms are /ej/ and /?m/. The first form is used in all

stressed positions and as unstressed subject except in inverted Q-forms;

the second is used as the unstressed non-subject, and as the unstressed

subject in inverted Q-forms. Thus we find:


I had to show the pony but they winned the cups.

I could chuck they about.

Thats up to they, they know what theym about of.

Theyd take em back of your door for half-a-crown.


They expect to have a name to the house, dont em?

Where do em get the tools to?

That was as far as ever they paid em.

I stayed there long with em for more than a year.

When considering /ej/, we find a series of utterances such as the

following in which a division between personal and demonstrative pronouns

would be largely arbitrary.

I could throw em. chuck they about.

They in towns, they go to concerts,

Us finished up with they in ...

They do seven acres a day, now, with they.

There is they that take an interest in it.

I could cut in so straight (as) some of they that never do it.

Although, following the system of Standard English, we have so far

differentiated between /ej/ as a stressed personal pronoun and /ej/ as a

demonstrative pronoun, it is clearly more economical, in terms of the

dialectal material, to consider the two functions as coalescing within one

system: STRESSED /ej/; UNSTRESSED /?m/. This system would operate in all

positions where Standard English would show either a third person plural

personal pronoun, or a plural demonstrative pronoun. Similarly, there is a

dialectal system STRESSED /at/ UNSTRESSED /it/ in the third person

singular, where the referent is abstract or non-specific, in that /at/

never occurs unstressed nor /it/ stressed. Thus in contrast to the last

example above, we find:

I seed some of em that never walked a mile in their lives,

where the form /?m/ is unstressed. (Such unstressed examples are much rarer

than stressed examples in positions where Standard English would show a

demonstrative pronoun simply because those is normally stressed in

Standard English.)

We should note finally, however, that this analysis of the material

does not in any way explain the absence of a plural pronoun /ejz/, any

more than the linking of /at/ with /it/ precludes the existence of a

singular demonstrative pronoun /i:z/. The non-existence of /ejz/ as a

pronoun seems best considered as an accidental gap in the corpus. (18,

p.20 )

3.6 Verbs.

- In the south-western dialects in the singular and in the plural in

Present Indefinite the ending -s or -es is used, if the Subject

is expressed as

a noun.

e.g. Boys as wants more mun ask.

The other ehaps works hard.

- In Devonshire -th [] is added to verbs in the plural in Present


- The form am (m) of the verb to be is used after the personal


e.g. We (wem = we are) (Somersetshire)

you, they

- After the words if, when, until, after Future Indefinite

sometimes used.

- The Perfect form in affirmative sentences, in which the Subject is

expressed as a personal pronoun, is usually built without the

auxiliary verb have:

e.g. We done it.

I seen him.

They been and taken it.

- The negation in the south-western dialects is expressed with the

adding of the negative particle not in the form -na to the


e.g. comesna (comes not)

winna (= will not)

sanna (= shall not)

canna (= cannot)

maunna (= must not)

sudna (= should not)

dinna (= do not)

binna (= be not)

haena (= have not)

daurna (= dare not)

- It is typical to the south-western dialects to use too many

nigotiations in the same phrase:

e.g. I yint seen nobody nowheres.

I dont want to have nothing at all to say to you.

I didnt mean no harm.

Yell better jist nae detain me nae langer.

- The negative and interrogative forms of the modal verbs are built

with the help of the auxiliary verb do.

e.g. He did not ought to do it.

You do not ought to hear it.

- Some verbs which are regular in the Standard language become

irregular in the south-western dialects:

e.g. dive - dave, help - holp

- Sometimes the ending -ed is added to some irregular verbs in the

Past Simple:

e.g. bear - borned, begin - begunned, break - broked, climb - clombed,

dig - dugged, dive - doved, drive - droved, fall - felled, find


funded, fly - flewed, give - gaved, grip - grapped, hang -


help - holped, hold - helded, know - knewed, rise - rosed, see -

sawed, shake - shooked, shear - shored, sing - sunged, sink -

sunked, spin - spunned, spring - sprunged, steal - stoled,

strive -

stroved, swear - swored, swim - swammed, take - tooked, tear -

tored, wear - wored, weave - woved, write - wroted.

- But some irregular verbs in the Past Simple Tense are used as


e.g. begin - beginned (Western Som., Dev.)

bite - bited (W. Som.)

blow - blowed (Dev.)

drink - drinked (W. Som.)

drive - drived (Dev.)

fall - falled (W. Som., Dev.)

fight - fighted (W. Som.)

fall - falled (Som., Dev.)

go - gade (Dev.)

grow - growed (W. Som.)

hang - hanged (W. Som.)

lose - losed (W. Som., Dev.)

ring - ringed (W. Som.)

speak - speaked (Som.)

spring - springed (W. Som., Dev.)

- Many verbs form the Past Participle with the help of the ending -n.

e.g. call - callen

catch - catchen

come - comen

- In some cases in the Past Participle a vowel in the root is

changed, and the suffix is not added.

e.g. catch - [k t?]

hit - [a:t]

lead - [la:d]

- In the south-western dialects intransitive verbs have the ending -

y [?].

- In Western Somersetshire before the infinitive in the function of

the adverbial modifier of purpose for is used:

e.g. Hast gotten a bit for mend it with? (= Have you got anything to

mend it with?)

3.7 Adverbs.

- In the south-western dialects an adjective is used instead of the


e.g. You might easy fall.

- To build the comparative degree far is used instead of further;

laster instead of more lately.

- The suparative degree: farest; lastest; likerest; rathest.

a) The adverbs of place:

abeigh [?b?x] - at some distance

abune, aboon - above

ablow - under

ben, benn - inside

outbye [utba?] - outside

aboot - around

hine, hine awa - far

ewest - near

b) The adverbs of the mode of action:

hoo, foo - how

weel - great

richt - right

ither - yet

sae - so

c) The adverbs of degree:


e.g. How are you today? - Not much, thank you.

much is also used in the meaning of wonderfully

e.g. It is much you boys cant let alone they there ducks.

It was much he hadnt a been a killed.


rising is often used in the meaning of nearly

e.g. How old is the boy? - Hes rising five.

- fell, unco, gey, huge, fu, rael are used in the meaning of


- ower, owre [aur] - too

- maist - nearly

- clean - at all

- that - so

- feckly - in many cases

- freely - fully

- naarhan, nighhan - nearly

- han, fair - at all

d) Adverbs of time:

whan, fan - when

belive, belyve - now

yinst - at once

neist - then

fernyear - last year

afore (= before)

e.g. Us can wait avore you be ready, sir.

next - in some time

e.g. next day = the day after tomorrow

while = till, if

e.g. Youll never make any progress while you listen to me.

You have to wait while Saturday.

3.8 Transitivity and intransivity in the dialects of South-West


One of the most important aspects of studying south-western English is

dialect syntax. So, the article by Jean-Marc Gachelin can give us much

information about transitivity and intransitivity in the dialects of South-

West England.

Wakelin has pointed out that syntax is an unwieldy subject which

dialectologists have fought shy of. This brushing aside of dialect syntax

is regrettable because the study of grammatical variation can shed light on

the workings of any language, and thereby enrich general linguistics. The

present chapter deals with an area of dialect syntax - transitivity in

south-west of England dialects - and attempts to characterize and explain,

synchronically and diachronically, its salient features.

We prefer the moderation of Kilby, who simply admits that the notion

of direct object (DO) is not at all transparent in its usage. The

problem, therefore, should be not so much to discard but rather to improve

our notions of transitivity and intransitivity. In this regard, the

dialects of South-west England are important and interesting.

1. A description of transitivity and intransitivity in the dialects of

South-west England.

When compared with the corresponding standard language, any

geographical variety may be characterized by three possibilities:

(a) identity; (b) archaism (due to slower evolution); and (c)

innovation. Interestingly enough, it is not uncommon in syntax for (b) and

(c) to combine if a given dialect draws extensively on a secondary aspect

of an older usage. This is true of two features which are highly

characteristic of the South-west and completely absent in contemporary

Standard English.

1.1 Infinitive + y

One of these characteristics is mentioned by Wakelin, the optional

addition of the -y ending to the infinitive of any real intransitive verb

or any transitive verb not followed by a DO, namely object-deleting verbs

(ODVs) and ergatives. The use of this ending is not highlighted in the

Survey of English Dialects (SED, Orton and Wakelin). It is only indirectly,

when reading about relative pronouns, that we come upon There iddn (=

isnt) many (who) can sheary now, recorded in Devon (Orton and Wakelin).

However, Widen gives the following examples heard in Dorset: farmy,

flickery, hoopy (to call), hidy, milky, panky (to pant), rooty (talking

of a pig), whiny. Three of these verbs are strictly intransitive (ftickery,

panky, whiny), the others being ODVs. Wright also mentions this

characteristic, chiefly in connection with Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

In the last century, Barnes made use of the -y ending in his Dorset

poems, both when the infinitive appears after to:

reky = rake


drashy = thresh


and after a modal (as in the example from the SED):

Mid (= may) happy housen smoky round/The church.

The cat veil zick an woulden mousy.

But infin.+y can also be found after do (auxiliary), which in South-

west dialects is more than a more signal of verbality, serving as a tense-

marker as well as a person-marker (do everywhere except for dost, 2nd pers.

sing.). Instead of being emphatic, this do can express the progressive

aspect or more often the durative-habitual (= imperfective) aspect, exactly

like the imperfect of Romance languages. Here are a few examples culled

from Barness poems:

Our merry shepes did jumpy.

When I do pitchy, tis my pride (meaning of the verb, cf pitch-fork).

How ga the paths be where we do strolly.

Besides ODVs and intransitive verbs, there is also an ergative:

doors did slammy.

In the imperative, infin. -y only appears with a negative:

dont sobby!

The optional use of the -y ending is an advantage in dialect poetry

for metre or rhyme:

Vor thine wull peck, an mine wull grubby (rhyming with snubby)

And this ending probably accounts for a phonetic peculiarity of South-west

dialects, namely the apocope of to arguy (the former dialect pronunciation

of to argue), to carry and to empty, reduced to to arg, to car and to empt.

In the grammatical part of his Glossary of the Dorset Dialect, Barnes

insists on the aspectual connection between do and infin.+y:

Belonging to this use of the free infinitive y-ended verbs, is

another kindred one, the showing of a repetition or habit of doing as How

the dog do jumpy, i-e keep jumping. The child do like to whippy, amuse

himself with whipping. Idle chap, hell do nothen but vishy, (spend his

time in fishing), if you do leve en alwone. He do markety, he usually

attends market.

Barnes also quotes a work by Jennings in which this South-west feature

was also described:

Another peculiarity is that of attaching to many of the common verbs

in the infinitive mode as well as to some other parts of different

conjugations, the letter -y. Thus it is very common to say I cant sewy,

I cant nursy, he cant reapy, he cant sawy, as well as to sewy, to

nursy, to reapy, to sawy, etc; but never, I think, without an auxiliary

verb, or the sign of the infinitive to.

Barnes claimed, too, that the collocation of infin. +y and the DO was

unthinkable: We may say, Can ye zewy? but never Wull ye zewy up these

zam? Wull ye zew up these zam would be good Dorset.

Elworthy also mentions the opposition heard in Somerset between I do

dig the garden and Every day, I do diggy for three hours (quoted by

Jespersen and by Rogers). Concerning the so-called free infinitive,

Wiltshire-born Rogers comments that it is little heard now, but was common

in the last century, which tallies with the lack of examples in the SED.

(This point is also confirmed by Itialainen) Rogers is quite surprised to

read of a science-fiction play (BBC, 15 March 1978) entitled Stargazy in

Zummerland, describing a future world in which the population was divided

between industrial and agricultural workers, the latter probably using some

form of south-western speech, following a time-honoured stage tradition

already perceptible in King Lear (disguised as a rustic, Edgar speaks broad


To sum up, after to, do (auxiliary), or a modal, the formula of the

free infinitive is

intr. V > infin. + -y/0

where intr. implies genuine intransitives, ODVs and even ergatives. As a

dialect-marker, -y is now on the wane, being gradually replaced by 0 due to

contact with Standard English.

1.2 Of + DO

The other typical feature of south-western dialects is not mentioned

by Wakelin, although it stands out much more clearly in the SED data. This

is the optional use of o/ov (occasionally on) between a transitive verb

and its DO. Here are some of the many examples. Stripping the feathers off

a dead chicken (Orton and Wakelin) is called:

pickin/pluckin ov it (Brk-loc. 3);

trippin o en (= it) (D-loc. 6);

pickin o en (Do-loc. 3);

pluckin(g) on en - (W-loc. 9; Sx-loc. 2).

Catching fish, especially trout, with ones hand (Orton and Wakelin)

is called:

ticklin o/ov em (= them) (So-loc. 13; W-loc. 2, 8; D-loc. 2, 7, 8; Do-

loc. 2-5; Ha-loc. 4);

gropin o/ov em (D-loc. 4, 6);

ticklin on em (W-loc. 3, 4; Ha-loc. 6; Sx-loc. 3);

tickle o em (Do-loc. l) (note the absence of -in(g)).

The confusion between of and on is frequent in dialects, but although

on may occur where of is expected, the reverse is impossible. The

occasional use of on instead of of is therefore unimportant. What really

matters is the occurrence of of, o or ov between a transitive verb and the

DO. The presence of the -in(g) ending should also attract our attention: it

occurs in all the examples except tickle o em, which is exceptional since,

when the SED informants used an infinitive in their answers, their syntax

was usually identical with that of Standard English, ie without of

occurring before the DO: glad to see you, (he wants to) hide it (Orton and


Following Jespersen, Lyons makes a distinction between real

transitives (/ hit you: action > goal) and verbs which are only

syntactically transitives (/ hear you: goal < action). It is a pity that

the way informants were asked questions for the SED (What do we do with

them? - Our eyes/ears) does not enable us to treat the transitive verbs

see Orton and Wakelin and hear (Orton and Wakelin) other than as ODVs.

The use of of as an operator between a transitive verb and its DO was

strangely enough never described by Barnes, and is casually dismissed as an

otiose of by the authors of the SED, even though nothing can really be

otiose in any language system. Rogers points out that Much more widely

found formerly, it is now confined to sentences where the pronouns en, it

and em are the objects. This is obvious in the SED materials, as,

incidentally, it is in these lines by Barnes:

To work all day a-meken ha/Or pitchen ot.

Nevertheless, even if his usage is in conformity with present syntax,

it is important to add that, when Barnes was alive, o/ov could precede any

DO (a-meken ov ha would equally have been possible). What should also be

noted in his poetry is the extremely rare occurrence of o/ov after a

transitive verb with no -en (= -ing) ending, which, as we just saw, is

still very rare in modern speech:

Zoo I dont mind o leven it to-morrow.

Zoo I dont mind o leven ot to-morrow.

The second line shows a twofold occurrence of o after two transitive

verbs, one with and one without -en.

This -en ending can be a marker of a verbal noun, a gerund or a

present participle (as part of a progressive aspect form or on its own),

and o may follow in each case.


My own a-decken ov my own (my own way of dressing my darling).

This is the same usage as in Standard English he doesnt like my

driving of his car.


That wer vor hetten on (that was for hitting him).

. . . little chance/O catchen on.

I be never the better vor zee-en o you.

The addition of o to a gerund is optional: Vor grinden any corn vor

bread is similar to Standard English.


As I wer readen ov a stwone (about a headstone).

Rogers gives two examples of the progressive aspect:

I be stackin on em up.

I were a-peeling of the potatoes (with a different spelling).


To vind me stannen in the cwold, / A-keepen up o Chrismas.

After any present participle, the use of o is also optional:

Where vok be out a-meken ha.

The general formula is thus:

trans. V > V + o/0

which can also be read as

MV (main verb) > trans. V + o/0 + DO.

Here, o stands for o (the most common form), ov and even on. In modem

usage, the DO, which could be a noun or noun phrase in Barness day and

age, appears from the SED materials to be restricted to personal pronouns.

For modern dialects, the formula thus reads:

MV > trans. V + o/0 + pers. pron.

The o is here a transitivity operator which, exactly like an

accusative ending in a language with case declensions, disappears in the

passive. Consequently, the phenomenon under discussion here has to be

distinguished from that of prepositional verbs, which require the retention

of the preposition in the passive:

We have thought of all the possible snags. >

All the possible snags have been thought of.

The use of o as a transitivity operator in active declaratives is also

optional, which represents another basic difference from prepositional


Exactly the same opposition, interestingly enough, applies in south-

western dialects also:

[1] He is (a-) eten o cekes > What is he (a-) eten?

[2] He is (a-) dremen ocekes > What is he (a-) dremen ov?

What remains a preposition in [1] and [2] works as the link between a

transitive verb and its DO. The compulsory deletion of the operator o in

questions relating to the DO demonstrates the importance here of the word

order (V + o + DO), as does also the similar triggering of deletion by


Though now used in a more restricted way, ie before personal pronouns

only, this syntactic feature is better preserved in the modern dialects

than the

-y ending of intransitive verbs, but, in so far as it is only optional, it

is easy to detect the growing influence of Standard English.

2. Diachrony as an explanation of these features.

Although the above description has not been purely synchronic, since

it cites differences in usage between the nineteenth and twentieth

centuries, it is actually only by looking back at even earlier stages of

the language that we can gain any clear insights into why the dialects have

developed in this way.

Both Widen and Wakelin remind us that the originally strictly

morphological -y ending has since developed into a syntactic feature. It is

a survival of the Middle English infinitive ending -ie(n), traceable to the

-ian suffix of the second class of Old English weak verbs (OE milcian > ME

milkie(n) > south-west dial. milky). Subsequently, -y has been analogically

extended to other types of verbs in south-west dialects under certain

syntactic conditions: in the absence of any DO, through sheer impossibility

(intransitive verb) or due to the speakers choice (ODV or ergative). The

only survival of medieval usage is the impossibility of a verb form like

milky being anything other than an infinitive. Note that this cannot be

labelled an archaism, since the standard language has never demonstrated

this particular syntactic specialization.

So far no explanation seems to have been advanced for the origin of

otiose of, and yet it is fairly easy to resort to diachrony in order to

explain this syntactic feature. Let us start, however, with contemporary

Standard English:

[3] They sat, singing a shanty. (present participle on its own)

[4] They are singing a shanty. (progressive aspect)

[5] I like them/their singing a shanty. (gerund)

[6] I like their singing of a shanty. (verbal noun)

Here [5] and [6] are considered nominalizations from a synchronic point of

view. As far as [4] is concerned, Barnes reminds his readers that the OE

nominalization ic waes on hunlunge (I was in the process of hunting, cf

Aelfrics Colloquim: fui in. venatione) is the source of modern / was

hunting, via an older structure I was (a-) hunting which is preserved in

many dialects, the optional verbal prefix a- being what remains of the

preposition on.

The nominal nature of V-ing is still well established in the verbal

noun (with the use of of in particular), and it is here that the starting-

point of a chain reaction lies. Hybrid structures (verbal nouns/gerunds)

appeared as early as Middle English, as in

bi puttyng forth of whom so it were (1386 Petition of Mercers)

and similar gerunds followed by of were still a possibility in Elizabethan


Rend not my heart for naming of my Christ (Marlowe, Doctor Faustus)

together with verbal nouns not followed by any of:

... as the putting him clean out of his humour (B. Jonson, Every Man

out of his Humour).

Having been extended from the verbal noun to the gerund, of also

eventually spread to the progressive aspect in the sixteenth and

seventeenth centuries, at a time when the V-ing + of sequence became very

widespread in Standard English:

Are you crossing of yourself? (Marlowe, Doctor Faustus).

He is hearing of a cause (Shakespeare, Measure for Measure).

She is taking of her last farewell (Bunyan, The Pilgims Progress).

However, what is definitely an archaism in Standard English has been

preserved in south-western dialects, which have gone even further and also

added an optional o to the present participle used on its own (ie other

than in the progressive aspect). Moreover, there is even a tendency, as we

have seen, to use o after a transitive verb without the -en (= -ing)

ending. This tendency, which remains slight, represents the ultimate point

of a chain reaction that can be portrayed as follows:

Use of o in the environment following:

(A) (B) (C)


verbal noun > gerund > be + V-ing > pres. part. > V


(A) evolution from Middle English to the Renaissance;

(B) evolution typical of English in the sixteenth and seventeenth


(C) evolution typical of south-western dialects;

(D) marginal tendency in south-western dialects.

The dialect usage is more than a mere syntactic archaism: not only

have the south-western dialects preserved stages (A) and (B); they are also

highly innovative in stages (C) and (D). (18, p.218)

4. Vocabulary.

Devonshire (Dev)

Somersetshire (Som)

Wiltshire (Wil)

Cornwall (Cor)


Abroad - adj , , ; ,

; , ( ): The potatoes are

abroad. The sugar is gone abroad.

Addle, Udall, Odal (Dev) - v , , ,

; ( ) , [gu. ola, . olask -

(), oal - ]

Ail (Wil, Dev) - n ()

Aller (Dev) - n , ; : Suke died acause her

aller wanted letting.

Answer (Som) - v , ( ,

); : That there poplar ont never answer out of

doors, tll be a ratted in no time; ~ to: -,

-: Clay land easily answers to bones.

Any () - adj, adv, pron: any bit like - , ,

( , , ): Ill come and see thee tomorrow

if its only any-bit-like; any more than - ; : Hes sure to

come any more than he might be a bit late. I should be sure to go to school

any more than Ive not got a gownd to my back.

Attle (Cor) - n ,


Bach, Batch, Bage (Som) - n , ; ,

; ; ,

Bad (Wil) - n

Badge (Wil) - v ,

Balch (Dev, Cor) - n ,

Bam (Cor) - n , , : Its nowt but a bam.

(Wil, Som) - n , ,

Ban (Som) - v ;

Bannock (Wil, Som, Dev) - n /

Barge (Dev) - n ; v ,

Barney (Som) - n , ; ; ;


Barton (Wil, Dev, Som, Cor) - n ;


Barvel (Cor) - n ,


Bate (Som, Dev) - n , ; v


Beagle, Bogle (Dev) - n ; ; ,

Beet, Boot (Cor) - v , , ;

Besgan, Biscan, Vescan (Cor) - n ;

Big (Som, Cor) - adj , : Smith and Brown are very

big; v ; v ( up) , ( ); ,

( )

Bogzom (Dev) - adj -; : Ya ha made ma chucks bugzom.

Bribe (Wil) - v , ; , : She terrible

bribed I.

Brindled (Som) - ppl adj ,

Bruick-boil (Dev) - v ; ( )

Bunt (Som, Dev, Cor) - n ; v

(Wil) - n

Buss, boss (Wil, Dev, Cor) - n

But (Som) - n ( )

(Cor) - v (): Ive butted my thumb.


Cab (Som, Dev, Cor) - n , - ,

(adj cabby); v

Cad (Som) - n (, .); pl

; ,

Call (Som) - v ,

Cam (Cor) - n ; adj ;

Casar (Dev, Cor) - n ; v

Caw (Dev) - v ; n

Cawk (Som) - v ,

Chack (Dev, Cor) - adj ppl chackt, chacking - ;

Cheap (Som) - adj . be cheap on - -

Chill (Dev, Som) - v (); chilled water -

Chilver (Wil, Som) - n

Chissom (Wil, Som, Dev) - n , (); v


Chuck (Som, Dev) - n , ,

Clib (Dev, Cor) - v ; ,

Clivan, Clevant, Callyvan, Vant (Som) - n : You be

like a wren in a clivan.

Clock (Som) - n

Coath (Som, Dev) - n ; v

Cob (Cor) - n

Cold (Som, Dev, Wil, Cor) - to catch cold - ; to cast

the cold of a thing - -

; cold cheer - ; cold hand -

; cold lady -

Colley (Wil) - n , ;

Colt (Wil) - n ; v ( )

Cooch (Coochy) (Dev, Cor) - n ; adj

Cook (Som) - v ; ,

Coose (Dev, Cor) - v ;

Cotton (Som, Dev) - v ,

Cowerd (Wil, Som) - adj ( )

Crib (Dev, Cor) - n ; v

Crowd (Som, Dev, Cor) - n


Dain (Wil) - adj

Dare (Wil, Som, Dev) - v , ; ;

Dawk (Wil, Som) - n ; v ; ( ); adj

; v

Denshire (Wil, Dev) - v

Dey (Wil) - n ,

Dool (Dev) - n ( ); ( ); ,

; ; v (

); ( off) , ,

Downy (Som) - adj , ; ,

Drill (Dev) - v ; , ;

; -

Dupl (= do up) (Wil) - v ; , ;

Dwall (Som, Dev) - v , ; n

Dwam (Dev) - n ;


Ear (Wil, Som) - v

Easse (Wil, Som) - n

Elt, Hilt (Som, Dev) - n

Eve (Wil, Dev, Cor) - v , ;

Evil (Dev, Cor) - n ; ; v


Fadge (Som, Dev, Cor) - v , :

They dont fadge well together; ; ; -

, ; , ; n ; , ;


Fady (Dev, Cor) - adj

Fage (Som) - v , ;

Fain (Dev) - v ( : Fain it! !; adj

, ; adv ; n ( )

Farewell (Wil, Som, Dev) - n : The butter leaves a clammy

farewell in the mouth.

Favour (Dev) - v ,

Fawny (Dev) - n

Feat (Wil, Dev) - adj ( );

; ;

Feer (Wil) - v ; n

Fenny, Vinny (Wil) - adj

Fitten (Wil, Som) - n , ; ,

Flag (Wil, Dev) - n

Flaw (Dev, Cor) - n

Flawn, Flome (Dev) - n , ; ,


Fleck (Som) - n ; ;

Flue (Wil) - adj , , ; ; (

); ,

Fly (Som) - adj

Fogger (Wil) - n ; , ,

Framp (Som, Dev) - adj ( : framp-shaken; framp-shapen)


Frape (Som, Dev, Cor) - v ;

Fur (Som, Dev, Cor) - v , ; ; ,

: Ive nobbut a shillin to fur tweek on with.

Furcom, Fircom (Wil, Som) - n , , - ;

pl : Ill tell ee all the fircoms ont.


Gaff (Dev) - n ; ;

; ,

Gale (Som, Dev, Cor) - n -,

Glam (Dev) - n

Gout (Cor), Gutt - n ; -; adj Gouty - ,

Graft (Cor, Dev, Som, Wil) - n , ;

Great (Dev) - adj : The glass is great enough. His

brother is great and strong; , : My

brother is very great with the lad; great folks - ; adv

: great foul, great likely, great mich, a great high wall;

: great-work; work by the great


Hackle (Wil) - n ; ; ; v

( )

Hag(g) (Som, Wil, Dev) - v , ; ; n

, ;

Halsen (Som, Dev, Cor) - v ;

Hange (Som, Dev, Cor) - n (, , ) -

Harl(e) (Som) - v , ; ;

Hathe (Som) - n , ; be in a hathe -

Hathern (Som) - n : I first catched a hold othe hathern so I

jissy saved I.

Havage (Dev, Cor) - n ,

Hearst (Som, Dev) - n

Hile (Som) - n , ; v ( ) ;

Hint (Wil) - v , ;

(Som) - v ,

Ho, Hoe, How (Som) - v -; ,

-, -

Hocksy (Wil), . OXY - adj ,

Hog (Dev) - n ( ),


Hoggan (Cor) - n (. Fuggan, Hobban);

Holiday (Cor), Holliday - n ,


Hope (Som) - n ; ,

, .: ;

Horry, Howery (Som, Dev) - adj , ;

Hound (Som) - n pl

Hovel, Hobble (Som) - v , ;

; n : He got a good hovel.

How (Dev) - n

Hug (Som) - n ; v , (- )

Huss (Som) - v -


Ignorant (Wil, Som) - adj : I thought it would look so

ignorant to stop you.

Inkle (Dev, Cor) - n ( ,



Jack (Cor, Dev, Som, Wil) - v , (),

Jail (Cor) - v

Jimmy (Som) - adj , ; ;


Keech (Wil, Som) - v ( , );

( ); n (, )

Keeve (Som, Dev, Cor) - n

Keffel (Som) - n ( ); ;


Kemps (Som) - n

Kern (Dev, Som, Cor) - v ( );

Kibbit (Dev, Cor) - n ,

Kindle (Som) - v ( , )


Lag (Cor) - v

Lammock (Cor) - n

Lart (Som, Dev) - n ( );

Lashing (Dev, Cor) - n pl (. Lashings and Lavins)

-; adj ,

Law (Som, Dev) - n ; ; ; v

Leap (Som) - n

Lear (Dev, Som) - adj

Let, Lat (Wil, Som, Cor) - v , , ;

; n , : without let or hindrance

Letch (Som, Dev) - n ;

Letting - adj ( )

Lewth (Wil, Som, Dev) - n ; ,

Lewze, Looze (Som, Dev) - n

Lich (Som, Dev) - n

Lidden (Som, Dev, Cor) - n ;

Lide (Wil, Cor) - n

Lig, Liggan (Cor) - n ;

Linch (Dev, Cor) - v

Lissom (Wil, Som, Dev) - n -;

Litten (Wil, Som) - n

Lock (Som, Dev, Cor) - n -,

Lodden (Cor) - n ,

Log (Dev, Cor) - v ,

Loker (Dev) - n

Lourve, Luffer, Loover (Som) - n ,

Low (Dev) - n ;


Mang (Wil, Som, Dev) - v

Maskel (Som, Dev) - n ;

Masker (Dev) - v : He got maskered ithe snow-storm

othe hill; ; , : He coughs sometimes

like as if hed masker; ;

Maxim (Som, Dev, Cor) - n , : Ive tried every

sort o maxims wi un, but I cant make-n grow; pl , ; v

: I zeed min maximin about in the fiel.

Magzard (Som, Dev, Cor) - n

Meech (Som, Dev) - v (about); ,

; ; , ;

Meet (Dev) - adj , ,

Ment (Som) - v -: He ments his father; n

Mickle (Wil) - adj, adv

Mickled (Dev) - ppl: mickled with cold - ;

, (, )

Mock (Som, Dev, Cor) - n ( ), ; adv

Mocking - , : I think, sir, that we had better put in

them plants mocking; v : The black squares on

a chess-board mock each other.

Mog(g) (Som) - v ; ;

Mogue (Som) - v ;

Mole (Som) - n ;

Moot (Som, Dev, Cor) - n ; v , ; -

Mop (Wil) - n ,


More (Wil, Som, Dev, Cor) - n ; ;

, , ; v ( ); ,

Mort (Som, Dev, Cor) - n ,

Mugget (Som, Dev, Cor) - n

Mungy (Cor) - adj ( ) ; ( )

Muryan (Cor) - n


Nammet (Wil, Som, Dev, Cor) - n ( );

Naty (Dev, Cor) - adj ( ) , ,

Neck (Som, Dev, Cor) - n

Neive (Dev) - n ,

Nim (Som, Dev) - v ; ,

Nitch (Wil, Som, Dev) - n (, , ); ;

Noil (Som) - n , ;


Nool (Cor) - v ; Nooling - n

Northering (Som, Dev) - ppl, adj ( ); ,

Not (Som, Dev) - adj , ( ); Notted -


Oast, East (Dev) - n ;

Oaze, Hose (N-W Dev) - n pl

Oddy, Hoddy (Wil) - adj , ,

Old (Dev) - adj , , , : auld to do =

a great fass, auld wark - ; old doing = great sport, great feasting,

an uncommon display of hospitality; a pratty old tap = a great speed;

, ; (): He looked very old about it. The

child was little and old; , : Hes too old for you. He

looked very old at me = he looked very knowingly (distrustfully, angrily,

askance) at me.

Ollet, Elet (Wil) - n ,

Orch, Horch (Dev) - v

Ore (Dev, Cor) - n ; ,

Orrel (Cor) - n ,


Paise (Wil, Som, Dev, Cor) - v ( );


Pame (Som, Dev) - n ; ,

Pancheon (Cor) - n ( )

Peach (Cor) - v ( away); Peacher - n

Ped (Dev, Cor) - n ,

Pelf (Dev, Cor) - n , ; , ; (.)

Peller (Cor) - n ;

Pilch (Som, Cor) - n ()

Pind, Pindy (Som) - adj ,

Play (Som) - v , : Didth pot play when you come?;

; ~ in - ; ~ up -

Plim (Som, Dev) - v , , ;


Plum (Wil, Dev, Cor) - v ; ( ); adj (


Polt (Wil) - v ; n

Pomple (Som) - adj , ( )

Pomster, Pompsy, Pounster (Som, Dev, Cor) - n ; v

: Dont pomster thyself.

Pook (Wil, Som, Cor) - n , , ; v ; ()

Prill (Som, Dev, Cor) - v , ( ),

( , ): a-prilled, a-pirled

Punish (Dev) - v , ; ; :

His leg did punish him so. I punished so in the new boots; ,

Pur (Som) - n

Put (Som, Cor, Dev, Wil) - v ; - ; put

in - ; , (); -; put

out - , ; put to (till) - ; ;

; ; v


Quank (Wil) - v ; ; adj ,

Quar (Som, Dev) - v ( ) ;

Quarrel (Dev, Som, Cor, Wil) - n

Queachy (Som) - adj ,

Quilkin (Dev, Cor) - n ,


Rag (Dev) - n ; ;

Rake (Cor) - n , , ; ; ,


Rally (Som, Dev) - v , ; , ;


Rames (Wil, Som, Dev, Cor) - n pl , ;

Rane (Som, Dev) - n (, ); ()

Rap (Som, Dev, Cor, Wil) - v , -; n

Rare (Som, Dev, Cor) - adj ( , ); ,

Rawn (Wil, Som, Dev, Cor) - v ; ;

; rawned - adj

Ray (Som, Dev) - v ; ; ;

Read (Som) - n ;

; v ; ; ;

Ream (Dev, Cor) - n

Rear (Wil, Dev, Cor) - adj ( , ) , ,

: Ah likes my bacon a bit rare; ( ) ; (


Rear-mouse (Wil, Som, Dev) - n

Reck (Som) - n

Reese (Cor) - v ( )

Ridder, Riddle (Wil, Som, Cor) - n ; v

Rind, Render, Rander, Rainder (Dev) - v

Roak(e) (Wil) - n ; ;

Rode (Cor) - n , ,

Rose, Rouse (Som, Dev, Cor) - v , ( );

; n ;

Rouse (Wil, Dev) - v

Rum (Dev) - adj ; ; adv , ,


Sam (Wil, Som, Dev, Cor) - n, adj

( ), ( )

Sammy (Wil) - adj ; ; ;

Sang, Songle (Dev, Cor) - n ;

Sawk (Dev, Cor) - n ,

Sax (Som, Dev, Cor) - n ; v

Scat, Scad (Dev, Cor) - n ;

(; ): a scat of fine weather

Scorse (Som, Dev, Cor) - v , -

Scovy (Som, Dev, Cor) - adj ,

Scoy (Cor) - adj , ; ,

Scraw (Cor) - v ;

Scrint (Com, Dev) - v ; ;

Scug (Cor) - n

Seam (Som, Dev, Cor) - n , ( )

Sean (Dev, Cor) - n

Shape (Wil) - v , : We mun shape our way home;

- ,

Shippen (Som, Dev, Cor) - n

Shut (Wil, Som) - v -; ,

: He shut his addings in drink.

Sim, Zim (Wil) - n (


Skeel (Wil) - n ;

Skeeling, Sheal, Shealing (Wil) - n

Skit (Cor) - n ; ; ; ; ; v

-; ; ;

Slade (Som, Cor) - n ; ;

Slock (Som, Dev, Cor) - v , ; n , ;

Sloke (Dev) - v

Smarry (Dev) - n

Smoot, Smeut, Smoat, Smot, Smout, Smut, Smute (Som, Dev) - n = Smeuse;

v ; , ( )

Sober (Dev) - adj , ; ; ,

Sowl (Dev) - v ; ;

Speer (Som) - v ; (. at); , (.

about, into, out);

Spell (Som) - n , ; v ;

Spend (Cor) - n ,

Spur (Cor) - n (a pure spur, a bra spur -

): She has been gon a bra spur.

Stean (Wil, Som, Dev, Cor) - n

Steg (Wil) - n ; ; ;

Stem (Wil, Som, Dev, Cor) - n ; ()

Stout (Wil, Som) - n

Strad (Som, Dev) - n pl , ,

Stub (Som, Dev) - n ; -: He

lefn a good stub; v ,

Sull (Wil, Som, Dev) - n

Summer, Simmer (Wil, Som, Dev) - n , , ;

Summering (Som, Dev) - n

Survey (Som, Dev, Cor) - n

Swale (Dev) - v


Tallet (Wil, Som, Dev, Cor) - n


Tave (Som) - v , , ; ;

; ; n ( )

Tease (Som) - v

Teel (Wil, Cor, Som, Dev) - v -; : tile

a gate; ; -

Teen (Cor, Dev) - n

Tell (Som, Cor) - v , : Did you tell the clock when

it stuck?; ( out, down): They must tell down good five

pounds; ( - ): The judge told a man for


Temporary, Tempery, Tempory (Som) - adj , , : My

clock - warks are gettin rather temporary. Yere a temporary creature.

Temse (Wil) - n ; v ,

Tetch (Som, Dev) - n ; ; Tetchy - adj ;

( )

Tewly (Wil) - adj , , , ;

, ( )

Thirl (Som, Dev, Cor) - adj , ; ; ( ) ,

Throw (Som) - v , : Thick marell drow a good colt;

-; , ; ,

Tie (Som, Cor) - n ;

Tift (Dev) - v ,

Till, Toll (Dev, Cor) - v , ; (-)

Tine (Wil, Som, Dev) - v ;

Trant (Som) - v

Trig (Wil, Som, Dev, Cor) - v , , ,

Truff (Som, Dev, Cor) - n

Twire (Wil) - v


Unco (Wil) - n pl ,

Ure (Cor) - n ,


Vair (Som, Dev, Cor) - n ()

Vlare (Som) - n ,

Vreach (Som, Dev) - adj ,


Wairsh (Dev) - adj , ; ;

Wake (Wil) - n ; (pl)

Wall (Som) - v

Wang (Som) - n ; v , ( );

Want (Som, Cor, Wil, Dev) - n

Warth (Som) - n ( );

Wat (Cor) - n

Weel, Weil (Cor) - n

Wem, Wen (Cor) - n , ;

Went, Vent, Want, Wint (Som, Cor, Dev) - n , ;

; v ; ( , )

Win (Som, Dev) - v (, , .) ; n

Wink (Cor) - n

Wride (Cor, Som, Dev) - v ( )

; ; ; n


Yote (Wil, Som) - v , , ; ,


1. In considering the history and development of the English language we

may maintain that a regional variety of English is a complex of regional

standard norms and dialects. We must admit, however, that rural dialects,

in the conservative sense of the word, are almost certainly dying out (e.g.

the Cornish language): increasing geographical mobility, centralization and

urbanization are undoubtedly factors in this decline. Owing to specific

ways of development, every regional variety is characterized by a set of

features identical to a variety of English.

In the United Kingdom RP is a unique national standard.

About seventy or so years ago along with regional types dozen

upon dozens of

rural dialects co-existed side by side in the country. The

situation has greatly

changed since and specifically after the Second World War.

Dialects survive for

the most part in rural districts and England is a highly

urbanized country and has

very few areas that are remote or difficult to access. Much of

the regional variation

in pronunciation currently to be found in the country is

gradually being lost. On the

other hand, it is important to note that urban dialects are

undergoing developments

of a new type, and the phonetic differences between urban

varieties seem to be on

the increase.

The United Kingdom is particular about accents, in the sense that

here attitudes and

prejudices many people hold towards non-standard

pronunciations are still

very strong.

Therefore RP has always been and still is the

prestigious national standard

pronunciation, the so-called implicitly accepted social standard.

In spite of the fact

that RP speakers form a very small percentage of the British

population, it has the

highest status of British English pronunciation and is genuinely


2. The comparative analysis of the phonetic system of the regional

varieties of English pronunciation shows the differences in the

pronunciation in the system of consonant and vowel phonemes.

3. The comparative analysis of the grammar presents the difference between

the standard language and the dialects of the South-West of England.

In conclusion we may say that the problems of the regional dialects

(its phonetic, grammar and lexical systems) open up wide vistas for

further investigations.

B I B L I O G R A P H Y.

1. .. :

. ., 1988

2. .. .

. ., 1980

3. ..

. ., 1982

4. Allen B.H., Linn M.D. Dialect and language variation, Orlando, 1986

5. Brook G.L. English Dialects, Oxford Un. Press, 1963

6. Brook G.L. Varieties of English, Lnd, 1977

7. Cheshire J. Variation in an English dialect. A sociolinguistic study,

Cambridge Un. Press, 1982

8. Crystal D. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language,

Cambridge, 1995

9. Encyclopedia Britannica CD 2000 Deluxe Edition

10. Gimson A.C. An Introduction to the Pronunciation of English, Lnd, 1981

11. Hughes and Trudgill, English accents and dialects: An introduction to

social and regional varieties of British English, Lnd, 1979

12. Malmstrom J., Weaver C Transgrammar. English structure, style and

dialects, Brighton, 1973

13. Shaw G.B. Pygmalion, NY, 1994

14. Sheerin S., Seath J., White G. Spotlight on Britain, Oxford, 1990

15. Shopen T., Williams J.M. Standards and dialects in English, Cambridge,


16. Trudgill P. On dialect: Social and Geographical Perspectives, NY and

Lnd, 1984

17. Trudgill P. Dialects in Contact, Oxford, 1986

18. Trudgill P., Chambers J.K. Dialects of English Studies in grammatical

variation. Longman, 9

19. Wakelin M.F. Discovering English Dialects, Shire Publications LTD, 1978


20. Hornby A.S. Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary of Current English,

Oxford Un. Press, 1996

Audio tapes analysed:

21. Accents, Glossa Melit, M., 2000

TV program analysed:

22. Holiday in the Southwest, the channel Discovery, 2000


The Southwest.

The principal industries here are farming and tourism. There are some

very big farms, but most are small family farms with a mixture of cows,

sheep and crops. The main emphasis is on dairy products - milk and butter.

On Exmoor and Dartmoor, two areas of higher land, conditions are ideal for

rearing sheep and beef-cattle.

Industry is centered on three large ports: Bristol in the north, and

Portsmouth and Southampton in the south-east. In Bristol, aircraft are

designed and built. In Portsmouth and Southampton, the main industries are

shipbuilding and oil-refining.

1. Holiday time in the West Country.

The countries of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset are often called the

West Country. They have always been popular with holiday-makers, so there

are a large number of hotels, caravan - and camping-sites and private

houses and farms which offer bed and breakfast. There is a beautiful

countryside, where people can get away from it all, and the coastline

offers the best beaches and surfing in England. Also, the weather is

usually warmer than in the rest of the country.

2. West Country Food.

The national drink of Devon is a cream tea. This consists of a pot of

tea and scones served with strawberry jam and cream. The cream is not the

same as that found in the rest of the country. It is called clotted cream,

and it is much thicker and yellower than ordinary cream. And there is

another national dish called a Cornish pasty.

Pasties used to be the main food of Cornish miners fishermen about 150

years ago, because they provided a convenient meal to take to work. They

were made of pastry which had either sweet or savoury fillings, and were

marked with the owners initials on one end. This was so that if he did not

eat all his pasty at once he would know which one belonged to him!

Somerset has always been famous for its cheeses. The most popular

variety is probably Cheddar, which is a firm cheese. It usually has a

rather mild flavour but if it is left to ripen, it tastes stronger, and is

sold in the shops as mature Cheddar. It takes its name from a small town,

which is also, a beauty-spot well-known for its caves, which contain

stalagmites and stalactites.

A West Country famous drink is Somerset cider or "Scrumpy" as it is

called. Cider is made from apples and is sold all over the United Kingdom,

but scrumpy is much stronger, and usually has small pieces of the fruit

floating in it.

3. Sightseeings.

The country of Wiltshire is most famous for the great stone monuments

of Stonehenge and Avebury, and the huge earth pyramid of Silbury. No

written records exist of the origins of these features and they have always

been surrounded by mystery.

Stonehenge is the best known and probably the most remarkable of

prehistoric remains in the UK. It has stood on Salisbury Plain for about

4000 years. There have been many different theories about its original use

and although modern methods of investigation have extended our knowledge,

no one is certain why it was built.

One theory is that it was a place from where stars and planets could

be observed. It was discovered that the positions of some of the stones

related to the movements of the sun and moon, so that the stones could be

used as a calendar to predict such things as eclipses. At one time, people

thought that Stonehenge was a Druid temple. The Druids were a Celtic

religious group who was suppressed in Great Britain soon after the Roman

Conquest. Some people believe that they were a group of priests, while

others regarded them as medicine-men who practised human sacrifice and


Because Stonehenge had existed 1000 years before the arrival of the

Druids, this theory has been rejected, but it is possible that the Druids

used it as a temple. The theory is kept alive today by members of a group

called the Most Ancient Order of Druids who perform mystic rites at dawn

on the summer solstice. Every year, they meet at Stonehenge to greet the

first midsummer sunlight as it falls on the stones and they lay out

symbolic elements of fire, water, bread, salt and a rose.

Another interesting theory is that the great stone circle was used to

store terrestrial energy, which was then generated across the country,

possibly through ley lines. Ley lines is the name given to invisible

lines, which link up ancient sites through out Britain. They were thought

to be tracks by which prehistoric man travelled about the country, but now

many people believe that they are mysterious channels for a special kind of


4. The sea-ships and sailors.

The coastline of the Southwest of England stretches for 650 miles

(over 1000 km), and has many different features: cliffs, sand, sheltered

harbours, estuaries and marshes. It is not surprising that much of the

activity in this region has been inspired by the sea.

Side by side on the south coast of Hampshire are the two ports of

Portsmouth and Southampton. Portsmouth is the home of the Royal Navy, and

its dockyard has a lot of interesting buildings and monuments. There is

also the Royal Naval museum, where the main attraction is Horatio Nelsons

flagship, the Victory.

Southampton, on the other hand, is a civilian port for continental

ferries, big liners, and oil and general cargo.

Many great sailors had associations with the West Country, for

example, Sir Walter Raleigh, the Elizabethan explorer, and Horatio Nelson,

who lived in Bath in Somerset. The most famous sailor of recent times, was

Sir Francis Chichester, who returned to Plymouth after sailing round the

world alone in Gypsy Moth.

In Bristol, to the north, one of the largest Victorian steamships, the

Great Britain, has been restored. It was the first iron ocean - going

steamship in the world and was designed by a civil and mechanical engineer

with the unusual name of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859). He not only

designed three ships (including the first transatlantic steamer, the Great

Western), but also several docks and a new type of railway that enabled

trains to travel at greater speeds. He also designed the first ever tunnel

underneath the Thames and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Unfortunately, this coastline, in particular that of Cornwall, is

famous - or infamous - in another way too. The foot of Cornwall has the

worst of the winter gales, and in recorded history there have been more

than fifteen shipwrecks for every mile of coastline. There is even a

shipwreck centre and museum near St. Austell where there is an amazing

collection of items that have been taken from wrecks over the years.

There are a lot of stories about Cornish wreckers who, it is said,

tied lanterns to the tails of cows on cliff-tops or put them on lonely

beaches when the weather was bad, so that ships would sail towards the

lights and break up on the dangerous rocks near the coast. The wreckers

would then be able to steal anything valuable that was washed up on to the






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