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Subject:

Re: Nineteenth century English dialects

From:

Dave Sayers <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 26 Nov 2018 09:33:48 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (76 lines)

'Yorkshire Folk Talk' (1892) is a really interesting little volume, albeit obviously 
geographically constrained. It includes some intriguing comparisons with contemporary 
Danish, all delivered in the style of a nineteenth century amateur antiquarian with 
too much money and time, e.g. p.126-7:

"A Danish friend of mine, an artist, told me some years ago that when he first came 
to England to sketch and study on our Yorkshire coast, he knew but little of our 
language, and absolutely nothing of our Northern dialects : he took up his abode for 
a time near Flamborough, and used frequently to listen attentively to the broad 
speech of the Flamborough fishermen, which contained so many Danish words and modes 
of expression that he could at once make out much of what they were talking about 
without any difficulty."

And p.130:

"There is a word in our Yorkshire folk-talk still current, which I have repeatedly 
heard used by some of our older people to express the corners of the mouth or the 
eyes—I mean the word weeks. "T' weeks o'yer mooth" or "t' weeks o'yer een" are 
expressions well understood at this time in the North Riding. Who would suppose at 
first sight that the corners of one's mouth and eyes had anything in common with the 
word universally employed to designate the bands of savage marauders or pirates who 
for centuries devastated our shores—the Vikings? Yet so it is. We sometimes hear this 
word pronounced Vi-kings, as if these invaders of our shores were a sort of petty 
kings or chiefs instead of merely Vik-ings, that is to say, inhabitants of the 
Viks—the bays or creeks of the shores of various corners of Scandinavia, and
specially, as it would seem, of the southern parts of the peninsula and of Denmark. 
Our word week above mentioned, and Vik or Vig, are the same word, and uttered, be it 
observed, with exactly the same pronunciation as is preserved in Denmark at the 
present day. So that, instead of calling the hardy yet cruel Norse pirates Vikings, 
we ought rather to term them Veek-ings or Weekings, just as in modern Danish a man 
from the Faroes is called a Faroing."

So there you have it!

It's freely available over at the Internet Archive: 
https://archive.org/details/yorkshirefolktal00morruoft/page/n5.

There's also the more recent 'Images of English: A Cultural History of the Language' 
(1991), https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0521415721/. As the title suggests that's more 
about attitudes and views about English over the centuries, but still has some useful 
context for dialect study.

Enjoy!

Dave

--
Dr. Dave Sayers, ORCID no. 0000-0003-1124-7132
Senior Lecturer, Dept Language & Communication Studies, University of Jyväskylä, 
Finland | www.jyu.fi
Honorary Research Fellow, Cardiff University & WISERD | www.wiserd.ac.uk
Communications Secretary, BAAL Language Policy group | www.langpol.ac.uk
[log in to unmask] | http://jyu.academia.edu/DaveSayers




> Date:    Sun, 25 Nov 2018 00:42:11 +0000
> From:    Paul Kerswill <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Nineteenth century English dialects
> 
> I'm looking out for recent work on 19th century/Industrial Revolution
> dialects in Britain/Ireland - apart from Ellis 1889 (and my own chapter on
> this topic). Any leads welcome!
> Paul
> 

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