June: First Meeting – local etymological insights


The first item relating to this meeting is Laura’s contribution to our discussion of etymology which will be mentioned in the main blog report.

13TH June 2015

The Dialect of the New Forest in Hampshire (as spoken in the village of Burley)
Written by Sir James Wilson KCSI 1913
(Knight Commander of the Star of India – the motto is Heaven’s Star guide us – very Earendel!)
A publication of the Philological Society.

Laura bought this replica book as part of her self-imposed goal of finding at least one dialect word in the forest that would have been understood by the Jutes!

Sir James wrote:
“I presume that the dialect of Burley may be taken as fairly typical of the speech of the New Forest and as representing what remains of the language of the West Saxons.”
He compared it with his own native dialect of Perthshire.
“That is a pure English dialect, descended no doubt from the language of our Angle ancestors.”
He wrote that the differences between the Perthshire dialect and standard spoken English and differences between the New Forest dialect and standard spoken English are completely opposite. It is not known if he wrote his follow up book.

The bulk of the book is about how the Burley people pronounced their words – “s” was said as “z” and “f” said as “v” so “vaarist” rather than “forest”. Mummerset seems to cover it although, as Ian said, were the natives playing to an audience? Paid by the syllable?

Interestingly, Sir James wrote “dh” to represent “th”.

There were some interesting words.
“bist” – you are – straight from German.
“wopse” – the local habit of transferring letters; some of us could remember it as a family word.
“namit” – snack, lunch – also spoken on the Isle of Wight. “No meat”.
“shrammed” – cold. Some of us could remember it being used. Also on the Isle of Wight.
“Numshon” – luncheon. This word came up in Tolkien’s writing. In Anglo Saxon writings – from “noon” plus “scenc” – to pour out, to give to drink. An afternoon snack. There is no explanation about how this turned into luncheon.
“hob” – potato pit.
“scuggee mugginz” – Laura’s favourite – a squirrel.
“smellers” – her other favourite – a cat’s whiskers as in: “You are the smellers!”

Laura 16.6.2015

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