Dialect

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Additional, specialised links to Cumbrian dialect topics are listed further down this page (please scroll) and also paragraphs about:

  1. Introduction to Cumbrian Dialects
  2. Notes on Pronunciation, etc.
  3. Comments, Quotations and Excerpts (coming soon)
  4. Copyright

INTRODUCTION TO CUMBRIAN DIALECTS 

Hopefully, on these pages, you will find all of the dialect words and phrases I’ve used in my books, plus many others from the very rich repertoire of Lakeland and other Cumbrian dialects – English, yes, but with much influence from Old Norse (particularly among the fells, where many places still bear Norse names) plus Celtic, Anglo Saxon and other sources on the lower ground surrounding the mountains.  You will find that for some words I’ve given multiple spellings but that’s just to show either regional differences in pronunciation or the fact that various dialect writers use different spellings to try to convey the correct pronunciation. Please be aware that there is no “correct” spelling of dialect – understandably, it can vary from writer to writer. See the ‘Notes on Pronunciation’ at the foot of this page about my own carefully chosen form of spelling which is intended to make phonetic pronunciations more apparent.  Those of you who don’t know any of our dialect at all might want to start with a word I’ve just used above, namely: ‘fells’. 

Please also be aware that some of the words in the lists might not be different words at all but only have some different vowel realisations, e.g. git for get. [My thanks to linguist Sandra Jansen for that phrase.]  They have been included specifically to help non-British people understand the relevant short sections of dialect in my novels, with as little confusion as possible.

Finally, for ease, this list does also include some British rural or agricultural words with which overseas readers might not be conversant but which are not Cumbrian or Lakeland dialect.

More dialect words will be added to this page from time to time.

If you are interested in the subject, I recommend that you also visit the website of the Lakeland Dialect Society (which also has a glossary).

NOTES ON PRONUNCIATION, ETC.

  • Inserted letters – W’s and Y’s:  Interestingly, some names such as Johnny or Geordie get a letter ‘w’ inserted by the dialect, after the first letter, so the result is “Jwonny,” “Gwordie,” etc.  Similarly, some nouns acquire a letter “y” in the same location, so – for example “cake” becomes “K’yack” and “face” becomes “f’yass.”
  • In the above examples you will have noticed my use of an apostrophe after the first letter. This doesn’t follow any correct style that I’m aware of but I use it to indicate something similar to a glottal stop, in that the first letter/s should be pronounced alone. So “k’yack,” for example, is pronounced with the ‘k’ as in kick, immediately followed by the ‘yack’. Don’t get it mixed up with a kayak!

Additional Links to Dialect Topics

COPYRIGHT – the contents of this page and full website are copyright under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, all rights reserved.  The author of this website asserts his right to be identified as Steve Shearwater in addition to a functioning web link and/or a proper citation of this web page or website being included in any reference to the contents.