It was obvious from the outset that I couldn’t write an accurate police story without using the appropriate ‘period jargon’ and that similarly my novel couldn’t capture the fabulous aura and personality of the Cumbrian people without including dialect speech. But if these aspects might put off some readers from outside Britain, don’t worry; help is literally at hand!
Simply have your laptop, tablet or smartphone handy when you are reading and if you find any confusing words or phrases click on the tabs at the top of each page of the website, for either — unsurprisingly — ‘Police Jargon’ or ‘Dialect’, and your confusion will disappear! (And if it doesn’t, please tell me and I’ll fire the person who wrote this!!! 🙂 )
As a young police officer who quite often had to deal with farmers in order to enforce such as the stock movement laws designed to minimise risks from livestock diseases such as foot and mouth (USA: ‘hoof and mouth’), I was frequently faced with solid dialect speech. Having been born and raised in the Lake District, and having worked as a lad on several farms during school holidays, I wasn’t troubled by the dialect — indeed, I loved it — but sadly this delightful aspect of our Cumbrian culture has been fading for decades. This has given me a determination to preserve at least some bits of it in my writing.
A lot of my long-term and new-found friends in various Cumbrian groups within Facebook have contributed a lot to the now-growing list of general dialect words on the steveshearwater.co.uk website and it has been so successful that I’m now asking for everyone’s help with a list of specifically farming-related dialect words, which I think may be unique once it’s created in sufficient depth.
Many agricultural words undoubtedly are found across larger areas than just our county of Cumbria so their inclusion in the imminent list may be short-term until we establish for certain whether they are unique to the dialect or not. Also included will be dialect/regional words for features found in the ‘statesman farmer’ type of houses that were built here in the 18th Century and for other types of farm buildings.
If you want to participate and suggest some agricultural dialect words please reply to this message on Facebook or submit your answers on a ‘Reply’ within this message on the steveshearwater.co.uk website.
Finally, on the shearwater website there is now the facility for readers to ‘like’ individual pages and posts so I would be very grateful if you would click the ‘Like’ buttons at the bottom of any pages you approve of. (There are also buttons allowing you to ‘share’ those pages straight to Facebook, Twitter or Google+, so please feel free to use those, too, if you wish.
One last thing, if you want to help with the creation of this presumably unique list, you will have to do well to beat the West Cumbrians because they submitted far, far more suggestions than everyone else combined, for the general list. Come on, everyone else in Cumbria…. or will you let them win hands down, once again? !!! 😀