Manual Some Descendants of Andrew Thomas (1759-1832): With Genealogy Notes & Sources

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People said then : book-craft for literature ; star-craft for astronomy ; father-slayer for parricide ; deed-beginner for perpetrator of crime ; together-speech for colloquy ; old- speech for tradition; well-willing for benevolent, O. Sometimes again we have replaced the old compound by a more concise but less picturesque synonym. For lore-house we say school ; for dim-house, prison ; for again-coming, return, O. In the spoken dialects we have the natural develop- ment of a living tongue, practically untouched by what are Homespun Compounds 19 called the learned influences; hence, where in the literary language we should use a word of Latin origin, we frequently find a homespun compound used by dialect-speakers.

We shall see in a later chapter to what a large extent these com- pounds are figurative and metaphorical ; the few here quoted belong only to the simplest type : beet-need n. What a rip-stitch that lad is! They purtend avore the justices how they 'adn never a-zeed wan t'other avore, but lor! He's gleg i j the uptak [quick in understanding]. Fine shades of meaning are often expressed in the dialects by some slight variation in pronunciation which to our ears might sound purely arbitrary or accidental, and also by the distinctive use of one or other of two words which from a dictionary point of view are synonymous.

For example, drodge and drudge both mean a person who works hard, but the difference is this : a drudge is always kept working by a superior, a drodge is always working because she cannot get forward with her work ; the word drodge implies blame, and C2 20 Some fine Shades of Meaning drudge none. Geeble g soft , gibble g soft , jabble Bnff.

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The word geeble contains the notion of contempt and dissatisfaction. When there is a small quantity and greater contempt and dissatisfaction indicated, gibble is used, and when a larger quantity, jabble is used. Muxy and puxy Som. A boy may take a piece of pie from his mother's larder, and he will have slanst it, but if he did the same thing from his neighbour's place he would have stolen it.

Words like this would never be confused by people accustomed to use them in everyday life. This would of course be much more easily done if we could at once write down on paper what we have heard, and then stake it off in sections, like the cryptic word which the Kentish woman wrote to the village schoolmaster, to explain the absence of her boy from school : keptatometugoataturin, which became quite clear when divided up thus : kept-at- ome-tu-go-a-taturin, that is, kept at home to go a-harvesting- potatoes.

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For instance, what sounds like oogerum Yks. The sentence always quoted as the classic puzzle of this type is : ezonionye-onionye, which being interpreted means : have any of you any on you? Another catch specimen of Yorkshire dialect is fweet maks'm pike'm, the wet makes them pick themselves, used of fowls cleaning themselves after rain. Then further, many of the com- monest words have by the unhindered action of the laws of living speech become so worn down, that we hardly recognize them in this their dialect form, though we are using them every day ourselves in the standard language.

Take for example such a sentence as : I shall have it in the morning, which has been pared down to : as-et-it-morn Yks. Our forefathers a thousand years ago would have said : Ic sceal hit habban on deem morgue, every single word of which remains firm and intelligible in its skeleton shape of : as [I shall]- et [have it]- it [in the]- mom. Add to this an enor- 22 Difficulties of the Vermicular mous vocabulary of words non-existent in literary English, it is no wonder if sometimes the accents of a country rustic sound in our ears like an unknown tongue.

A story is told of a Yorkshireman who went into a store of general wares in London and asked : What diz ta keep here?


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Oh, everything. Yorkshireman : Ah deean't think thoo diz. Hes- ta onny coo-tah nobs [pieces of wood that secure the tie for the legs of cows when being milked]? But to illustrate more fully what has been stated above, I will here give some specimens culled promiscuously from various dialects : cost dibble tates? Nobbut a whiskettle o' wick snigs Chs. Aw, they zeth he'th got a pinswill in 'is niddick Dev.

Why, it donks an' dozzles an' does, an' sumtimes gi's a bit of a snifter, but it never cums iv any girt pell Cum. An old man having an order for some gravel was asked whether it was ready.

He replied : Naw, Sur, but we've a got un in coose, we must buck [break] et, an' cob [bruise into small pieces] et, an' spal [break into yet smaller pieces] et, an' griddle [riddle] et twice, an' then et'll be fitty Cor. A Cornish girl applying for a housemaid's situation was asked : What can you do? I can louster and fouster, but I caan't tiddly ; I can do the heavy work, and work hard at it, but I can't do the lighter housework. Sometimes a request for an interpretation of mysterious words only draws forth more of the same nature, for in- stance : Mester, that back kitchen's welly snying [swarming] wi' twitch-clogs.

What do you mean by twitch-clogs, Mary? Whoi, black-jacks Chs. But ' Mester ' was still in blissful ignorance of the presence of black-beetles in his back kitchen.

THE REAL ANN COLPITTS (1759 – 1832)

The following conversation is reported from Somersetshire : I wish you would tell me where you get your rennet. Why, I buys a veil and zalts'n in. A veil! Don'ee know hot a veil is?

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Why a pook, be sure! Dear me, I never heard of that either ; what can it be? Zome vokes caU'n a mugget. I really cannot understand you. Lor, mum! Well, to be sure! I s'pose you've a-zeed a calve by your time? Of course I know that. Well then, th' urnet's a-tookt out of the veil o' un. Some one who had never heard the word gouty as used in Cheshire to mean wet, spongy, boggy, asked : What is a gouty place? A wobby place. What's a wobby place?

A mizzick. What's a mizzick? A murgin. A judge at the Exeter assizes asked a witness : What did you see? Witness : A did'n zee nort vur the pillem. Judge : What's pillem? Witness : Not knaw what's pillem?


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  7. Why, pillem be mux a-drowed. Judge : Mux! What's mux? Witness : Why mux be pillem a-wat [mud is wet dust]. An assault case came before a magistrate in a Yorkshire Police Court. Magistrate to plaintiff : Well, my good woman, what did Dialect in the Sunday School 25 she do? Plaintiff : Deeah? Why, sha clooted mi heead, rove mi cap, lugged mi hair, dhragged ma doon, an' buncht ma when ah was doon.

    Magistrate to clerk : What did she say? Clerk slowly and decisively : She says the defendant clooted her heead, rove her cap, lugged her hair, dhragged her doon, an' buncht her when sha was doon. Sometimes the inability to comprehend is on the side of the country rustic.


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    5. At a school in Wensleydale a South-country inspec- tor, examining a class on the Bible, said : Neow tell me something abeout Mouses. Cats kill 'em, was the prompt rejoinder. A lady reading Exodus ix. Afterwards she discovered that an ant in Cornwall is called a muryan. A similar story comes from Sussex.

      Andrew Thomas (1759-1832) was an early pioneer of Shelby and Perry Counties in Alabama

      A lady who had been giving a lesson on Pharaoh's dreams was startled to find that all the boys supposed that the fat and lean kine were weasels. In Surrey, Kent, and Sussex a weasel is called a kine, or keen.

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      An old labourer reading the Book of Genesis came to this verse : ' And Israel said, It is enough ; Joseph my son is yet alive : I will go and see him before I die ' chap.