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More Devonshire terms sent in by Journal readers

By NDJJosephW  |  Posted: April 15, 2014

Unique dialect for a unique place

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To celebrate the release of new book Devon Dialect, the North Devon Journal asked you what your favourite Devonisms are and got the following response via Facebook.

Louise Tuttiett recollects “Chiggy pig” being used for a woodlouse.

Leigh Morgan told us about “dreckley”, as in “I’ll be there dreckley” meaning “I’ll be there soon.”

Chloe Nichols reminded us of the saying “ark at ‘ee!”

North Devon Journal reporter for South Molton, Joe Bulmer, added the following; “alright my ands”, “me dear”, “alright chil” – child, “my lover”, “buhy” – boy, “elleva” – hell of a, “ged on”, “see'd” instead of “seen”, “where be gwain?” or “where to?” for “where are you going?”

He added that “proper job” is a Cornish term.

Lily-Beth Chugg said that “tiffle” is a bit of thread coming off your clothes.

Penina Stanway said she often says “maze as brish”, "Wat ee catch last night, ort or nort?", "spuds" or "teddies" and that ladies are "maids”. She added that she had just had a conversation about “Chiggy pigs” and introduced us to “Tis ansome. Twas.”

And her four-year-old sings "I am a zider drinker".

From the picture shared by Penina, we learnt that clothes can be on “backsyvore” or “skew-whiff”, that handwriting can de critiqued as being “like a crab going to Ireland” and that after a hard day you can be “gone like a long-dog”.

Foxgloves are “floppydocks”, stitchworts are “whitsundays”, thistles are “dashels” and couch grass is “stroil”.

Unique words for training farm horses include “giddup”, “come’yer”, “wug-off”, “back-back” and “whoa”.

Describing distance using one, two or three “gunshots” was once common in these parts, and if further away it was “a jaunt for a fox”.

Children would be sent up “Timburn Hill” for “a bit of shut-eye” when “dimpsey” – twilight – had arrived.

If you are amused you might “laugh like a pixie”, but when all in a muddle you are “fair mazed”.

Death is also treated with warm humour, with a coffin described as a “wooden overcoat”.

Jim Bullard has been in touch using the email address at thebottom of this story. He said: "When I first arrived in Devon Many years ago I was always greeted with 'ow be nackin vor boey?', which of course means 'how are you doing?'

"The answer being; 'brave ‘n vitty' or 'master vine', meaning very well.

"The most well-known phrases however are probably; 'get out aye' and 'proper job you'."

We are having great fun compiling these so please keep them coming! Email your favourites to jwilkes@northdevonjournaL.co.uk

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