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28 October 2014
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Devon Dialect
An A-Z of Devon Dialect
Teach yourself Devon with John Germon
For much, much more information about Devon dialect, take a look at the VOICES section of our website.
DEVON DIALECT QUIZ
How well do you know your Devon Dialect? Have a bit of fun and try John's dialect challenge.
Launch Quiz
VOICES

Have a read through John Germon's A-Z of Devon Dialect and find out much more by visiting the VOICES SECTION of our website.

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I dunaw bout the vokes down in Zouth Debm, but up were I come vrum in Kirton (Crediton) 'intentines' (specially ones vrum pegs) wuz cawd chitlins. We also 'ad 'hugs puddns', which be zumthin I wish I 'ad a gert plaatvul uv right now. Hugs Puddns wuz maad vrum groats an bits o' peg's mait, aw wrapped up in peg's intestines. The last one I ate was thirty years ago but I can still remember the taste, the smell, the texture, everything. They were good! By the way, to us, the word 'viddy' always meant 'well' (as in, not sick). If we were feeling unwell, we would say we were not feeling 'very viddy'. I believe Jan Stewer, in his song about his car, Ole Biskit, reckoned that the bonnet wouldn't shut viddy.
Chris Land - South Victoria, Australia

Being an exe Devonshire Boy I like to keep on hand a copy of "Ole Biskit" by Jan Stewer, a most enjoyable read when you have that yearning for the Devon life. The glossary is most useful to interpret some of the words even though the spelling may differ from John's. I am not sure if this book is still puplished, but if it is I would recommend it for the avid Devonian. Happy reading. Be-as-'twill.
Bill Burge - Oakvile, Canada

My grandfather used to say thickie instead of this.   in context, look at thickie.   with the th pronounced the way you start the word "the" instead of the way it sounds when you say "thick", its kind of a cross between theckie and thicky   Also you have to include "tother" pronounced "tuther" devonshire for "the other"   I can remember a few other old sayings that were unique to dawlish, such as," goin down bottom" meaning going to the beach.   In context, "where be goin?" - "i'm goin down bottom"   Also, I can remember my father saying "ark at ee jacko" when someone was bullshitting. But i think that may have originated with an adge cutler song.
Kevin Wills - Canberra Australia

Hi John,   While poking around on the Net I came across your site and the request for any words beginning with the letter M. Although I now live in Vancouver,  "Oi be er Debbun lad" and grew up in Sidmouth. Since I retired I spend some of the summer months in the old home town and it has been quite a reverlation to me as to how much of the old accent and words have now disappeared from everyday use as compared to my childhood days, doubtless due in many ways to the advent of the media and TV in particular. I can remember some of the old farm labourers whose speech would almost be considered a foreign language nowadays. In my youth a girl was always called a maid "Er be er purty lil maid" - She's a pretty little girl. "Thikky thar" for that and under M "Mazed" was in common use for daft "Er be mazed" - he's daft. I am doubtless teaching grandma to suck eggs in writing to you like this.One of the small pleasures, for me at least, when I was in Sidmouth, was spending an evening talking to a neighbour, John Hawkins by name (and you can't get a more Devon name than that). John was a painter and decorator by trade and spoke in a slow manner with a beautiful old Devon accent as we talked of days long gone. Sadly, John has now departed this mortal coil and now rests in the local churchyard in the good red earth from which he sprung " Ar, John, ee cum frum over Yarcombe way " Well, enough of this, I have probably bored you to tears by now, but I will be checking this site from now on. Best Wishes,
John Weyell

Sture or Stewer - young bull. It's the root of my surname. Mike.
Mike Steer

Dear Lloyd Family Hello my Boodies Thank you for your e-mail regarding natlings, natlins which ever way you like to spell it? Natlings, Natlins is an old Devon word for Intestines, Jan Stewer refers to this in one of his books by referring to " 'ees natlins 'n kidleys". Hope this is of some help to you and thanks for contacting me, if you have anymore I would love to hear from you. Uz'l zee 'ee Dreckly
John Germon

Is anyone able to give any information about the Devon dialect word "natlins" - possibly nattlins or other spelling. This word was used in the context of - "have a hot drink to warm your natlins" as in cockles etc.
Lloyd family in Newton Abbott

Dear John Germon
I gather, from listening to Murray Laver's tape and people I know in North Devon, that there are two versions of 'master',
viz - (1)    pronounced 'maaestr' (the vowel like the standard English 'ea' in 'bear'), which means the boss, or someone superior ;
(2)    pronounced 'maastr' (the vowel like a slightly elongated version of the standard 'a' in 'far', often with a distinctly nasal tone), meaning great, very creditable, as in 'twuz a maastr gude frawzay', perhaps omitting the 'gude'.
Do you know of the same people using both pronunciations in those different senses, or perhaps in other senses ?

One or two other things :  
My granny in Tamerton Foliot used to say 'Ah've gudda bawn in me laig' if she was feeling a bit arthritic.   I'm going back 50 years.   
Was that unique to her ?

In your [proposed] compilation, will you be distinguishing between regions - eg north, south and east Devon ?   ('Rawborough' or 'Rewborough' for Roborough)

How is it that, in my home village of Dolton, long-term residents untutored in standard speech may speak quite differently from one another ?    

In about 1959 the late Fred Folland of Upcott (Dowland) told me he was 'voordy-vaave' (45), while his neighbour Peter Jones, at any rate today, would say 'vordy-voive'.   

Perhaps the difference is at least partly to do with the passage of time ? In about 1962 my late great-uncle Tom Enticott, in Uffculme, said to me when I called to see him after a long absence, 'Ah be bleaized d'zee ye.'   There was (I thought) a distinct 'y' in the last word, so that it was not a shortened 'thee'.   

Is my memory playing tricks with me ?
Nicholas Wood

My son and I have been enjoying your dialect comments. It sounds like Texas talk. My dad has always said "Be back dreckly" - In Texas we say we are 'a fixin to'(do whaterever)as in 'Ah'm a fixin to go to work. We might also say we are 'fixin' supper'(cooking the evening meal) We 'warsh n arn' our clothing and then we are either 'tard' or 'tuckered out' We 'boll' our eggs and put 'ol' in the car! When our visitors leave we say "y'all come back, heah?"
Suzanne Smith - San Antonio, USA

My late father often recalled a Devonian rugby match in the course of which a large banner was displayed on which was writ the legend "Usllbuggerem". I believe that this meant "We shall win!"
Chris Irwin

My grandfather always used to use the word VIDDY to describe things which were pretty or picturesque - for example he always said that Widecombe was a viddy little place.  He was born, grew up and died in Torquay.
Pat Backwell - Devon

My Mother ran the Crabtree Inn, Laira all through the war. As a little girl, I often used to hear the expression "erm proper batchy" meaning "she's got bats in the belfry" or is a little mentally challenged. (Not about my Mother, of course!!!!
Jill Gomm -Victoria, Australia

"My maid be prapper 'mazed"
Translation: "My daughter is off her head/ confused/silly"
Richard Longridge - Starcross, Exeter

Our favourite words, EVIL, a dung fork
Dayshul, a thistle
Milky dayshul,milk thistle
Chop,exchange or swap
Mandrels or emmets,ants
N Aitken - Southway, Plymouth

"Thicky gert moot" my grandfather's description of a large old tree stump. and "ware be gwain biuy" [where are you going] - my Auntie Dorothy in Modbury - Mrs Perring, 80 this coming 4th August, is still with us, at Brooke House, Galpin Street. A little 'deefe' but still pure "de'mshur dialeck". I understands 'er and 'er understands me. Very few of us do!

"Doughnose" meaning 'a bit thick, or not very bright'
Viv Summers - Yealmpton

A friend of the family would often say "WOLLEE CAWL IT" - what do you call it, when he could not think of the name for something.
Keith Eddy - Chelston, Torquay

A friend of mine would say, "bain't he groot!" when she saw me in a filthy state when I was a kid. She also called roots Mawers (spelling may not be right, but thats what it sounded like) as in, "bain't ee groot, digging round them mawers."
Roger Marshall - Jamestown, USA

I already have a master list of Devon-Speak. Here it is.
AREE GAWN? Are you going?
AVEE? Have you?
AVEEDUNUN? Have you taken the necessary steps to complete your course of action? AVEEGOTUN? Have you found what you were seeking?
AVEESEENUN? Have you seen that for which you seek?
AWRIGHT 'N AREE? All right then are you? BETTERGOGITUN I had better depart and fetch the article for which I was sent
BINUNDUNUN I have been and carried out my allotted task
BOROWUN KANEE? Can he borrow him/her/it? CAIN TELLY I cannot, or will not, give you the information you seek
COSTY MUCH DIDA? Are you prepared to tell me how much it cost you?
CUMUZ ON NOW Let's go!
DEAROVIM or DEAROBM How nice of him
DIDDY ABM? Did you have it?/ Did he/she have it?/Did anyone have it?
DIDDY NAWN? Did you know the person of whom we speak?
EAVYIZZA Heavy is it?
EDGE Hedge or wall
ELLYDOINOV What are you doing/trying to do?
EZ Yes
EZYAU I am in agreement with you on this matter EZYAW (see EZYAU)
FAITHURGOTUN My father has that which you seek
FARIZA? How far away is it?
FERCRISAEIK For goodness sake!
GAWN AREE (see AREE GAWN) GIBMEREMIT Give the item to me for a short while GIBMTHABOY Give it to the boy/Delegate the job to the boy
GOTUNAVEE (see AVEEGOTUN)
GOYNARY? Are you going?
G'SONUPANGIDDEN Please go up and get it for me
GUSSON I don't see your point, get on (your way) HOFFICER (Police) Officer, no other Cornish dialect word start with an 'aitch'
IDN Is not / hidden e.g. IDNIZZA = hidden is it or IDNIDNIIZZA? It isn't hidden is it?
ILLY Extremely steep or mountainous
IZZA Is it / are you
IZZE (see IZZA)
IZZUN (see IZZA)
KILLUN DIDDY? Did you terminate his/her/its existence? also used for all animals
LEEBM DIDDY? Did you leave him/her/it?
LEEBM LAWN Leave him/her/it alone
LIKUN DIDDY? Did you like him/her/it, see previous LIKUN DOEE? Do you like him/her/it? MUMSMAIDDUN It was made by my mother. MAITHER Mother
MEENUN DOEE? Do you mean it?
MENTUT DIDDY? Did you mean it?
MYGAR Good heavens above! / Good gracious me! NAWN DIDDY? (see DIDDY NAWN)
NAWTHUN WIDDEN Nothing with him/her/it e.g. Whisky,
NAWTHUN WIDDEN OLLER TUEN DIDDY? Did you try to attract their attention by calling? OWAREE? How are you?
OWAREE PARD? How are you, friend?
PALLY WIDDEN IZZY? Is he a friend of yours? PALLY WIDDEN WAZZA? Were you a friend of his?
PARD Close friend/acquaintance/stranger of either sex.
PICHER Picture
PIZEN DAWN Heavy rain
PURDY IZZA? Is he/she/it beautiful?
PURDY SAPICHER Pretty as a picture
PURDY WANNA? Wasn’t that beautiful?
RONG WAZZA? Were you incorrect?
RUFAZRATS Feeling poorly, also used to describe anything not working correctly
SEENUN AVEE? Have you seen him/her/it? STAYLUN Borrowing something, with no intention of returning it!
TEEON IZZA? Is the tea on? (could also be TEEON IZZE or TEEON IZZUN)
TELLUN DIDDY? Did you tell him/her/it? TOSSNEER Will you thrown it to me?
ULLON YAW Hold on you! e.g. "ULLON YAW" ZED HOFFIZER PENBURTHY ULLONAMINIT Please wait a short time VELLEN Those which HOFFIZERS seek
WERZETOO EN? Where is he/she/it? WOZELIKE? How are you, How is it, also used when someone has done something silly WOZMAR WIDDEN? What’s wrong with him/her/it? WOTEEGOYNDOWIDDEN What are you going to do with it?
WURZTOOEN Where is it, then?
YAW You
ZED Said e.g. EZEDUN - He said it
Max Allen - Walton on Thames

I thought you could add this to your Devon dialict list;
Come vor yur! hey? wot de zay? Im gain baid im tay`erd. dam ole jasper(wasp) sting me rait on the haid! I got a bad vut! (Foot) Yur Tiz. Hey wot de Zay? im def as a bat and daft as a brish!! Brush.
Bev Sanders - Highampton Beaworthy Devon

" Tis nort but orts " ( Mucked up Food)
Brimbles = ( Brambles )
Dashies = (Thistles)
Be you gain Holszry? ( Holsworthy)
Lansen (Launsten) Dreckly?
Being born and bred in Devon we use these slangs all the time, but it doesn`t half sound funny when you hear someone else saying it back to you.
Zee ee dreckly if not morra (Tommorrow) and if i dont zee ee i wait to yur from you.
Bev Sanders - Highampton Beaworthy Devon

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