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Voices


Voices 2005 promo
Voices 2005 highlights the diverse languages and dialects in Britain today...

Learn Forest Speak

Voices explores our rich colourful language and examines its many colloquialisms, all from a local perspective. Take a look at some of the weird and wonderful words from the Forest of Dean...
A-Z GLOSSARY: How do you say it?
Slang Term Definition of term
Awld Old
Butty Friend
Cratur Creature
Dyuth Death
Ettles Stinging nettles
Flump Fall down or collapse
Gyule Gloat or poke fun at
Hummuck Leg
Im Him
Jud Dead
Kip Short sleep or nap
Lug Ear or tow
Moot To root in the ground like pigs do
Nesh Delicate or feeble
Oik Lift
Pizzun Poison
Quat Sit
Rasty Rancid or unpleasant
Strame Stream
Thou'it You will
Undud Hundred
Vorest Forest
Wuss Worse
Yud Head
Zid Saw

Read the history of the Forest of Dean and how the unique dialect evolved. It's written in 'Vorest Spake' so see how you get on!

Start quote It be pretty well zertin that our Vorest dialect evolved over unduds - p'raps thouzands o' years. Durin thic time it 'ave choinged an' altered a yup.

It be reazonable to azzume vram 'istorical an' arkeelogical recerds that iron ore minin' wuz carried on yer in the Vorest o' Dean ver over vour thouzand yers.

Vust cum the Zilures vram the Celtic vamilies o' Urope in vour undud an' vivty B.C. Then cum the Romons vollowed by the Zaxons an' the Narmons. All on 'em brought wi' 'em thar various languiges, aczents an' dialects.

But it wuz vram the erliest Celtic period that the vocablary an' dialect ztarted to evolve in the Vorest.

The Zilures wuz Druids, an' thar leeders wuz cawd 'Grey Yuds', zo the uze o' the word 'yud' ver 'ead' da goo right back to theese erly doys. Zo to da the minin' terms 'gale' an' 'scowle'.

Zo thee cost zee az it awl da goo back a 'ell o' a long woy.

Dezpite all theeze yer invoiders the Vorester allus kep' 'is independance an' did not mix zocialbly ar intermarrym but even zo, much o' the invoiders languiges an' dialects muzt 'ave rubbed off on 'em.

Zum o' the Vorest vocablury be pure Awld English, zuch az wen thoy da uze the pronouns 'Thee' an' 'Thou', thiz moy bin hinfluenced by all them thar non-convarmizt religious movements zuch az the Quoikerz an' the Primative Methodizts az wuz about in the Vorest bout two 'undud ar zo years agoo.

But the biggust hinfluence on the Vorest dialect wuz the minin' induztry an' the miners tharzelves.

The miners lived a very inzular life, thoy worked tagither, lived in thar zmall villiges tagither, looked a'ter thoir ship tagither an' a'ter work wen' to the pub tagither - if thoy 'ad a yupny ver a pint o' zider.

Many vroizez az thoy uzed at work wuz alzo uzed in thar everydoy lives. 'Ows thee acker cuttin?' In the pit thiz ould mean 'Iz yer axe zharp?'. But outzide 'o work it 'wer a general inquiry inta yer mates 'ealth. 'Ow bist thee awld butty?', the butty zyztem wuz a woy o' payment in the pit wer the Butty Mon ould poy out a group o' miners workin' under 'im. But the word 'Butty' wuz alzo uzed az a word ver yer vrend ar mate.

Many werds wuz peculier to the miners an' the mines:

Comp - Candle
Dipple - Steep incline
Tushin - Carrying
Daddocky - Rotten (wood)

Whenever thus uze the hindefinite article 'that' or that'n' allus uze the werd 'thic'.

The letter 'H' be zeldom uzed in Vorest - 'cept wer it zhouldn't be. 'H' da becum 'Y'. 'Come here' becums 'Come yer'.

The letter 'H' can be added to a werd - zpecialy wen a 'ooman da wun a zound 'posh':

Er 'ad a neck az ong az a hostrich
Garge's dahter uzed ta zing in the Hopera

The vowel 'I' da nearly alwoys becum 'OI':

'Ard toimes
'Im wer allus roight

Thee cost zhift the consonants about anywer theeze loik:

Do'st wun a goim a donimoes

Ar zumtimes thee cost add a hextra zylible to a werd:

The poor zod drownded in the river

If theez wun to zoy 'DO', 'CAN' ar 'BE' in the negative then theez gotta zoy:

Thee disn't - thee cosn't - thee bisn't

Thee zhould niver zoy:

I'm gwain ta 'ave a lie-down

Thee zhould allus zoy:

I'm gwain ta 'ave me a lie-down

The uze o' MALPROPRIZMS is very commun in Vorest - specialy 'mong the wimmen.

I be gwain ta git garge a pup ver 'iz birthdoy, one o' thoy zpotty damnations

Im 'ad 'iz appendages remuved - jus' a'ter the general erection it 'wer

Er cud zee a lot bitter wuns er 'ad er cattericks remuved

Our Vorst be choingin'. Volks da muv out an' volks da muv in bringin wi' em thar aczents an' dialects an' mergin' wi' our awn an' zo dilutin' ont.

The young 'ums da lissen to the tele an' the radio an' da lern to spake like them on it.

All the deep pits 'ave zhut an people da goo vurther avield ver work. New roads da meen az thoy can goo vurther Vram 'ome to thoir jobs an zo mar da cum yer to live 'cos it be a nize ploice now thit all the pits iz zhut 'an the ploice av 'ad a good clane-up.

Many da vizit uz now becus it be a nice place to zpend a 'oliday.

Wi 'ave cum a long woy vram the doys wen the only wuns to cum yer by caravan ztopped at Crump Medda. End quote

Article reproduced by the kind permission of Keith Morgan

Test your knowledge of the Forest dialect

Click here to play the Forest quiz

See also:

Mining in the Forest, from the Forest of Dean

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Alana
I were brawt up in thic vorest. Bin livin in Leicester ver zix yers now 'n nuna my vriends da unerstan I when I da talk in my muvver tung enit. I vink thisun moight elp um

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