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24 September 2014

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Kent speak!

Kent speak!
If Maureen from Boughton Monchelsea whispered she was "orf up the top lodge" would you know she was going for a private moment?
And if Mark from Dungeness told you he'd seen a "hairy donkey" would you realise he wasn't talking about a hirsute horse?

Voices was a project which sent 50 BBC local radio journalists out to groups of people from the Highlands of Scotland to the White Cliffs of Dover to record their words for every day objects and actions.

Around 1000 people from all walks of life will contribute to a snapshot of the language we use across the British Isles. These will form a map of our country and will be archived for future generations.

We have been out to the four corners of the county in search of locals.

The Richardsons. Down in Dungeness the Richardson family shared their fishing terms: here for an audio clip
Meet the Richardsons  

The Sevenoaks group. The lady golfers from Sevenoaks had a colourful range of sporting expressions to explain: here for an audio clip
Some of the Sevenoaks ladies  

Frank Ball. In Gravesend, Frank and his neighbours found that elements of the Romany language have been adopted by the local teenage generation: here for an audio clip
Frank Ball  

While in Ash a group of villagers and friends gathered to argue over exactly what "cacks" are: here for an audio clip
Ash villagers  

Boughton Monchelsea group. But it was Maureen and Roger from Boughton Monchelsea who amazed us most with their descriptive words for the nations favourite topic of conversation - the weather. After all, just how many of us would describe an advancing rainstorm as "Black over Will's Mothers"? here for an audio clip
Maureen and Roger  

The results of our survey here in Kent have confirmed what Dr David Hornsby from the University of Kent suspected about the way our dialects have been influenced.

He was delighted to hear that Roger from Boughton Monchelsea still has a touch of the `East Anglia` about the way he speaks even though he was born and bred in Mid Kent.


Dr David says that he suspects there may once have been an Eastern dialect continuum extending all the way down from the Wash into the county. That's now been cut off by the influences from London but you can still hear similarities in the way we speak in some Kent villages to the way they speak in Suffolk and Norfolk.

Listen out for "toozdy" instead of the more common way of pronouncing the day after Monday and if someone asks if you've "got a loight boy" you know that they are probably proper Kentish! (*)

So who said what? We asked each of our groups what word they would use for around 40 different everyday things and these are just few examples of what they came up with.

You can hear more from our groups by clicking on the words with audio clips:

Boughton Monchelsea

Thin - A match with the wood scrapped off
Pom - Jam Listen here
Raining Heavily - siding it down
Top lodge - toilet

Lishy - Ill Listen here
Thingy whatsit - Something whose name you've forgotten
All done in - Tired
Cacks - Trousers Listen here

Mizzle - Light rain
Snug - Living room
Hit the cover off - Hit Hard Listen here
Tackies - Soft shoes for doing PE

Hairy Donkey - Rabbit Listen here
Gurting - When a boat turns round in the tide
Agger- jaggers - a sea mist when the coast is a different temperature to the sea
Scads- a type of mackerel

Chavie - child Listen here
Tickner - baby Listen here
Tan - home, where you live
Tanner - house

There is still time for you to add your favourite local words by clicking onto our on-line dictionary.

So what can you hear on air?

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