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Norfolk Talk

Chapter G : Hearing Different

(Paras. 1 to 9)

2. Hope Springs :  3. Hum Sweet Hum
4. Double Shuffle :  5. Only The Lonely
  7. Won't Say :  8. Can't Say :  9. In The Dark

1 : Exceptions Rampant

I almost suffered premature apoplexy in my
(early) schooldays when (regularly) told that :
"The Exception proves the Rule".

Later, there was more than enough 'proving'
to be done on the infamous irregular verbs.
However, I don't recall the phrase
"irregular nouns".

We shall have to spend quite some time (and
space herein) dealing with those very beasts.
Of course, many will involve our favourite vowel.

N.B. This is not to say that our beloved County
(non-conformist though it is) has much more
irregularity than Standard English, with its
stupid  gone, done, bone  etc.,
as already  highlighted  (C.4).

2 : Hope Springs

We have observed (with  hev  and  hin't)  less
pre-disposition to drop aitches in  rural  speech.

So, rurally, you are more likely to hear  hope
with  its first letter and, therefore, its  "mid-u"
sound (little chance of confusion with  up ??).

In the City area, however, it is a firm double-o
(as if to "start" the word).

Remember the "hula-hoop" craze?.
We had  ula-upes   too.
But it is  oope  which springs eternal(ly??).

It would not be too unfair to generalise that the
Norwich dialect takes the (alleged) "laziness",
of Norfolk speech, to new heights!.

A Norfolk greeting might well be  "Halloo",
with an end-of-word double vowel.
This then equates to  D'ye Ken John Peel.
In Norwich, however, it would be  "Allow",
but not as in that actual word (wrong sound) -
try the sound of  hallowed.

We have mentioned (A.7)  know  for  no,
but only in the City and only this Century.

3 : Hum Sweet Hum

October may well acquire a double-o in the
middle, where the emphasis falls; but I suspect
that the "mid-u" sound would be heard in
deepest Norfolk, as it is in November
(first syllable unaccented).

The art of hoeing places its exponents in a
quandary (what's the  e  doeing there?);
so we have  hoo,  on the one hand,
but  harn   ( = howing) on the other.
[ see  sewing  (F.2) ].

There's always some difficulty, which is a good
way of introducing  always - which is  ollust.
When you can find somebody to
explain why, please let me know.
In my opinion, the usual spelling  allust  can
give the wrong idea . . . the  al-  portion should
be rendered in the American way
(they do it to  all. . . anorl ).

More surprising still is that the word, as often
as not, retains the new-found final letter
(compare  great  below).

We are not alone in being  occard   (awkward).

4 : Double Shuffle

Having persevered thus far, you must have
the mettle to tackle a vowel-shift of
inter-galactic dimensions.

It may not be the only case,
but here we are referring to GREAT.
Its importance, again, is in direct proportion to
its popularity; which is  whoolly  great   anorl.

    Shift 1 - already done for us :
          the E is totally ignored;

    Shift 2 - just as for  grate,  imposes the
          Viking shift to  grairt.
          (or restores the E, if you prefer);

    Shift 3 - "squeezes" or "clips" the sound
          drastically, leaving  I  rather than  A.

We seem to have arrived at the
the same word as  grit.
Grit, however, is a humble substance; and so
will  ollust  lose its final letter. Not so with our
Grit Owl Waad.

Read the section on  Tautology,  by all means,
then forget it.

Something really big will be  gri(t) big;
more likely  grit (h)uge /(h)uge gri(t).
Huge  is, of course, pronounced as  ooj.

The t  is retained too in  grit owl(d) or grit ow'd;
i.e. depending on whether the following letter
is a vowel.

This is all just  (jist)  a  ooj  ploy to avoid using
the awkward word  very  (werra).

5 : Only The Lonely

Not forgetting the old and the poor . . .

Old  should really (by the "rules") be  ool
(the  d  long since lost, somewhere in the USA),
but tends towards  owl -
not as in the bird, but as in the bird-bowl.

As previously hinted, the  -d  may sometimes
return (at the end of a sentence?). When it does,
happily, there is no conflict with  owed,
which =  ewe.

Poor  might have become  pure  (as in Scotland).
Luckily, it has become  pore  instead. This can
help if you are trying to close the door
(to keep out the poor?)

We  have seen  (A.7) that a soft-o can be quite
unexpectedly firmed-up, as in  orff   and  orfen.

The latter case also loses one of its consonants,
but as it is a mere  t,  there is zero surprise!

The word  only,  only(!) 4 letters,
is chock-full of surprises:-

    (a)  It loses the  'n'  from the combination
         (compare  after, often);

    (b)  It has a [weakened]  "mid-u"  sound,
         despite the commencing  'o'
         which constitutes a  broken rule  (F.1);

    (c)  It is an  -ly  word which  is  commonly
          used (to be fair, not a typical adverb).

This underlines the importance of sounding
the  h  at the beginning of (w)hoolly/(w)hooly;
although, for emphasis, this probably happens.

Now we have the terrible twins :
(w)hoolly  and  oolly.
Be sure to tell them apart!

Yure go(t) three, whereby
Our oolly go(t) a couple.
Pore owl me!. Oi'm feelin all aloon.

(not  lonely;  and with the "mid-u" sound).

Ple(tt)y  is another word which loses its  'n'
- plenty of people know that.

 

6 : DON'T Say...

Superficially,  don't  and  won't  are two,
almost identical, mono-syllabic words.
As such, the single-o sound should (always)
become a  "mid-u"  in Norfolk.
It does too (more often than not);
but there is more to things than that . . .

To begin with, each is (as we know)
pair  of words : not  prefixed by  do or  will.

This revelation would permit  don't  to carry
the double-o sound  doon(t);  which is indeed
taken (mainly in present-day Norwich) as a
viable option.

But commonsense says "due" becomes
"due not", thence "dewn't".

It is left, as an archaeological exercise,
to the Reader : to determine if the letter  o
was substituted "backwards" (i.e. because
posh-speech - see F.2 again - prefers
an  o  to sound like  ew).

Another problem with the word  don't  is
the letter  n.
As in the previous paragraph's examples,
it may get omitted - esp. in Norwich.

    E do do that, dor(nt) E?
    ^Top^

7 : Won't Say

No such questions with  won't,  which is
an  artificial  word (like  ain't).

Norfolk speech accepts that fact - and has NO
alternatives to the "mid-u" sound, even when
emphasis is needed :- Noo, tha(t) Oi (w)un(t)!!

N.B. The leading-w is  very  seldom evident
(oon't  and  ain't  thus getting closer !),
so as to avoid confusion with  wasn't.
(See Chapter C : The Soft A).

Only one way with  won't,  then;
but a total of three options for  don't !

Presumably for the said reasons of emphasis,
the version  dorn(t)  is very commonly used :-

    Oi dun(t) know whoi, tha(t) Oi dorn(t) . . .
This seems to have nothing in common with
gorn   (double-o modified by the following  i ).

Conversely, there may be
avoidance strategy at work.
Consider how  worn't  would relate to  want,
with the lengthened vowel-sound of the latter?.

8 : Can't Say

    Oi rarely car(t) say . . .
Ample evidence has been given for Mardle's
assertion that - "we swallow our consonants
and do strange things to our vowels"
.
We (Norfolk) are, once again, not alone :
have you heard a Cockney attempt to say
bottle,  using only the first two letters?!

In Standard Eish the word  would  has its
second vowel changed and (Cockney-like)
its  l  omitted.
The result, we know, is just the same as  wood.
This (in its negative form) presents a further
difficulty for the Norfolk tongue, which already
has trouble with  wasn't  and  won't.
Now  all three items collide **

This reinforces the perceived need for  won't
to lose its first letter; there being little hope of
distinguishing between the other two :-

1. Oi woon(t) do tha(t) if Oi wooz you!
2. Tha(t) woon(t) a werra good oidare,
    wooz-a?

Rurally, you may hear the second with a rather
softer o-sound; but this, in turn, tends to conflict
with  want  (the  's'  having been swallowed) -
a word greatly  needed  (see M.5) in Norfolk!

**  Our final  Chapter M  attempts to summarise
     the confusing situation.

Para. 5. has witnessed the neglect of letter  n;
which partly, nefariously, comes to the rescue :
in the event that the phrase  want to  occurs
(i.e. very often) : Oi wo(tt)a gi(t) one-a them!

The potential conflict with  what are
or  what have  has been   resolved  (C.5) :-

    You wo(tt)a gi(t) some woo(t)-a cheaper.
    Some onnem woo(t)-a go(t) brook
    wo(tt)a be replairced.
There is a tendency, outside Norwich, to drop
BOTH  t's  in the phrase "wouldn't it?"
(Norwich : woont-a).  Using an
unbelievable duplication of the shunned
letter, a fine example of native perversity is :-
    Tha(t)-d be good, woon(t)n(t)?
    ^Top^

9 : In The Dark

When it is getting dark, it is
shuttin'-up-toime  in Norfolk.
It's a great pity so few (only Georgian?)
houses still have wooden shutters . . .

Of course, as Winter approaches, this sad
juncture occurs ever sooner; or, as we say,
tha(t) gi(t) lair(t) aarlier.
[another good example of a Norfolk oxymoron].

Artificial light, until comparatively recent times,
meant candles. A wick is a key component of
your average candle; which may explain why
tiresome people  gi(t) onya wick,
instead of nerves. [1]
A long wick, on a burning candle, can be
wasteful; and is called  snaste.

Such flames can often attract  morths,  and the
mingins   (gnats, midges) so prevalent at dusk.

After dark you may wish to  hank-up
the door, using the  snack [2].
You may also be less inclined to go off
on your travels i.e.  goo strammackin'.
However, the cat might start  scrabbin'  or
scrorpin'   [scratching] at the door - to get out!.
See Story F

[1] In my family, that behaviour might
      gi(t) onya chimes.
[2] This is instead of  latch;
      but is more onomatapoeic!.


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