A Conversation for Talking Point: Slang

Isle of Wight dialect

Post 1

Bluebottle

There's a vast range of Isle of Wight dialect, much of it sadly is disappearing. Linguist William Long in 1886 wrote "A Dictionary of the Isle of Wight Dialect" (which I want a copy of!) as Isle of Wight dialect is so distinct. Linguistically, the Island is closer to Dorset than Hampshire.

Common examples still in use include:
Nammet - lunch (derived from "noon meat")
Grockle - old person
Gurt - Great (as in size - gurt big)
Mallyshag - caterpiller - especially a hairy one
Grockle - tourist
Grockle can - coach full of tourists
Nipper - a young male
Overner - Mainlander living on the Island.
Somewhen - Sometime, ie I'll do that somewhen or other.
Gallybagger - Scarecrow
Birds nests - Doughnuts
The Island - the Isle of Wight

"Caulkhead" is used to mean someone from the Island, but this is originally mainland slang later adopted by Islanders. "Appleknocker" is another term to mean someone from the Island.

Famous Overner cartoonist Besley has done many excellent cartoons - commonly sold as postcards - on the Isle of Wight dialect.

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Isle of Wight dialect

Post 2

The H2G2 Editors

Excellent list, you old appleknocker you smiley - ok


Isle of Wight dialect

Post 3

Bluebottle

I'm not done yet smiley - winkeye Here's a bit more info:

Holystoning - Scrubbing the deck of a ship. Stones taken from the ruined St Helens church on the Isle of Wight were used to scrub Royal Navy vessels anchored in St Helens Roads - the strip of water by St Helens and close to the Royal Navy's major docks at Portsmouth - when crews embarked to supply themselves with fresh drinking water and other provisions.

Caulkhead - although originally a Mainland term, its adoption by Islanders means that it should be considered Isle of Wight dialect. It originated as employment on the Island was (and still is) predominently seasonal, during the winter when there was little work to be done in the fields, Islanders would travel to the Mainland, especially the Royal Dockyard Portsmouth as well as the port of Southampton, where they would work on caulking the wooden ships docked there for the winter. (Caulking is the process of making ships watertight, usually by using oakum and pitch.)

Apparently "appleknocker" is also US slang for a farm labourers, especially those involved in fruit farming.

Place names:

Yar - river. Of the 5 main rivers on the Island, two are called the Yar (which can confuse some people). Not a strictly Isle of Wight word (hence the common town name of Yarmouth) but worth mentioning.

Chine - River cutting through a cliff. The word "Chine" is only found to describe places on the Isle of Wight and in Dorset.

Medines - the Island was traditionally divided into two Medines - the East Medine (East of the river Medina) and the West Medine - (West of the river Medina) - the river Medina running down the middle of the Island. Curiously dialects still pretty much follow the Medine boundaries - with general south of England accents dominating the East Medine with the purer, more traditional Isle of Wight dialect more common in the Western Medine.

Place names on the Island ending in "well" are traditionally pronounced "ll". Shorewell is pronounced "Sharrel", not "Shore well" and Whitewell is "Whittel"

People from the Island often use "on" instead of "in" to describe where they live. For example, instead of saying "I live in Hampshire" or "I live in Dorset", Islanders "live on the Isle of Wight".

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Isle of Wight dialect

Post 4

The H2G2 Editors

This would make a great Entry on its own! smiley - ok


Isle of Wight dialect

Post 5

Bluebottle

Could be bunged in an article on its own, I suppose...

I've mentioned Isle of Wight dialect in the Isle of Wight articles on doughnuts (A378010), Christmas (A690987) and Shroven (A698565)

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Isle of Wight dialect

Post 6

The H2G2 Editors

Ah, yes you have, good point!


Isle of Wight dialect

Post 7

Bluebottle

Gurthead = Country Bumpkin

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Isle of Wight dialect

Post 8

CountSpracula

Not actually slang, but "Dinosaur" is an Isle of Wight word!

Sir Richard Owen created the name 'Dinosauria' after closely examining an Iguanodon sacrum discovered on the Isle of Wight in 1841.
(See the Dinosaur Hunters article: A664607 )

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Isle of Wight dialect

Post 9

Neddy

Hello Bluebottle.
I have a copy of this book. 1886 and signed to a Lincolnshire writer by one f the subscribers J Lewis Ffytche. Any interest?
It is in FINE condition


Isle of Wight dialect

Post 10

Bluebottle

Interest, yes - I've lots of that.
Actual money, however, is a completely different story...

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