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Edward Streeter
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 96 pages of information about "Same old Bill, eh Mable!".
the phrase “is it a lad or a child?” as being still current in Shropshire; and duly states that, in Warwickshire, “dirt collected on the hairs of a horse’s leg and forming into hard masses is said to bolter.”  Trench further points out that many of our pure Anglo-Saxon words which lived on into the formation of our early English, subsequently dropped out of our usual vocabulary, and are now to be found only in the dialects.  A good example is the word eme, an uncle (A.S. _{-e}am_), which is rather common in Middle English, but has seldom appeared in our literature since the tune of Drayton.  Yet it is well known in our Northern dialects, and Sir Walter Scott puts the expression “Didna his eme die” in the mouth of Davie Deans (Heart of Midlothian, ch.  XII).  In fact, few things are more extraordinary in the history of our language than the singularly capricious manner in which good and useful words emerge into or disappear from use in “standard” talk, for no very obvious reason.  Such a word as yonder is common enough still; but its corresponding adjective yon, as in the phrase “yon man,” is usually relegated to our dialects.  Though it is common in Shakespeare, it is comparatively rare in the Middle English period, from the twelfth to the fifteenth century.  It only occurs once in Chaucer, where it is introduced as being a Northern word; and it absolutely disappears from record in the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth centuries.  Bosworth’s Anglo-Saxon Dictionary gives no example of its use, and it was long supposed that it would be impossible to trace it in our early records.  Nevertheless, when Dr Sweet printed, for the first time, an edition of King Alfred’s translation of Pope Gregory’s Pastoral Care, an example appeared in which it was employed in the most natural manner, as if it were in everyday use.  At p. 443 of that treatise is the sentence—­“Aris and gong to geonre byrg,” i.e.  Arise and go to yon city.  Here the A.S. geon (pronounced like the modern yon) is actually declined after the regular manner, being duly provided with the suffix _-re_, which was the special suffix reserved only for the genitive or dative feminine.  It is here a dative after the preposition to.

There is, in fact, no limit to the good use to which a reverent study of our dialects may be put by a diligent student.  They abound with pearls which are worthy of a better fate than to be trampled under foot.  I will content myself with giving one last example that is really too curious to be passed over in silence.

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