Wednesday 8th June 2016 – The Oddities of Language

Our Mistress thinks she speaks English. She’s trying to learn German, but that’s another story. Anyway, she used a sentence in her writing and when he read it our Master put a big ? next to it. She asked him to explain what the problem was.

“You’re not making any sense. That’s a made up word.”

“What do you mean ‘that’s a made up word’ is in common use,” was her reply.

“In your head, maybe.”

So she looked the word up in the dictionary and then proudly told him it was there. It meant exactly what she thought it did and there was nothing wrong with her sentence… then she read the next line in the dictionary entry and she was distraught. Apparently the word is only in common use in the East Midlands of England where she comes from. She was distraught, it turned out that the word ‘puthering’ which she thinks perfectly describes when a fire is all smoke and very little flame, is not one that she could use for a character not born in the area she is from. She went on to tell me that being ‘mardy’ means you are in a bad mood, a ‘croggie’ is when you hitch a ride on the crossbar of someone’s bicycle and a ‘thrall’ is the stone ledge above the floor in a pantry. It turns out she doesn’t speak English quite as much as she thought she did, but a local variant of the language that you’d have thought didn’t exist in this day and age. She wondered if I could get the word ‘puther’ into common use as she likes it so much and doesn’t want it to disappear.

On the other paw, I’m thinking when she says something that I want to ignore of just saying later ‘I’m sorry, I didn’t understand. You weren’t speaking in English!’

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  1. Mardy and crogie are both used in Yorkshire so maybe she is picking up the local language too? 🙂 I like being maffted (hot) but not nithered (cold) 🙂

    • She’s been using them since childhood. We hadn’t heard either maffted or nithered! Have a woofly day. x

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