Bobowler, cheeselog, dimpsy ... 12 poets to highlight forgotten dialect words

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Twelve poets have been commissioned to write poems using local dialect words from a shortlist drawn up by Oxford English Dictionary experts to help celebrate National Poetry Day.

The #freetheword project, a partnership between the BBC’s English regions, National Poetry Day and the ORD, and inspired by National Poetry Day’s 2017 theme of freedom, has searched for unrecorded words used in everyday speech in different locations across the country to set down in poetry.

Black Country poet Liz Berry, pictured, will be writing a poem featuring the West Midlands word bobowler, meaning a large moth, while Hollie McNish has chosen the Berkshire word cheeselog (woodlouse). Other poets involved in the project are Vanessa Kisuule (gurt – great or very, Bristol);  Katie Hale (twine – to complain, Cumbria);  Chrissy Williams (dimpsy – twilight, Devon); Dean Wilson (didlum – a community savings scheme, Hull); Vidyan Ravinthiran (ginnel – alleyway, Leeds); Toby Campion (mardy – moody, Leicester); Caleb Femi (fam - familiar form of address for a friend, London); Chris McCabe (geg in – to butt in, Merseyside); Rebecca Watts (on the huh – lopsided, wonky – Suffolk); and James Brookes (twitten – an alleyway, Sussex).

The BBC will broadcast the poets’ finished poems on National Poetry Day on Thursday 28 September – and a poem featuring all 12 words will be performed by 19-year-old performance poet Isaiah Hull as part of the BBC’s Contains Strong Language poetry festival in Hull.

◄ Michael Symmons Roberts to judge £1,000 Plough poetry prize

Write Out Loud at Bolton Socialist Club tonight ►

Comments

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M.C. Newberry

Tue 15th Aug 2017 02:49

The plan described in this blog got publicity via the BBC TV
text news service yesterday (Monday 14th August 2017).
A welcome shot in the arm for the promotion of poetry.

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M.C. Newberry

Fri 11th Aug 2017 18:24

Great idea. There is a richness to be found in local words
that can be forgotten and lost to successive generations.
I recall the late lamented South Devon author, artist and
naturalist, Brian Carter, including the Devon dialect in his
Torbay newspaper column and his own books. Fascinating
and funny at the same time. Dimpsey (as spelt by Mr Carter - with the alternative dimsey) has a lovely soft
ring to it...just like the time of day it describes e.g. dying of the light(dim/see?).
Now how about some more from the county that rhymes
with heaven, courtesy of much missed Mr Carter.
Little boy - tacker
Baby girl - cheel
Mad - mazed
Huge - maister girt
Plimsoll footwear - daps
Puzzled - zamwagged
Stupid person - dawbake
Musty/damp - vady
Foxgloves - bees' tongues (and other terms)
Smart - viddy
Rabbit - drummer
Pigs - chitterlings
Heifer - yaffer
Ewe - yaw
Dainty/fussy - taffity
Bat - airy mouse
Chaffinch - dabfinch
Hedgehog - fuzz-pig
Right'o, ma boodies, tiz enough to go on wid!

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