I Twitter!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Pitmatic 2

Where was I??!

Oh, yes... Yakking.

It's what I do best, n'est-ce pas?

Pitmatic, formerly 'pitmatical', referring to the very peculiar words and language used by my forebears, my ancestors. First mentioned in a Victorian journal of the time, when industry leaders came to the region to lay down the law, but couldn't understand a word of what the miners were saying; They termed it, 'pitmatical'.

From BBC Radio 4: "Until the closure of the last pit in 1981, Ashington was one of Britain's most concentrated mining communities. At its peak in the 1930s the town boasted 6,000 men underground. Closely-knit is the cliché used of pit-communities, but it is undeniable that these villages were self sufficient and self-supporting: the village was the pit and measured itself and its people in relation to it".

So, a language drawn from old German, Dutch, old English, Norse and some just simply made up on the spot by the miners themselves...

It's said to be one of the purest forms of English that remains in our Realm.

I've heard my son using the term 'bari'. I'd never heard it before, but it's an old word coming back into the dialect, and means fab, lovely, beautiful...

When I say I am down on my honkers, I mean I am crouched low to the ground... It takes me yonks to get up again, it's me age, doctor!

I might threaten to 'yark' someone, if they're being cheeky. What I mean is that I might hit, or clip, them one with my back-hand!

I got puzzled glances at work the other week, when I offered a colleague a pair of tweezers to take the spelk out of his finger. He had a splinter of wood trapped under the skin, a 'spelk'.

A baby, or small children are 'bairns'.

Our toilet (usually outside!) at the rear of the house, is a 'netty'.

If I'm talking about someone bounding over, a cat jumping up on my lap, I say 'lowp'... "Aye, he fair lowped!"

If the cat was overly covered in mud, or clarts, we'd say "Mind, he's reet hacky!"

If I'm busy with something, like in a warehouse full of boxes, or standing more than waist deep in water, "I'm up to me oxters!" (My armpits).

You may have heard that we use the term, 'canny', to mean something or someone is nice, or we had a good time... "Aye, it wor (were) canny like".

If I'm 'clamming for me bait,' I'm telling you I'm pretty hungry.

Sometimes a Geordie may appear to be using words incorrectly , but this may not always be the case. For example a Geordie may say 'Aaal larn yer (meaning I'll teach you) as in the Anglo Saxon Laeran which meant teach. Other Geordie words of Anglo Saxon origin include Axe (ask) from the Anglo-Saxon Acsian, Burn meaning stream, Hoppings meaning fayre and Gan which is the Geordie and Anglo Saxon word meaning to go.

The unique way in which Geordies and Northumbrians pronounce certain words is also often Anglo-Saxon in origin. Thus Geordie words like Dede, Coo, Cloot, Hoos, Wrang, Strang and Lang are in fact the original Anglo-Saxon pronounciations for Dead, Cow, Clout, House, Wrong, Strong and Long.

These old words have survived in the North East for a number of reasons primarily associated with the region's historical remoteness and isolation from southern England. The turbulent border history of this region was also a major factor in discouraging outside influence although some Viking words have crept into the local dialect from the neighbouring Viking settled areas of Yorkshire, South Durham and Cumbria. CLICKIE FOR MORE

Painting, 'Progging the Mat', by a Pitman Painter.


LPC said...

Just fascinating. Would love to learn more. And British mining always makes me think of The Princess And The Goblins.

Lisa-Marie said...

In Scotland, splinter is 'skelf'. I love this, because this is how people whre I'm from talked. do you say 'ower' for over?

Oxter is the best word ever!

Lisa-Marie said...

In Scotland, splinter is 'skelf'. I love this, because this is how people whre I'm from talked. do you say 'ower' for over?

Oxter is the best word ever!

slommler said...

This is totally fascinating! I love words and the ways people use them. Thanks for sharing this info!

Suldog said...

Thanks for more language lessons. Over here, "axe" (for "ask") is seen as very ignorant. Until now, I had no idea that a case could be made for it being the correct pronunciation!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Crikey, very deep but excellent post.

于庭吳 said...


Something I wrote earlier...

Blog Widget by LinkWithin