Sunday, September 05, 2004

Wycombe Dialect

On the Wycombe dialect Mr Jackson Coleman wrote in his Treasury of County Folklore:
“….although there are those who say that Wycombe is peculiar from that prevalent elsewhere in the County, we must admit that it is not so pleasant as the broad Bucks conversation to be heard elsewhere.”
He noted a “Distinctive tone and jumble of syllables” heard on market days in Wycombe. A critic from a West Country newspaper described it as the “foulest and most formless patois” he had ever encountered.
Judge Randolph asked evidence at Wycombe Courts be translated into plain English; “Nobody enunciates words here they just give me a stream of sounds.”
Jackson Coleman identified the distinctive feature of the Wycombe dialect as an inability to pronounce hard sounds like ‘t’s’ and ‘d’s’ and ‘l’s’ which come out as ‘o’s’ so meal becomes ‘meo’, feel becomes ‘feo’
An example given of dropping ‘d’s’ is: “A liul bi of buhher.” For "A little bit of butter".

Other words of Bucks dialect:
Yawnups = a stupid person
Tiggle = move slowly
Goolybugs = ladybirds
Dingle = dawdle
Dibbly = intoxicated
Todge-bellied = pot bellied

Which means that once upon a time in Wycombe you may have heard something like:
“Thao dibbly todge-bellied yawnups was tiggling down Widgington Passage chasing goolybugs.”

From Treasury of County Folklore, Mr S Jackson Coleman (1954-56) No.11 Bucks
Dialect. UCL Special Collections.

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