Ay Up Mi Duck! Do you speak ‘Nottinghamese’?
Posted 6. Mai 2011on:
If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to visit Nottinghamshire, then no doubt you will have been greeted with the words ‘ay up mi duck’ (hello) and wondered why on earth someone just called you a duck. Well don’t worry, it’s an affectionate term!
If it’s ‘black o’er by Bill’s mother’s’ then it’s likely to rain soon and, if a child wanders into the road, you might hear their ‘mam’ (mother) shout “gerron corsey!” (get on to the pavement!).
However, if someone describes you as ‘mardy’ or a ‘mard arse’ then you ought to turn that frown upside down because it means you’re sulking like a child! The word ‘mardy’ is now more widely understood thanks to the Artic Monkeys’ song Mardy Bum but before that it was uncommon to hear it outside of the Midlands, even though it can be found in well-known literature from as early as 1913 in Sons and Lovers by D.H Lawrence, who was born in Eastwood in Nottingham.
Having been born and raised in Nottinghamshire, I speak fluent Nottinghamese; however this can cause problems when travelling outside of the county’s borders, especially when you don’t realise that a certain word is specific to Nottinghamshire! For example, in a cafe in the south of England, ordering a bacon ‘cob’ gained me nothing but a baffled stare – apparently I should have asked for a bacon ‘bread roll’; and when I taught the word ‘tabhanging’ (eavesdropping) to a French friend of mine, I was quickly interrupted by a girl from Belfast who had never heard the word before. I explained that it was a perfectly logical expression because when you eavesdrop, you literally hang your tab next to the conversation that you are trying to overhear. This then led to the revelation that the word ‘tab’ is not used by all Anglophones – not even by all British people – to mean ‘ear’. This is a shame because it means that not everyone gets to use – or even understand – such wonderful Nottinghamese phrases as:
– ‘Cor, that’s a tablaugher!’ (Oh, that tastes sour!)
– ‘Shurrup else I’ll bat ya tab!’ (If you don’t be quiet, I’ll hit you across the side of your head!)
The list of Nottinghamese words and expressions goes on and on. Here’s a link to a mini-dictionary that explains a few of our expressions and a link to an article written by a man who has done extensive research on Nottinghamese:
What are the most interesting expressions used in your local dialect? Has yours ever been incomprehensible to a speaker of the same language (or was someone else’s incomprehensbile to you)? Please let me know, and maybe soon I’ll unveil the true meanings of ‘nesh’ and ‘jammy’…
Bis bald or ta-ra duck!