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Mitherin’ Mardy Memories

16 April, 2018 (13:46) | Wordy Rappinghood | By: Ian Burdon

I had a couple of interesting chats with my mum and my sister this morning. I’ve been trying to remember dialect words from when I was a child, before I left Derby in 1969, some of which I still use nearly half a century earlier.

There are several online resources, but I wanted to speak to my mum as she is (nearly) Derbyshire born and Derbyshire bred (strong in the arm and quick in the head). The ones she could remember straight away are ones I still use (I leave my tea to mash after I’ve put the boiling water in, a crying child is mardy). Anyway, she’s having a think. But she did say that my sister and her kids often say ‘what does that mean?’ when she comes out with something.

One of the things she said came from my Grandad’s great love of playing crib–two pairs for four would be Morgan’s Orchard. And that reminded me of two for his heels and one for his nob. A canal is a cut, of course. I have a very vague memory of incoming bad weather being looking a bit black over Bill’s Mother’s although Mum spontaneously came out with the sun’s coming out over Joe’s Mother’s.

So I spoke to my sister to see if she could remember anything Mum’s said, and she’s going to jot things down. She did say, though, that they’ve all noticed Mum usually uses the contraction shan’t (shall not) where it’s more usual to use won’t. This pulled me up short, because I habitually use shan’t as well My great-aunts would use other contractions I think: wouldn’t/won’t would become wunner, shouldn’t/shan’t would be shunner, and I know I do something similar when talking–I’ve caught myself about to use shanner for shan’t and corrected myself, though that might just be sloppiness on my part.

I then found an American professor online who, with the complacent certainty of American grammarians, referred to the use of ‘shan’t’ as ‘a common mistake’. Well, you can shove that where a monkey shoves its nuts, I thought, and that’s one my Great-Aunty Nancy taught me…

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