A humorous guide to the Bristol dialect, with c.800 alphabetical word or phrase entries, explanations and samples of usage, plus a Bristolian tourist phrase book and How Bristol are you?, quiz.
Bristolian is a distinctly warm-sounding dialect that, like most regional variations of language, contains standard English words and phrases that mean something very different to its native speakers. In a city where a drive is somebody at the wheel and not something you do on a Sunday afternoon, and a spanner is never going to help you fix a car, life can easily get confusing for the unwary.
Bristolian also has many words and pronunciations that are unique to the city which can often baffle people not familiar with the rolled Rs, the dropped Hs, and the addition of Ls to the end of practically any word that ends in a vowel. As if that isnt potential enough to strike a look of bewilderment onto the face of a visitor, the unaided ear also has to deal with the confusion of ownership and tense, and the use of the personal pronoun Ee (he) for impersonal objects: "Me ammer? Ee's over yer look."
Like all regional dialects though, Bristolian is in danger of dying out. With the large new suburbs of Bradley Stoke and Emersons Green attracting people to Bristol from all over the UK, the 30,000+ students that fill the universities each term, and the widening of new middle class enclaves gentrifying the housing of many former working areas of the city, from Bishopston and Horfield to Easton and Southville, the melting pot of language in the city is slowly diluting Bristols true identity.
Strongholds of the language do still exist, mostly in South Bristol communities such as Bedminster, Knowle West, and Hartcliffe; areas that traditionally are more working class and have a less fluid population. Some classic words and phrases, such as gurt lush (very nice) and awlrite me old babber? (hello how are you my good friend?), have also now passed into ironic/tongue-in-cheek usage and can be heard muttered throughout even the most cosmopolitan bars and offices across the city. In part the online version of this dictionary has helped this along.
The aim of this dictionary is to collate words and phrases in common usage in and around Bristol, both past and present, in a bid to keep the language alive. Some entries in this collection cross generations and some cross over into other regional dialects and slang, but all are listed here if they play, or have played, a part in the makeup of Bristolian. You may not recognise them all - Ive been a Bristolian since birth and some still surprise even me with the help of this Dictionary we hope that youll soon be hearing and understanding - a lot more of them.
October 2003 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.