How To Talk Like a Local

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You may be a bit antwacky and arney, and hate garyboys. Here is a translation from Susie Dent’s book: antwacky is a Merseyside term for old-fashioned, and it probably comes from a local pronunciation of ‘antique’; arney means bad-tempered, and as a dialect word it can be found in Sussex and is thought to derive from ‘ordinary’ from the supposed ill-temper shown by ‘ordinary’ people of lower social rank; and garyboy is East Anglian dialect for an ostentatious teenager who drives a souped-up car.

The word Garyboy was coined only in the 1990s, which shows that local dialect is still alive and well as new words enter the lexicon. But many dialect words have been around much longer: Nailbourn (a Kentish word for an intermittent stream) dates back to the fifteenth century, and nithered means cold in Scotland and northern England and has Anglo-Saxon roots.

If you want to write in local dialect, Susie Dent’s book has to be your essential guide.


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