7 comments on “The unfinished simile capital of the world

  1. From http://www.une.edu.au/langnet/definitions/geordie.html

    (the) sentence final “like” as in “who says, like?” or “it’s not my fault, like” may request or provide exemplification.

    And the “gan” would be “gannin”, by the way.

    For purposes of disclosure, I am a Geordie. James (above) should have been a Geordie but was born in the wrong hospital.

    Tim adds: Geordie….as is my co-worker in this office who told me the story…..

  2. Yebuggermar, I was just ganna say that meself like…

    By the way James, I’m a Geordie born and bred, and I wouldn’t be seen deed wearing a dipthong..

  3. In Glasgow, the last word of each of those sentences might well be “but”.

    Equally meaningless and equally puzzling.

  4. No, the Glaswegian habit of ending a sentence with “but” is not meaningless. It means “but”. It doesn’t get stuck randomly on the end of any old sentence; it simply gets put at the end where people from the rest of the country would either put it at the start or replace it with “though”.

    I’m always puzzled when people tell me it’s meaningless or puzzling. When I first moved to Glasgow, it took me about a day to figure it out.

  5. Squander:

    I have (and have had from a very young age) an almost preternatural affinity for the “correct,” whether in speaking or writing (including structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation).
    But, at the same time, I developed a great fondness (probably starting with Joel Chandler Harris’ “Uncle Remus” and the many works of Mark Twain) for the vernacular and idiom of particular regions. What soon dawns on one (who’s paying any attention) is that very many of these apparent “corruptions” of language ” have specific, sense-making purposes (more or less as you’ve explained). In the U.S., we have quite a few of these styles, covering regions both large and small. (Though I’ve heard it maintained that there’s more variation and mutual unintelligibility in UK than in the entire U.S.)

    Many years ago, in a local (NJ–near Philly) taproom, I heard a gal at the bar, speaking in a certain accent, use a certain word or expression.
    I turned to her and said I’d bet her a beer I could tell, within 20 miles, where she was raised.

    She agreed to the bet and I named a certain small town of about 5000 population in far western North Carolina. She said, “No–you’re wrong. I was born and raised right here. But I’m buying you that beer anyway because I’ve been married for almost 30 years to a guy who actually comes from that town.”

    Walter Williams, a professor of Economics at George Mason U, pronounces the word “ask” as “axe” (as do many black Americans). Hosting Rush Limbaugh’s show one day, he explained that such pronunciation was once universal among both black and white in colonial Virginia and even fairly widely in other parts of the South but that it had remained “proper” among blacks who had moved north (as had his family) and could still be heard among rural whites in “Tidewater” Virginia.

    All very interesting, hain’t?

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