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Found in Translation: A celebration of the UK’s dialects and accents

For Forest Holidaymakers who believe in immersing themselves in the local culture of their holiday destination, here’s a light-hearted language guide to our UK locations.

One language, many variations

From schnasters in Strathyre to dobecks at Deerpark, there are vast differences across the country in how we bring the English language to life in our everyday speech. In this exploration of local vernacular we have unearthed some regional gems which may or may not be useful on your travels.

Food and drink

Those Scottish schnasters we mentioned earlier are sweets, but in Yorkshire you might be better asking for spoggs, or spice, and in Norfolk it’s coshies.

Deep in the Vorest o’ Dean they are swapping h’s to confuse us. You might be hungry enough to eat an ‘orse or even a hostrich. Whatever you eat, be sure to try the Zider and it will all go down so much more easily.

Meanwhile, in Cornwall, raisins are figs and figs are broad raisins and if you are eating a tiddly oggy of turmuts, taties and mate, you are tucking into a Cornish pasty.

Keep up.

Out in the forest

The Norfolk dialect is bootiful when it comes to wildlife descriptions. Look out for the pollywiggles (tadpoles) in the beck at Thorpe Forest before they become hopp’n toads (frogs). See if you can spot the bishy barney bees (ladybirds) and the pishmires (ants) too.

In Cornwall it’s the padgypaws (newts) that will keep you interested and over at the Forest of Dean, when you are out in the vorest (forest), keep your lummocks (legs) away from the ettles (stinging nettles). And if you are hearing spuggies in the backend around Yorkshire, it’s not as alarming as it sounds, it’s just sparrows in the autumn. Phew!

Insulting language

Of course, the real test of a local lingo is how well the insults trip off the tongue. Scotland scores well with some beauties, mostly questioning the intelligence of the person you are insulting: bampot, gommy, eejit and tumshie all being variations of idiot. The other main form of insult is to question the personal hygiene of your victim: clatty, minging, bowfin are… well…smelly and dirty.

Down at Deerpark, the dobecks we met earlier are gowky (stupid) and might be told giss on! (don’t talk rubbish). At Sherwood Forest the same people would be called wasseks and told to gerrof ‘om (go home).

Only here….

Accents travel and mutate with their speakers but some words and phrases are so rooted in their location that they are part of the very DNA of the area.

In nowhere but Norfolk would you be advised not to be a spluttergut (someone who rushes in without thinking through the consequences). And when it’s black over Bill’s mother’s in Nottinghamshire, just remember to take your umbrella. Down in Cornwall they have a lovely word which means the essence of something, zuggans – that’s one that should be adopted nationally.

Over at Blackwood Forest in Hampshire, mush means mate (and not always in the friendliest sense – “Oi, what are you looking at, mush?”). In the Forest of Dean, your butty is not your lunch, it’s your best mate. And we can’t ignore ee bah gum in Yorkshire, which may or may not be derived from the old Roman name (adapted from the original Celtic) for York, Eboracum. Sounds plausible enough.

Scotland has so many dialect words and phrases that it’s hard to pick just one, but we rather like lang may yer lum reek, (long may your chimney smoke) which is essentially wishing you a long and happy life.

And on that note, lang may yer lum indeed reek. If you are now worried you will need a phrase book for your holiday, never fear, for the universal language of a friendly smile will get you through most situations.

Hello there…

At our local school there is a welcome sign that says hello in 6 different languages. A similar sign covering our Forest Holidays locations might have the following cheery greetings:

Hou's it gaun? - Argyll and Strathyre Scotland

Eyup! How's tha doin'? – Cropton and Keldy

Aye up me duck - Sherwood Forest,

‘Ow bist, awld butty? – Forest of Dean

Ar ya reet bor? – Thorpe Forest

Orright mush - Blackwood Forest

Dydh da! – Deerpark