. Regional variation of pronunciation in the south-west of England

for we (= us).

- The pronoun mun (min) is used in those cases, when in the

literary language them is used:

e.g. put mun in the house

gie mun to me

I mind (= remember) the first time I seed mun.

- Mun is also used instead of him, it

e.g. let min alone

it would sarve un right if I telled the parson of mun

- Instead of those, them is used:

e.g. I mind none of them things.

Give us them apples.

Fetch them plaates off o th pantry shelf.

- In the south-western dialects at the beginning of the sentenu the

personal and impersonal pronouns are often dropped.

- Whom is never used in the south-western dialects. Instead of it

as / at is used:

e.g. Thats the chap as (or what) his uncle was hanged.

The man at his coats torn.

- The nominative case of the personal pronouns is also used before


e.g. we selves (Somerseshire, Devonshire)

- The standard demonstrative pronoun this is used in the south-

western dialects as: this, this here, thease, thisn,


- The standard demonstrative pronoun that is used in the south-

western dialects as: thatn, thickumy, thilk:

e.g. I suppose I could have told thee thilk.

- Those is never used in the south-western dialects.

thir ans is used instead of it.

3.5.1 Demonstrative adjectives and pronouns in a Devonshire


Id like to give not only the grammatical description of adjectives

and pronouns in the south-western part of England, but the pronunciation of

demonstrative adjectives and pronouns found in the dialect of south zeal, a

village on the northern edge of Dartmoor. Martin Harris made his research

work in this field:

The analysis is based on a corpus of some twenty hours of tape-

recorded conversation, collected in the course of work for a Ph.D. thesis,

either in the form of a dialogue between two informants or of a monologue

on the part of a single informant. The principal informant, Mr George

Cooper, has lived for some eighty-five years in the parish, and has only

spent one night in his life outside the county of Devon.

For the purposes of this chapter, only one phonological point needs to

be made. The /r/ phoneme is retroflex in final position, and induces a

preceding weak central vowel [?] when occurring in the environment /Vr/,

(thus [V?r]), when the /V/ in question is /i:/ or /?/. (These are the only

two vowels relevant within this work.). The transcription used for the

actual forms should not give rise to any further problems. In the case of

the illustrative examples, 1 have decided to use a quasi-orthographical

representation, since the actual phonetic/phonemic realization is not

directly relevant to the point under discussion. The prominent syllable(s)

in each example are illustrated thus: .

We may now proceed to look at the actual forms found in the dialect

(Table 1):

|Singular adjective| | | |

| |/i:z/ |/at/ |/i-ki:/ |

|Simple |/s/ | | |

|First compound |/i:z/ ji:r/ |/at ?r/ |/i-ki: ?r/ |

| |/is ji:r/ | | |

|Singular pronoun | | | |

|Simple |/is/ |/at/ |/ i-ki:/ |

| |/i:z/ | | |

|First compound |/is ji:r/ |/at ?r/ | |

|Second compound |/is ji:r ji:r/ |/at ?r ?r/ | |

|Plural adjective | | | |

|Simple |/ejz/ |/ej/ |/i-ki:/ |

| |/i:z/ | | |

|First compound |/ejz ji:r/ |/ej ?r/ |/i-ki: ?r/ |

|Plural pronoun | | | |

|Simple (only) | |/ej/ | |

The relative frequency of these forms is shown in Table 2.

|Adjectives |

|Singular |% |Plural |% |

|/i:z/ |13 |/ejz/ |23 |

|/is/ |11 |/i:z/ |2 |

|/i:z ji:r/ |9 |/ejz ji:r/ |7 |

|/is ji:r/ |2 |/i:z ji:r/ |4 |

|/at/ |15 |/ej/ |49 |

|/at ?r/ |3 |/ej ?r/ |2 |

|/i-ki:/ |43 |/i-ki:/ |10 |

|/i-ki: ?r/ |4 |/i-ki: ?r/ |3 |

| |100 | |100 |

|Pronouns |

|Singular |% |Plural |% |

|/is/ |10 | | |

|/i:z/ |4 | | |

|/is ji:r/ |2 | | |

|/is ji:r ji:r/ |25 |/ej/ |100 |

|/at/ |22 | | |

|/at ?r/ |2 | | |

|/at ?r ?r/ |34 | | |

|/i-ki:/ |1 | | |

| |100 | | |

The paradigm as outlined in Tables 1, 2 presents few morphological

problems. The two pairs of forms /i:z/ and /is/ and /ejz/ and /i:z/ do,

however, need examination. In the singular of the adjective, the two forms

/i:z/ and /is/ are both frequent, being used mostly in unstressed and

stressed position respectively. However, some 30 per cent of the

occurrences of each form do not follow this tendency, so it does not seem

profitable to set up a stressed: unstressed opposition, particularly since

such a division would serve no purpose in the case of /at/ and /i-ki:/.

With the first compounds, the form /i:z ji:r/ outnumbers /is ji:r/ in

the ratio 1 in the adjective position.

When functioning as a pronoun, /i:z/ is rare as a simple form and

never occurs at all either within a first compound (although first

compounds are so rare as pronouns that no generalization can usefully be

made, see Table 2) or within a second compound, where only /is ji:r

ji:r/, never /i:z ji:r ji:r/, is found. Thus /is/ seems to be more

favoured as a pronoun, and /i:z/ as an adjective; this, of course, is only

a tendency.

In the plural, the position is more clear-cut. The normal adjective

plurals are /ejz/ and /ejz ji:r/, which outnumber /i:z/ and /i:z ji:r/

by a large margin (see Table 2). Such cases of the latter as do occur may

perhaps be ascribed to Standard English influence, since /i:z/ is clearly

used normally as a singular rather than a plural form. The absence of any

reflex of /ejz/ as a plural pronoun is discussed below.

The other forms present little morphological difficulty. There is only

one occurrence of /i-ki:/ as a pronoun, although as an adjective it almost

outnumbers /i:z/ and /at/ together, so it seems to belong primarily to

the adjectival system. The normal singular pronouns are either the simple

forms or the second compounds, the first compounds being most unusual.

In the plural of the adjective, the simple forms are much more

frequent than their equivalent first compounds, whereas in the plural of

the pronoun, there is apparently only the one form /ej/. The status of

this form is discussed below.

The following are examples of those demonstatives which are not

further discussed below. The uses of /at/ as a singular adjective, of /i-

ki:/ as a singular or plural adjective, and of all the pronouns are fully

exemplified in the syntactic section, and thus no examples are given here.


I come down here to live in this little old street.

Well; this year, I done a bit lighter.

Now this season, tis over.

This was coming this way.

/is ji:r/

Theres all this here sort of jobs going on to day.

I was down there where this here plough was up here.


These places be alright if you know where youm going to.

They got to pay the wages to these people.

I do a bit of gardening . . . and likes of all these things.


What makes all they hills look so well?

Where Jim was sent to, they two met.

They wont have all they sort of people up there.

Tell Cooper to shift they stones there.

We may now turn to the functions of those forms whose uses are

identifiably different from those of Standard English.

The most striking feature of the demonstrative system is that, in the

singular adjective system at least, there is apparently a three-term

opposition /i:z : at : i-ki:/, in contrast with the two-term system of

Standard English. It seems fair to say that the role of /i:z/ is similar

to that of 'this' in Standard English (but see note on /i:z ji:r/ below),

but any attempt to differentiate /at/ and /i-ki:/ proves extremely

difficult. There are a number of sentences of the type:

If you was to put that stick in across thicky pony . . .

where the two forms seem to fill the same function. The virtual absence of

/i-ki:/ from the pronoun system, together with the fact that /i-ki:/ is

three times as frequent as /at/ as an adjective, would suggest that /i-

ki:/ is the normal adjectival form in the dialect, and that /at/ has a

greater range, having a function which is basically pronominal but in

addition adjectival at times. This is further supported by the fact that

when presented with sentences of the type:

He turned that hare three times and he caught it.

the informant claimed that /i-ki:/ would be equally acceptable and could

indicate no distinction. Thus there are pairs of sentences such as

I used to walk that there two mile and half.

You'd walk thicky nine mile.

or again

That finished that job.

I wouldnt have thicky job.

There are certain cases where either one form or the other seems to be

required. In particular, /at/ is used when actually indicating a size with

the hands:

Go up and see the stones that length, that thickness.

while /i-ki:/ is used in contrast with /t?-r/, where Standard English

would normally use one or the one.

Soon as they got it thicky hand, theyd thruck(?) it away with the


In the adjective plural, the contrast between /i-ki:/ and /ej/ is

not a real one, since /i-ki:/ is found only with numerals.

I had thicky eighteen bob a week.

I expect thicky nine was all one mans sheep.

When presented with /i-ki:/ before plural nominals, the informant

rejected them. It would therefore be preferable to redefine singular and

plural in the dialect to account for this, rather than to consider /i-

ki:/ as a plural form; this would accordingly neutralize in the plural any

/i-ki:/:/at/ opposition which may exist in the singular.

In the pronominal system, there is only one occurrence of /i-ki:/:

My missis bought thicky before her died (a radio).

It is true that most of the occurrences of /al/ as a pronoun do not

refer to a specific antecedent, e.g. I cant afford to do that, but there

are a number of cases where /at/ does play a role closely parallel to /i-

ki:/ above.

As I was passing that, and that was passing me (a dog).

As there are no other examples of /i-ki:/ as a singular pronoun,

either simply or as part of a first or second compound, and no cases at

all in the plural, it seems fair to say that any /at/:/i-ki:/ opposition

is realized only in the singular adjective, and that here too it is

difficult to see what the basis of any opposition might be. A list of

representative examples of /at/, /at ?r/, /i-ki:/ and /i-ki: ?r/ is

given below, in their function as singular adjectives, so that they can

easily be compared.


All they got to do is steer that little wheel a bit.

Youd put in dynamite to blast that stone off.

Usd go in that pub and have a pint of beer.

/at ?r/

I used to walk that there two mile and half.

Good as gold, that there thing was.


All of us be in thicky boat, you see.

Thicky dog, he said, been there all day?

Stairs went up there, like, thicky side, thicky end of the wall.

Thicky place would be black with people . . .

I travelled thicky old road four year . . .

Whats thicky little place called, before you get up Yelverton?

Thicky field, theyd break it, they called it.

He was going to put me and Jan up thicky night.

Never been through thicky road since.

/i-ki: ?r/

Jim Connell carted home thicky there jar of cyder same as he carted

it up.

We got in thicky there field . . .

The morphological status of /i:z/ and /is/ as singulars, and of

/ejz/ and /i:z/ as plurals has already been discussed. Syntactically,

their use seems to correspond to Standard English closely, except in one

important respect: the first compound forms are used in a way similar to

a non-standard usage which is fairly widespread, in the sense of a or a


/i:z ji:r/

Hed got this here dog.

Youd put this here great crust on top.

The first compound is never used as an equivalent to Standard

English this, being reserved for uses of the type above, although there

is another form /i:z . . . ji:r/, which is occasionally used where

Standard English would show this, eg Between here and this village here


In the plural, an exactly parallel syntactic division occurs between

/ejz/ (cf Standard English these) and /ejz ji:r/.

These here maidens that was here . . .

I used to put them in front of these here sheds.

They got these here hay-turners . . .

In all the above examples, the first compounds, both singular and

plural, refer to items which have not been mentioned before, and which are

not adjacent to the speaker; they are thus referentially distinct from the

normal use of Standard English this.

Although we can fairly say that /i:z/ and /ejz/ are syntactically

distinct from their equivalent first compounds, what of the other adjective

compounds /at ?r/, /i-ki: ?r/ and /ej ?r/? There seems to be no

syntactic division in these cases between them and their equivalent simple

forms, so it is perhaps not surprising that Table 2 shows them to be

without exception much less common than /i:z ji:r/ and /ejz ji:r/, which

have a distinct syntactic role. Forms such as

Us got in thicky there field


Good as gold, that there thing was.

do not seem any different from

Us mowed thicky little plat . . .


He turned that hare three times . . .

There is certainly no apparent correlation with any notional degree of


In the case of the singular pronouns, the first compounds are

extremely rare, cf.

He done well with that there. (/at ?r/)

He went out broad, this here whats dead now. (/i:z ji:r/).

The basic opposition here is between the simple forms and the second

compounds /is ji:r ji:r/ and /at ?r ?r/. Here the syntactic division

is fairly clear: the second compounds are used in certain adverbial

phrases, particularly after like, where the demonstrative refers to no

specific antecedent:

Tis getting like this here here.

Ive had to walk home after that there there.

and also, with reference to a specific antecedent, when particular emphasis

is drawn to the item in question.

Ive had the wireless there, this here here, for good many years.

One of these here crocks, something like that there there.

In all other cases, the simple forms are used.

This was coming this way.

Then he did meet with this.

Thats one bad job, that was.

/at/ is used particularly frequently in two phrases, likes of that

and and that.

He doed a bit of farmering and likes of that.

I got a jumper and that home now.

The last question is one of the most interesting. Is there really only

one form /ej/ functioning as a plural pronoun? At first sight, this would

: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8