1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Words, usage and lost meaning

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Catriona, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    In the word association thread, I used the word polis.

    This led my brain on to policy and policies. Not the modern usage of the word, but one I remembered from my childhood.

    For me, the word was used to refer to the area of land, buildings, farms, cottages etc owned by the Laird or which surrounded a great House in the community. A stomping ground for us adventurous kids, and where, in season, we found lovely fruit to collect for our mother to make into preserves - or for us to eat (we were always hungry).

    I still associate Policies with an area of land - which at least was a constant, unlike many modern policies thought up by our Government.

    Do you have words which had a very different meaning in your childhood or geographical area, and which mean nothing to anyone else now, other than modern meanings?
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I think it is quite rare now. When I was young I remember radio programs describing the then concerted effort to record people speaking dialect before they and it died out in daily use. This would been the middle to late 1960's so they would be recording people born in the 1880-1890s who had lived in villages all of their lives recalling their childhood memories. A basic conversation could be incomprehensible to an outsider.
    Catriona likes this.
  3. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    That was true of Devon when I moved here in 1971. My wife would happily drop back into her local dialect when talking to friends, leaving me wondering if they were talking about me in front of my face. I was put right by a friendly neighbour: "of course they are"! :(
    Learning likes this.
  4. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Another one - old, but still in use is Aschet - or Ashet.

    Can you guess what it is? Derived from the French language.
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Purchase I should think.
    Catriona likes this.
  6. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Think assiette?

    We use it as a large serving dish or platter for the large meat joint.
  7. WillieJ

    WillieJ Well-Known Member

    No need for me to guess, my mother used it all the time. I also know the derivation - probably was told that in French class at school.
    It has aways benn my assumption that "Bevy" (Scottish usage) is derived from "Vous Buvez?"
    Re the older usage of policies - in one of the discworld novels Carrot tells Angua that "Policeman" means man of the city.
    Catriona likes this.
  8. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I always thought it was good to have one word for a large serving plate. I used to have several until I moved. Gave most of them away.
    Yes, I love that derivation of policeman. Of course, they use polis in some places in Scotland. :)
  9. WillieJ

    WillieJ Well-Known Member

    The polis have always been the "Polis" to me - well except for that one time I got a speeding ticket.................
    Catriona likes this.
  10. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    In my old neck of the woods, a culvert under a road was a wellum.
    Catriona likes this.
  11. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Gosh, I can't even guess at the derivation of that word. Obviously well, water, but that doesn't really satisfy. Hmm. Do you know why?
  12. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I found this:

    but it's only a mention of the word, not the derivation of it.

    Harry Price confused matters by saying that there was a number of wells. This is because the local dialect word for a Storm-water culvert was a 'wellum'. When he interrogated local people about the tunnels and wells there was a great deal of misunderstanding due to language-differences
  13. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member

    In my mid-teens, the family went to stay with Mum's London friend. Friend asked me something several times. Aged P's translated it as "Do you want a piece of pie?"

    Mid-twenties, Cornish girlfriend took me home and to visit her farmer uncle. "Wurble, wurble wurble." " Pardon?" Jan translates. I reply "Oh, Gradely thanks."
    "Wurble wurble? [What did he say]?"
    Jan translates into Cornish.
    God, that was a long afternoon.


    edit: well, he was trying to understand seriously Deep Lancashire.
    Catriona likes this.
  14. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I can't play any of these on my mac - the web-site says I need to install an up-to-date browser or update flash-player. I have the latest version of Safari and flash-player is, as far as I know, deprecated on Windows as a security risk. So it could be that the BL web-site is out of date.

    Catriona likes this.
  15. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I found this:
    well (n.)

    "hole dug for water, spring of water," Old English wielle (West Saxon), welle (Anglian) "spring of water, fountain," from wiellan (see well (v.)). "As soon as a spring begins to be utilized as a source of water-supply it is more or less thoroughly transformed into a well" [Century Dictionary]. Figurative sense of "source from which anything is drawn" was in Old English.

    well (v.)

    "to spring, rise, gush," Old English wiellan (Anglian w├Žllan), causative of weallan "to boil, bubble up, rise (in reference to a river)" (class VII strong verb; past tense weoll, past participle weallen), from Proto-Germanic *wellanan "to roll" (source also of Old Saxon wallan, Old Norse vella, Old Frisian walla, Old High German wallan, German wallen, Gothic wulan "to bubble, boil"), from PIE root *wel- (3) "to turn, revolve," on notion of "roiling or bubbling water."

    So it could be that wellum came down from old German wallen, to bubble, boil.

  16. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    When I was staying in Aberdeen when hubby was having his lung removed, the place I stayed had a woman from Shetland.
    I truly couldn't understand one word of what she said the whole time I was there. I had to have another Shetlander translate for me. I was very embarrassed!
  17. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately I have no idea of derivation - though I have a reference to it in some 1860s documentation. No surprise you should find a reference from Borle - it's less than 20 miles from where I grew up.
    Catriona likes this.
  18. gray1720

    gray1720 Well-Known Member

    If you ever visit Orkney, go to Barony Mills at Birsay, where you will encounter Brian. Brian is quite hard to understand at first because he speaks in full-on Orcadian but, by the time you've left, you'll have had plenty of opportunity to listen to him and get your head round it. If he were Irish, he'd have swallowed the Blarney Stone!
    Catriona likes this.
  19. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    I have been to Orkney many years ago. We stayed at Stromness and drove around in the lashing rain the whole time. We had to visit the shop opposite the pub/Inn to get waterproof gear (softy Londoners at the time). All I remember of out time there was being constantly teased and laughing the whole time. Also the wonderful duvets which I swear were about 1ft thick!
    We loved it and had we found a place to buy (we were looking) we would have ended up there instead of here on the Western Isles.
  20. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Catriona likes this.

Share This Page