Regional vocabulary

In the work you’ve done so far on ways to identify word classes, you have seen that many words can be identified by form, function and distribution.

In this activity, we’ll look at how you might use these ideas to identify some words which appear in regional varieties of English. You’ll see examples of regional dialect terms in the context which they were used, and your task will be to work out what grammatical role the word is performing.

Regional words (not in context)

  • mithered
  • cobs
  • mardy
  • snickleway

Questions:

  1. Identify the word class of each of the above. How can you tell?
  2. Explain what you think the word might mean, based on the elements that it is made up of, and that you have come across before.

Regional words (in context)

  • She just mithered and mithered and wouldn’t stop.
  • I’ll have two of those cobs, please.
  • She was acting really mardy.
  • We went down the snickleway to get away from the crowds.

Questions:

  1. Identify the word class of each of the above. How can you tell?
  2. Explain what you think the word might mean, based on its context.

Extension tasks

    1. Can you think of four more dialect terms that you have come across in your local area?
    2. Dialect consists of more than just words as it usually covers meanings and grammar too (and some linguists also use it as an umbrella term to include accent). Can you think of any ways in which grammar is used differently in your own regional variety of English, or varieties that you have come across?

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