A Dictionary Of The Sussex Dialect - online book

A Collection Of Provincialisms In Use In The County Of Sussex.

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The Sussex Dialect.
6
and names of villages and farms (noticed in the Appendix) are derived. Nor must I forget to remark that when the Sussex peasant speaks of the sun as she, he uses an expression which clearly asserts his German origin.
As might be expected, many words are due to our proximity to the coast. The Sussex fishermen, in their constant intercourse with their Dutch and French brethren, although finding much difficulty in parleying to their satisfaction, have nevertheless for many generations adapted and introduced so many foreign words into common use among themselves, that their vocabulary is almost worthy of being called a fourth branch of the dialect.
Other circumstances, too, have tended to the increase of the French influence. Between 1562 and 1572 no less than 1,400 refugees from France settled themselves in Sussex, and many of their names may be still traced among our labouring people in the eastern division of the county. Besides this, the establish­ments of French prisoners in later times, and the custom which still prevails, though not so much as it did, of shopkeepers and townsfolk exchanging children with French families in order that each might learn enough of the other's language to be useful in after life, has kept the French element alive amongst us, and accounts for the existence of many words which are not so much derived from as positive corruptions of modern French.
But besides those words in the Sussex dialect which are really valuable as having been derived from authentic sources, there are a great many which are very puzzling to the etymologist, from the fact of their having been either actually invented without any reference to the laws of language, or adapted and corrupted from other words. A Sussex man has a great facility for inventing words. If he has any difficulty in expressing himself, he has no hesitation about forming a word for the occasion. This he does on the phonetic principle (if it can be said to be done on any principle at all), and as he prefers a long word, the result of his invention is generally very
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