A Dictionary Of The Sussex Dialect - online book

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

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6
The Sussex Dialect.
curious indeed; and whether or not the word serves the purpose for which it was intended, it is sure to be caught up by some one else, and, especially if it is a long one, is very soon incorpo­rated among the words available for general use in the village.
There are also many words which are used to convey meanings totally different to their original intention. These may be called words of substitution. They are introduced in this way,—a person hears a word which he does not quite understand; he does not take the trouble to ascertain either the meaning or pronunciation of it, but he uses a word something like it. This is specially the case with the names of complaints, such as will be found incidentally mentioned in some of the illustrations which I have given of the use of Sussex words, as, for instance, brown-crisis for bronchitis, and rebellious for bilious, &c. The names of any but the most common trees and shrubs are also strangely perverted. A friend of mine had a gardener who persisted in calling an acacia the Circassian, and after much pains had been taken to point out the mistake, never got nearer than calling it the cash-tree. I have heard chrysanthemums called Christy anthems, and China asters Chaney oysters; but that was by the same man who also once enquired how I made out with "them Scotch-Chaney fowls" of mine.
It is also surprising how little trouble people will take to ascertain correctly even the names of their neighbours, and I know an instance of a man who lost sight of his own name altogether, from having been accustomed for many years to hear it mispronounced. But this in a great measure is to be attributed to the fact that a musical ear is very rarely found among Sussex people, a defect which is remarkably shown not only in the monotonous tunes to which their old songs are sung, but also in the songs themselves, which are almost entirely devoid of rhythm.
The Sussex pronunciation is, generally speaking, broad and rather drawling. It is difficult to say why certain long words are
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