Saturday, 19 February 2011

Divided By a Common Language

I was watching Hugh Laurie be interviewed for American TV and it reminded me that although we speak the same language, sometimes we just don't understand each other.  He had to explain what a Pantomime was but I've had far more interesting conversations...

I think I first noticed that words varied from area to area when I realised that no-one outside of Nottingham (where I grew up) understood what a cob was except in relation to swans!  (It's a bread roll by the way).

When I met my husband, who is from Bradford, it really highlighted the difference.  The first time he asked for a teacake with his chips I couldn't understand why he would want a fruited bread roll with his dinner!!  Apparently where he lives this is a very localised term for a bread roll!  Where I live now, it's a barm!  But he still forgets and every so often gets funny looks in chippies!

Then there's the term for that little pathway in between houses on council estates.  Jitty, ginnel, twitchel, alley way, snicket?  What's your local term.  Because I have now lived in the Midlands, Yorkshire and North Wales I have to go through all these terms if I need to mention it in a sentence as I can never remember which one is used by which region!

Then of course while I was brought up with trousers, my OH wears pants.  And if the kids are being chased out of the kitchen by his mum, they aren't told to get out of the kitchen, they are told to go in the house which I really don't understand.

Add into the mix a daughter with Aspergers who likes things to be precise and gets very upset if you "say it wrong" life can be very interesting...


  1. Here, the alleyway would be called a closey. Pronounced clohsay lol.

  2. well I knew what a cob was! Don't use it but I must've heard it used around these parts! and talking of having one with chips, is it a chip butty, batch or bap?!

  3. And you fixed the name/url bit too! Thank you!

    Down here in south Wales a cob is a crusty roll and a bap is a soft one. It would be an alley between the houses. Pants are blokes' knickers, trousers are the outergarments. And you're right; go into the house!

    Words are weird!


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