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Malhamdale Accent & Dialect

The advent of TV and Radio and the greater mobility of the population during the 20th Century has led to the slow erosion of the use of local dialect terms and to the watering down of local accents.

Some knowledge of the local dialect can be very useful for historians, for example the names of tools, animals and all matter of other things that you may come across in your research can be very localised, both in terms of names and spellings and in many areas these variations can be seen at distances of only tens of miles.

Understanding how words are pronounced in the local dialect can be useful too, for instance in providing clues to possible spelling variations to look out for when searching in various records.

Books and glossaries can be of great assistance, but doesn't compare to actually listening to the local accent and dialect. However you don't need to travel to Malhamdale and seek out one of it's senior citizens, as The British Library has thoughtfully provided some online examples of the local Craven dialect for us to to listen to on their Archival Sound Recordings External Website logo website.

It features three recordings made in 1974 around the Craven area, which are taken from the Survey of English Dialects, a groundbreaking nationwide survey of the vernacular speech of England, undertaken by researchers at the University of Leeds. The links below will open a new window with the relevant British library page containing the sound files, when you have listened to it, close the window to return to this page.

Tom Bradley External Website logo of Gargrave, was a carter and recalls working for his father with the horses on the locks of the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

Oswald Jaques External Website logo a Grassington farmer talks about his experiences of calving. He mentions problems with premature births and traditional remedies adopted to prevent it.

Dick Davies External Website logo of Horton-in-Ribblesdale was born in 1888 and describes the life of a sheep farmer in the early years of the 20th century and explains the various names used locally for different ages of sheep.

Each recording has a file with it showing the Lexis (vocabulary), phonology (sound) and grammar (usage)

Your computer will require software that plays Windows .WMA files, Mac users may need to download Flip4Mac External Website logo from Microsoft, a plugin for the Quicktime player.

The Internet Archive External Website logo provides a vast library of books, audio and film and amongst their collection is this very useful 2 volume work on The Dialect of Craven written by William Carr and published in 1828, updating his earlier one volume work with a large glossary. If you don't have a Broadband connection you may find the books too slow to search and read online, but you can download a copy in various formats such as PDF, Kindle or Text to consult on your own machine from the links.

Volume 1 : Glossary A-M                           Volume 2 Glossary : N-Z

Download a copy of Vol.1 for local use. External Website logo

Download a copy of Vol.2 for local use. External Website logo

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