Thursday, 21 July 2011

Express Yourself! Or why it maybe isn't hotter than a witch's t*t!

Social networking is an education in itself.

One of my Facebook friends who I went to school with in Yorkshire, England has emigrated to the USA where, tonight, he was finding the weather hotter than usual.

'Man, it's hotter than a witch's tit!' he averred.

Only to be advised by one of his own American buddies that this particular part of the said sorceress' anatomy was supposed to refer to extreme cold, not hot temperatures! It was worth it, just to have the amount of laughter and fun it gave us!

It got me pondering through the tears of mirth, the delicious shades of difference between the English language as spoken in different parts of the UK and of course, the fact that US English and UK English are often several layers of translation apart!

The other day another friend, more local to me in Yorkshire and feeling peckish, put as her status:

"I'm that starving I could eat Gandhi's flip-flop!"

Even as a Yorkshirewoman born and bred that was a new one on me! The pictures these sayings conjour up bring a dose of hilarity to carry us through the day!

I tend to be notorious for making my proverbs up as I go along. When I joined Twitter last year for the first time, I blythly proclaimed myself to be "tweeting like a goldfinch in a windsock" which, I fear is indefensible on all grounds. I didn't twitter or tweet for that long or that often back then, nor have any of the goldfinches I've seen ever ventured near a windsock. But people knew what I meant. At least, I did!

Yorkshire is a county rich with crazy proverbial expressions, as was the Erewash Valley of Derbyshire in Ilkeston where my paternal gran lived till she came to Yorkshire as a teenager.

I grew up with a proper mish-mash of such expressions ringing in my ears, from my Dad's broad south Yorkshire and Derbyshire roots mixed with my Mum's odd Sheffieldisms from her parents who came from there before moving to the little mining valley in the triangle of villages between Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham where I was born.

My maternal grandparents bequeathed me daft words like "swilkering" for any liquid's swilled circular motion in a shallow dish, "lading and teeming" for tranferring liquid from one receptacle to another, and "mimimoking" for that way of overpronouncing words sotto voce to communicate delicate matters or when just out of earshot. Then we had "making a pippishow of yourself" to indicate you'd made a unnecessary fuss in a public place, drawing attention to yourself or your mortified parent!

My Grans' Ilkeston (Ilson, to locals!) expressions from Derbyshire warrant a blogpost on their own so I'll leave it there before the Tower of Babel's reconstructed brick by barmy brick!

Remember though, the Yorkshire advice:

'See all, 'ear all, say nowt.
Eat all, sup all, pay nowt. 
An' if th'ivver does owt for nowt,
allus do it for thissen.'

Never followed it myself, really. But I do still enjoy a spot of 'mimimoking' and a bit of a 'pippishow'! Don't we all?

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