plant names and other oddities

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 15 01:50:55 UTC 2010

Part I.

I came across one of the British dialectal "glossaries" from the third
quartile of the 19th century. In the beginning, it has a list of plant
names, some of which I found interesting. I added the list of
common/modern names (although some common names are same as given)

Asparagus officinalis == Sparragrass [garden asparagus]
Betula alba == Birk tree, Burk tree [white birch]
Briza media == Dadder grass, Dotherin grass, Dodderin Nancy, Dodderin
Dicky [quacking-grass, cow-quake, rattlesnake-grass, jockey grass]
Galium aparine == Goose grass, Cleavers, Clavver grass, Rob rub up dyke,
Robin run the dyke, Sticky back, Soldiers' buttons [stickywilly,
coachweed, catchweed]
Geranium Robertianum == Bloodwort, Death come quickly, Stinkin Bobby
[Herb Robert, Red Robin, Robert Geranium]
Lychnis diurna [Silene dioica] == Lousy beds [pink campion]
Narcissus, Pseudo-Narcissus == Daffy, Daffy-down-dilly [Daffodil--recent
Nasturtium officinale == Water crashes [water-cress]
Oxalis ascetosella == Cuckoo cheese and bread [common wood sorrel]
Polygonum Hydropiper ==  Arse-smart, Bity tongue [marshpepper knotweed]
Salicornia herbacea == Pickle plant [marsh samphire, jointed glasswort]
[Slender glasswort, samphire--originally from China/Korea]
Salix pentandra == Sweet willy [bay willow, laurel willow]

Part II.

An entirely different list from a similar collection. This one is
Skeat's Nine Specimens of English Dialects (1896). At the end, there is
a collection of Yorkshire proverbs. I thought a few a worth a look. The
list was taken from Francis Brokesby's pieve on the Yorkshire dialect.
[parenthetical comments in the original; there are 94 entries in all]

Hee'll never dow (/i.e. be good/), Egg nor bird.
As flat as a flaun (/i.e. a Custard/).
As dead as a Deaur-Naile.
A Careless hussie macks monny Thieves.
Better heve a Mouse in the Pot as neay Flesh.
As nimble as a Cat on a haite Back-stane.
A mile and a wea bit.
Love me and love my Dogg.
Feauls mack Feasts and Wisemen eat them.
Geay flay the Geese.
He is not the Feaul that the Feaul is, but that with the Feaul deals.
He mun heve a lang-Shafted speaun that sups kail with the Devil.
As angry as he had p--ed on a Nettle.
You seek breech[e]s on bare-ars'd man.

Feel free to quibble with my selection--it was not meant to be inspired.
I just thought I'd share a find.


The American Dialect Society -

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