[DWJ] offtopic dialect question

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Feb 26 14:53:52 EST 2006

Gili asked:

>As in the past, I humbly ask the opinion of the people here gathered in a
>question relevant to a particular translation:
>When reading a description of a "girl in pigtails", what do you imagine?
>Plaits/braids, or unbraided bunches (ponytails)? And what part of the
>English-speaking world are you from?

Pigtails are generally associated in my mind with small girls who are
growing their hair out after having had it short when they were very small,
and have to have it in a tidy style for school.

To me pigtails involve shoulder-length or thereabouts hair plaited tightly
from slightly above and behind the ears so that the plaits stick out a bit.
As opposed to "plaits", which are longer hair more loosely plaited and
falling downwards from somewhere around the ears, sometimes even over them,
and "bunches", which are unplaited hair fastened with a rubber band (or
some humane equivalent) close to the head somewhere near the ears.  I'd say
one can only have one pony-tail, and that's a single bunch at the back.

I'm from all over the UK from Devon to Northumberland via Brighton and
York, Bristol and North Wales, and I think what I've put above has been
standard in all these places.


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