[DWJ] Brigstow/Bristol (was Big Bad Read)

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Jun 25 09:03:47 EDT 2006

>Otter Perry <ottertee at silverwinggraphics.com> wrote:
>  I was quite taken aback by the news that there are accents in
>which an "l" is added [Bristol, for example, and wherever it is
>in Oz that Kyra did the thesis on].

According to some Bristolians, many of you lot come from Australial and
Americal, you know.  I am carefully saying "some" there because my splendid
builder Richard tells me that there's a considerable difference between
North Bristol and South Bristol accents, and that when his family moved
from one to the other when he was ten he had to learn the local language
quick for school so he wouldn't be teased for talking funny -- I don't know
how universal the terminal L is, on that basis.

Charlie wrote:
>  Interestingly (or perhaps not), the word 'Bristol' is itself an example
>of this. It comes from Bridge Stow (stow meaning 'place' - exciting huh?
>ObDWJ cf 'Stow on the Water'): hence, 'site of a bridge'. But as early as
>1200 it was being written with that extra 'l'. So it's a longstanding

I have a feeling that I saw at some time, on display in St Mary Redcliff
church, some document or other dating from the reign of Queen Elizabeth I
in which the name of the city is spelt Brigstow.

Maybe the terminal L depended on who was doing the writing.  Perhaps if it
was a proper local then he'd've put an L, and if it wasn't, not.  Or maybe
it was whether he was South or North Bristolian.

Bristol doesn't care, anyhow.  I swear that I did really hear a Bristolian
lady, speaking of a road jam-packed because of a burst water-main, say, "It
was chocolate block in the High Street."[1]  "Where's us to now then?" is
something I have also heard, said by a schoolgirl on a bus in a fog.  It
isn't just an accent, there are times it's a whole 'nother language.


[1] "i' uz chockl'utblaak in th'igh stree" is closer to what she really
said, but I'm interpreting for the non-local.  Just swallow most of your
consonants, run words together where possible  and miss off most of the
endings of things except when you add the L, and you're getting the hang of
it, as far as I can tell.

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