[DWJ] Brigstow/Bristol

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sun Jun 25 13:36:45 EDT 2006

>minnow at belfry.org.uk wrote:
>> "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.

Charlie responded:

>  That one confused me when I first moved to Bristol. For a long time I
>assumed it translated as 'Where are we going?', whereas (as you'll know)
>it actually means just 'Where are we?' I'd be interested to hear from
>anyone knowledgeable about such linguistic matters what the 'to' is doing

I think it's an extension of the expressions "where's it to?" and "where's
that to?" meaning "where is it?" or "where's that?" of an object or a
place.  In spite of being very lazy about names (Andy from Hull became
"And" when he started to play jazz in Bristol, and on one occasion "A";
Charles became "Char") and frequently missing out *bits* of words,
Bristolians also add syllables to words (as in "chocolate block" for
chockablock) and words to phrases.

If it were not for "where's that to?" existing, it would be plausible for
"where's us to then?" to have something to do with Roger's
>I suspect it's related to "where have we got to".
but I think that is altogether too simple and straightforward and
*sensible* to be an explanation for a Bristolian phrase.

There is nothing *wrong* with playing about with the language, and it helps
to keep furriners at bay if they don't understand the patois.


Minnow (only been in Bristol 30 years and not a local at all, though my
children might be in fifty years or so)

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