Alright me babber? Have you heard that hotel chain Travelodge has produced a guide to the West Country accent? The Gloucestershire Echo has.

The Echo article has a brief list of common phrases – presumably from Travelodge’s publication – to help visitors get by in the West:

  • Alright me Babber: How are you?
  • Oldies: Holiday
  • Fotawl: Photograph
  • Pown: Pound (Money)
  • Safternun: This afternoon
  • Laters: See you later
  • My luvver: A term of endearment
  • Tiswas: Confused
  • Gurt lush: Really good
  • Babba: Baby

Adge Cutler

Adge Cutler – an archetypal West Country man

The West Country accent is the third most popular in the country, according to research, behind the Geordie and Yorkshire accents (don’t tell my Lancastrian brother-in-law! Ed.).

One noticeable omission from the glossary above is ‘daps‘, Bristolian dialect for those shoes used for PE in schools, otherwise known as plimsolls or pumps. Bristolians also use the term to describe trainers.

The research also found that people who speak in West Country accents are less likely to be able to understand the accents of other people from elsewhere in Britain than they could understand Spanish or Italian. Curious (Blige! As one would say in Bristol. Ed.).

My copy of the Oxford Companion to the English Language, published 20 years ago, says the following about West Country accents:

The range of accents in the West Country extends from broad in the working-class and in rural areas through accents modified towards RP in the town and the lower middle class to RP proper in the middle and upper classes. Local speech is rhotic, with a retroflex /r/ in such words as rap, trip and r-coloured vowels in words such as car/cart. Postvocalic /r/ is widely retained in such cities as Bristol and Exeter, despite the influence of RP, which is non-rhotic. In other cities, such as Plymouth and Bournemouth, rhoticity varies. Traces of variable r-pronunciation are found as close to London as Reading and Berkshire.

The entry then goes on to deal extensively with local grammar, vocabulary and the literary West Country.

Hat tip: Yelena McCafferty.