Dorset dialect

The Dorset dialect is the dialect spoken in Dorset, a county in the West Country of England. Although it fell somewhat into disuse throughout the earlier part of the 20th century there are still many native Dorset folk that can render it well.

The Dorset dialect stems from the ancient Norse and Saxon languages and was preserved in the isolated Blackmore Vale until the arrival of the railways when the customs and language of London arrived.[1] The rural dialect is still spoken in some villages and is kept alive in the poems of William Barnes and Robert Young.[1][2][3]

Accent, pronunciation and grammar

Dorset is a medium-sized county in the South West of England and has a distinct accent and dialect.

Some of the distinct features of the accent are:

Glottalisation: The use of a glottal stop to indicate a "t" in a word, commonly used if the 't' is in the last syllable of a multi-syllable word: a prominent feature in the accent.

Rhoticity: The accent is rhotic, meaning the letter 'r' in words is pronounced. For example, "hard" is pronounced "hahrd" as opposed to "hahd".

Vowels: Vowels are commonly pronounced more and pronounced for longer. The 'a' for example, is pronounced "aa" rather than "ah". This gives the accent a very soothing sound; however the slower pace of speech is sometimes regarded as a sign that speakers of the accent are "simple", which is simply not true.

H-dropping: The letter 'h' is dropped from words, so " hello" becomes "ello".

'S' and 'F': The letters 's' and 'f', if the first or last letter of a word are pronounced as "z" and "v" respectively.

Words and phrases

Dorset is home to some quirky words and phrases. Unfortunately, some are lost in time, but there are many words and phrases that have survived and are still freely used. Here is a list of all the words and phrases that are known:


See also


  1. 1 2 "Dorset Dialect of William Barnes". Dorset Echo. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  2. "The voice of Dorset". BBC Local - Hampshire. January 2005. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  3. Hilliam, David (2010). The Little Book of Dorset. Stroud, Glos.: The History Press. ISBN 978-0-7524-5704-8, p. 33
  4. Nick Fenney (2008-10-09). "Dorset Dialect". Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  5. "Glossary". Dorsetshire. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
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