London Dialect for the “Curous Scholard”


A painting of Northumberland House in London, painted by Canaletto in 1752.

Snippets 59.  In 1814 Anecdotes of the English Language was published, a revised and expanded edition of the 1803 original.  Written by Samuel Pegge (1704-1796) but published posthumously, it was subtitled Chiefly Regarding the Local Dialect of London and its Environs.  Pegge went into great detail regarding the origins of words in use, with particular reference to foreign languages and their influence on English.  He also gave a handy list of word pronunciations or variations in London in comparison with the “normal” English language, which makes for interesting reading.  Some words that used to be considered London dialect have now become the standard pronunciation (e.g. “humorous”) while the word listed as the standard (e.g. “humoursome”) by Pegge has now fallen out of use.  In other cases, the London dialect given is rarely or never used nowadays.  The quote given is abridged from a much larger list.

The pronunciation and use of some few words, it must be confessed, are a little deformed by the natives of London, of which I candidly give you the following catalogue; but, as they are words of inheritance, and handed down from ear to ear without intermediate assistance, they may admit of much vindication.

Vulgularity for vulgarity.
Necessuated for necessitated.
Curosity for curiosity.
Curous for curious.
On the other hand, they say stupendious for stupendous.
Unpossible for impossible.
Aggravate for irritate.
Attackted for attacked.
Bacheldor for bachelor.
Argufy for signify.
Common-garden for Covent-garden.
Daater for daughter.
Chimley for chimney.
Perdigious for prodigious.
Duberous for dubious.
Musicianer for musician.
Squits for quit.
Scrowdge for crowd (the verb).
Squeedge for squeeze.
Anger (a verb), to make angry.
Vemon for venom.
Palaretick for paralytick.
Sitti-ation for situation.
Towards for toward.
Scholard for scholar.
Commonality for commonalty.
Drownded for drowned.
Despisable for despicable.
Disgruntled, offended.  A strange word, carrying with it an exaggeration of the term disconcerted.  It seems to be a metaphor taken from a hog; which I cannot account for, unless naturalists say hogs grunt from some pleasurable sensation.
Intosticated for intoxicated.
Taters for potatoes.
Luxurious for luxuriant.
Humorous for humoursome.
Sot for sat.

Note that “disgruntled” is listed as something unusual, whereas it is a common word today (likewise “anger” as a verb is quite normal now) … and anyone who is intoxicated may well still say “intosticated”, but that wouldn’t have much to do with dialect.

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About Roger Pocock

Co-writer on Author of Editor of
This entry was posted in 18th Century, 19th Century, Books, Britain, England, History, Language, London, Snippets and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to London Dialect for the “Curous Scholard”

  1. Midwestern Plant Girl says:

    Loved this post!
    The new thing that is driving me crazy is the substitution of a ‘T’ instead of ‘ED’.
    Stuft instead of stuffed
    Learnt instead of learned
    I guess things never stay the same. ..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: London language in 19th century novels – The Sea of Books

  3. Pingback: London Dialect for the “Curous Scholard” | Historeo

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