Meg posted some thoughts earlier on regional dialect. This set me thinking about the Sussex dialect. I posted this in her BlogVoices:
I’ve lived in Sussex all my life. My father’s family moved to the county around 1925 (from Windsor) and my mother’s family in 1941 (from Croydon, but we don’t talk about that).
There isn’t really a proper Sussex accent now (too diluted by northern immigrants who come here for the sun, sand and sea – oh, and the Downs – northern being a relative term of course), but there used to be, and just occasionally you meet someone who still speaks with it. Give me a few drinks, and I’ll do a reasonable impression of a proper Sussex accent. It’s a soft, slightly sing-songy sort of accent, typical of many rural parts of England, and bit like a softer version of the Hog (which, in case you don’t know, is the accent particular to rural Hampshire).
But the main thing about “proper” Sussex people is that they use local words. “I just saw Meriel wandering off down the twitten past the withy towards the rife” would make perfect sense to a Sussex person. Sadly a lot of these words are dying out now – there was a book of them published a few years ago, but I’ve not seen it for a long time. Wish I could get a copy, and write in proper Sussex dialect at Grayblog.
And now I think I’ve found the book which is published by these people. I’m not sure if this is a reprint, as I originally saw a book along these lines years ago, but I think it may be the one. And it is now on my Amazon wishlist, with just twelve days to go before my birthday!