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REV. H. J. TODD, M. A., F.S. A. & M. R. S. L.
CHAPLAIN TO HIS MAJESTY,
And Rector of Settrington, County of York.
Though a humble gleaner in the field of Philology, in which you have exerted yourself with so much energy and success, I feel anxious to dedicate the Craven Dialect to you, who having been long engaged in similar pursuits, are so fully competent to appreciate its merits, if it possesses any, and, I trust, candid enough to criticise with forbearance its numerous defects.
Gratified by your approval of the first, I have only to hope that I may not lose your good opinion in the second edition of this work.
Your respectful and obliged Servant,
March 31, 1828.
TO THE SECOND EDITION.
The Deanery of Craven, the Dialect of which I have attempted to explain, is situated in the Northern part of the West-Riding of the County of York. Its length from North to South is upwards of 30 miles; and its breadth is nearly of the same extent. There are twenty-five parishes in the Deanery, containing, according to the last census, 61,859 inhabitants. It embraces a small portion of the wapentakes of Skyrack, Claro, and Ewcross, and the whole of the wapentake of Staincliffe. The name of this wapentake seems to be a mere translation of the compound Welsh words, craigvan, the district of rock, from which the Deanery of Craven evidently takes its name.
Though the Dialect of the whole of this district be somewhat similar, there are still shades of difference in its pronunciation; and many expressions and archaisms may be retained in one parish, which are unknown or nearly obsolete in another. In the Southern boundaries of this Deanery, the language partakes a little of the Dialect of Leeds, Bradford, and Halifax. Thus the true Craven pronunciation
of co-al, becomes coil, fo-al, foil. On the Western boundaries, the language is strongly impregnated with the Lancashire Dialect. The Craven Dialect, I think, is spoken in its greatest purity on the banks of the Wharf, in the parish of Skipton, to Langstroth or Strother, the language of which is so well, though briefly, described by Chaucer; and on the course of the Are, from the parish of Skipton to the Northern boundary of the parish of Kirkby Malhamdale. At the distance of five or six miles from the Eastern boundary of the parish of Skipton, the pronunciation is entirely changed. Thus house, is pronounced hoose; and mouse, moose; cow, coo; as in the North and East Ridings of Yorkshire. I have attempted to make the second edition of the Craven Glossary more worthy of the reader's attention, by a large addition of words, and by numerous authorities, collected from ancient writers. Though this has been the most laborious part of my work, it has, at the same time, been the source of the greatest pleasure; for whenever I found a Craven word thus sanctioned by antiquity, I was more and more convinced, that my native language is not the contemptible slang and patois, which the refined inhabitants of the Southern part of the kingdom are apt to account it; but that it is the language of crowned heads, of the court, and of the most eminent English historians, divines, and poets, of former ages. I have not confined myself to English authors, but have frequently had recourse to various Scottish
writers, and to the copious and learned Etymological Dictionary and Supplement of Dr. Jamieson, in which many English words are still retained, though now nearly obsolete, except in the Northern counties. When I have not met with authorities to explain a Craven word, I have frequently introduced a familiar phrase, to give the sense of it. I have cautiously avoided the admission into the Glossary of any word which I or my friends have not heard used in the Deanery. If a classical word has occasionally been admitted, it is either become nearly obsolete, or it retains a dialectical meaning differing from its common acceptation.
Before I procured the authorities, I attempted to give the true pronunciation of the words by an appropriate combination of letters; but, I must candidly confess, that I occasionally found no little difficulty in giving the true sound.
Notwithstanding the richness of the Craven Dialect, abounding in varied, strong, and metaphorical expressions, I fear that the shrill tone of voice, though a little modulated by modern refinement, is still not perfectly melodious to the Southern ear, and that it is not yet entirely free from the censure of Trevisa, given in his translation of Higden's Polychronicon, in 1387.
"All the langage of the Northumbers and specialliche at York, is so sharpe, slitting and frotynge and unschape, that we Southern men may that langage unnethe understonde. I trow that it is bycause that