The Free Dictionary  
mailing list For webmasters
Welcome Guest Forum Search | Active Topics | Members

mandy, vlankers Options
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 10:30:59 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 10/20/2015
Posts: 995
Neurons: 10,809
Hello all,

Will you help me again to understand the meanings of the two bold words, "mandy" and " vlankers" in the following text?

'I'll crack thy numskull for thee, you mandy chap!' said Mrs Nunsuch, as she helplessly danced round with him,her feet playing like drunsticks among the sparks. 'My ankles were all in a fever before, from walking through that prickly furze, and now you must make 'em worse with these vlankers!'

-chapter three, the custom of the country, The return of the Native, Thomas Hardy-

What should be shall be-The fellowship of the ring-
Posted: Sunday, March 5, 2017 3:26:46 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 13,979
Neurons: 43,003
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Hey there, Frosty, -

I have a feeling you didn't read my post about Thomas Hardy in one of your previous threads?

The reason people aren't rushing to give you answers is, as I said then, because we ourselves have little or no idea of the way various regions of England spoke back in the day of Thomas Hardy. Most of these dialects don't exist to-day. And none of us lives in the regions where they were spoken.

So, honestly,you have much more of a chance of finding out these answers than we have!! Look on Goodgle for things like "THomas Hardy Cheat Sheets". "How to understand Thomas Hardy", "Notes on Thomas Hardy", "Thomas Hardy vocabulary" etc.

Drago can help with Dialects of Northern England, I and others can help with dialects of London or Southern Counties. But I don't think we have any posters who are familiar with the language of the part of England Hardy writes about.

(I also advised, in that post, finding a book which will help you to speak to-day's English. Hardy defeated most of my Undergraduates: he's very, VERY difficult unless one is familiar with the way people spoke in those times and in that particular area.)
Posted: Monday, March 6, 2017 7:24:22 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 16,991
Neurons: 68,562
Looking them up in an 1873 dictionary of Somerset dialect (although this is from Dorset) gives

Mandy adj. and v. haughty, domineering Commandy

Flanker, Vlanker s. a spark of fire

Importantly, this is from before Hardy's time, so it is not influenced by anything he wrote.


I have to believe those are accurate, given the exact match.

Not what I would have guessed, though.
I would have guessed at Nancy boy (clearly falsely influenced by other question) and some sort of insect, given the near context. I haven't checked with the wider context.
Obviously you have read on now, but I thought the source might come in useful.

As to the problem modern English has with West Country dialect - comfort yourself with the knowledge that this is actually a different language. Whistle

Until the 19th century, the West Country and its dialects were largely protected from outside influences, due to its relative geographical isolation. While standard English derives from the Old English Mercian dialects, the West Country dialects derive from the West Saxon dialect, which formed the earliest English language standard. Thomas Spencer Baynes claimed in 1856 that, due to its position at the heart of the Kingdom of Wessex, the relics of Anglo-Saxon accent, idiom and vocabulary were best preserved in the Somerset dialect.[5]

The dialects have their origins in the expansion of Anglo-Saxon into the west of modern-day England, where the kingdom of Wessex (West-Saxons) had been founded in the 6th century. As the Kings of Wessex became more powerful they enlarged their kingdom westwards and north-westwards by taking territory from the British kingdoms in those districts. From Wessex, the Anglo-Saxons spread into the Celtic regions of present-day Devon, Somerset and Gloucestershire, bringing their language with them. At a later period Cornwall came under Wessex influence, which appears to become more extensive after the time of Athelstan in the 10th century. However the spread of the English language took much longer here than elsewhere.

Outside Cornwall, it is believed that the various local dialects reflect the territories of various West Saxon tribes, who had their own dialects[7] which fused together into a national language in the later Anglo-Saxon period.[8]

As Lt-Col. J. A. Garton observed in 1971,[9] traditional Somerset English has a venerable and respectable origin, and is not a mere "debasement" of Standard English:

The dialect is not, as some people suppose, English spoken in a slovenly and ignorant way. It is the remains of a language—the court language of King Alfred. Many words, thought to be wrongly pronounced by the countryman, are actually correct, and it is the accepted pronunciation which is wrong. English pronounces W-A-R-M worm, and W-O-R-M wyrm; in the dialect W-A-R-M is pronounced as it is spelt, Anglo-Saxon W-E-A-R-M. The Anglo-Saxon for worm is W-Y-R-M. Polite English pronounces W-A-S-P wosp; the Anglo-Saxon word is W-O-P-S and a Somerset man still says WOPSE.

The verb To Be is used in the old form, I be, Thee bist, He be, We be, Thee 'rt, They be. 'Had I known I wouldn't have gone', is 'If I'd a-know'd I 'ooden never a-went'; 'A' is the old way of denoting the past participle, and went is from the verb to wend (Anglo-Saxon wendan).

[The modern verb 'to go is a mashup of two verbs - to go and to wend. In the same way as 'to be' is a mashup of 'beon' and 'wasan'. So although now 'had went' and 'be'ed' are wrong, grammatically they are valid, if archaic, forms]


In some cases, many of these forms are closer to modern Saxon (commonly called Low German/Low Saxon) than Standard British English is, e.g.

Low German Somerset Standard British English
Ik bün I be/A be I am
Du büst Thee bist You are (archaic "Thou art")
He is He be He is
The use of male (rather than neutral) gender with nouns, and sometimes female, also parallels Low German, which unlike English retains grammatical genders. The pronunciation of "s" as "z" is also similar to Low German. However, recent research proposes that some syntactical features of English, including the unique forms of the verb to be, originate rather with the Brythonic languages. (See Celtic Language Influence below.)

People today speak of 'Anglo-Saxons'. But there was a difference between Angles and Saxons. (And Jutes. Everybody ignores the poor Jutes!)

(I think this is simplified but basically correct, and graphically clearly illustrates how West Saxon and Mercian are different peoples and languages.
It also explains why Kent always held itself to be separate from the -ssex'es, even though geographically there are no major barriers.
New Jutland. With its own language and cultureWhistle
Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 4:32:51 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/30/2016
Posts: 907
Neurons: 5,762
Location: Luton, England, United Kingdom
I wonder if the term "mardy" is related to "mandy" in this context?

In some Britsih dialects "mardy" is used to describe someone who is spoilt and stuck up, which is similar to the definition of "mandy" that Thar has found.
For example:
"I don't like Andy he's such a mardy bloke".

I lack the imagination for a witty signature.
Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 4:41:34 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 6/14/2009
Posts: 13,979
Neurons: 43,003
Location: Brighton, England, United Kingdom

Sarrie - I must mix with the wrong people! Because I've never heard 'mardy' used on its own. It was always 'mardy-arsed' whenever I heard it used! (And I still use it within the family!)
Users browsing this topic

Forum Jump
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.

Main Forum RSS : RSS
Forum Terms and Guidelines. Copyright © 2008-2018 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.