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I can’t understand Cornish! Help me Kenegie!



When visiting Cornwall, you may stumble across a fully-fledged Cornish person. You may find yourself at a complete loss as to what they are on about.

Here’s a little list to help you out.

1.       Dreckly – This is pretty much how time runs here. When someone says they’ll do something dreckly, you need to be patient because it’ll done, just not straight away. I was asked to write this list ‘dreckly’, about a month ago. We recommend embracing this attitude whilst here.


2.       Proper Job – Delighted by that cream tea you just ate? “Proper job.” Enchanted with your new wheelbarrow? “Proper job.” It’s a mark of quality that can be applied to just about anything, not just worthwhile employment. And sometimes, it just means, “Yes”.


3.       Matter-do-it – Effectively, ‘does it matter that much?’ The phrase is usually accompanied with a shrug of the shoulders, and generally fits in with the easy going, get things done ‘dreckly’ attitude to life.


4.       Teasy as an adder – Derived from the Cornish word “tesek” meaning “hot-tempered”, teasy can be used to describe an irritable child, or a grumpy adult who deserves to be given a wide berth. Given that a grumpy adder should be left alone – well, you see why the two go together.


5.       Emmet – A nickname for tourists or outsiders. Literally meaning ant, it’s used by the Cornish locals to describe the summer influx of visitors – often red with sunburn and seen scurrying around the countryside.


6.       Alright my ‘ansum? – Pretty much, “How are you?” Ansum is a universal term of endearment used for men, women, children, even a really tasty ‘oggy’ (pasty).


7.       Stank – Not something that used to smell, rather a walk somewhere. Most likely because Cornwall undulates a lot, so most journeys involve a bit of a ‘stank’ to get anywhere.


8.       Giss on! – You’re pulling my leg/having a laugh.


9.       Up North – Basically anywhere over the Tamar River is up north. However, in West Cornwall, anything further than Truro is up north.


10.   Dearovim/Dearover – This is actually “dear of him” and “dear of her” rolled into one Cornish slur of H-dropping. It’s used when talking about someone who was upset or who has had a hard time, about a small cute child doing something adorable, or a reaction to a terrible story.

“My boy said ‘ee can’t get a proper pasty up north!”

“Oh dearovim! That must be awful!”



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