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!”