Thursday, April 24, 2008

No h'aitch

Walhydra was LOL at lunch today, reading some choice dialog between folks of diverse dialect in the British Isles, from Dorothy Sayers' The Five Red Herrings:
"Nae doot," pursued the Inspector, "if Mr. Gowan were at hame, he wad be anxious tae gie us a' the assistance in his power."

The butler was sure that Mr. Gowan would be only too happy to do so.

The Inspector opened his notebook.

"Your name is Halcock, is't no?" he began.

The butler corrected him.

"H'alcock," he said, reprovingly.

"H, a, double-l?" suggested the Inspector.

"There is no h'aitch in the name, young man. H'ay is the first letter, and there is h'only one h'ell."

"I beg your pardon," said the Inspector.

"Granted," said Mr. Alcock.

"Weel, noo, Mr. Alcock, juist a pure formality, ye understand, whit time did Mr. Gowan leave Kirkcudbright on Monday nicht?"

"It would be shortly after h'eight."

"Whae drove him?"

"Hammond, the chauffeur."

"Ammond?" said the Inspector.

"Hammond," said the butler, with dignity. "H'albert Hammond is his name—with a h'aitch."

"I beg your pardon," said the Inspector.

"Granted," said Mr. Alcock. "Perhaps you would wish to speak to Hammond?

"Presently," said the Inspector.
Hammond, it turns out, speaks cockney dialect, so there's even more misunderstanding to follow.

Of course, unlike in the British Isles, we all speak the same here, don't we?

Y'all come back now, y'hear?

1 comment:

Grumpy Granny said...

Isn't Dorothy Sayers wonderful?? I love those Britsh mysteries. Have you read any Laurie R. King? She is a MASTER! When my sister and I went to London in '03, I brought back a little "dictionary" of Cockney rhyming slang. Gotta love English (and THE English, too!)

Cheers, guv!