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Elkins- D.H.

Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law

D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law: an Analysis of Dialect Diffusion and Class

Accents Dialects of the British Isles Winter 2012-13 Prof. Velten University of Mainz June 2013 Tabitha Elkins

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law Contents 1. Introduction! 1.1 Origins of Notts! 1.2 D. H: Lawrence"s use of Dialect! 2.Lexical Differences ! 2.1 Informal pronouns! 2.2 Object pronouns! 2.3 Possessive Pronouns! 2.4 Reexive and Relative pronouns ! 2.5. Other words! 3. Grammatical Differences! 3.1. Strong Verbs! 3.2. Other grammatical differences:! 4. Pronunciation! 4.1. Elision! 4.2. H-dropping! 4.3. The sufx '-ing'! 5. Vowel features of Notts as compared to RP ! 6. Dialect Levelling and Social Class! 7. Informal Personal Pronouns, Social Class and Gender! 8. H-Dropping and Social Class! 10. Conclusion! References! 3 3 3 5 5 5 5 5 6 6 7 7 7 8 8 8 8 9 10 11 13 15

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law 1. Introduction ! The romantic English novelist, and East Midlander D.H. Lawrence was from the

Nottinghamshire town of Eastwood, a former coal mining town 8 miles (13"km) northwest of Nottingham, and 10 miles (16"km) northeast of Derby. In 1912, Lawrence wrote the four-act play The Daughter-in-Law, which was never performed in his lifetime, but a corrected version, with changes added by Walter Greenwood, was produced in 1936. It wasnt until 1967 that the original work was produced as D. H. Lawrence wrote it (Sagar, 1982). New revivals of the play have been made in recent years, such as the production staged at the Manchester Library Theatre (Hickling, 2012). For the play, Lawrence made extensive use of the traditional dialect of Nottingham, known as Notts. ! In this paper I will give an overview of salient features of Notts and analyse the dialect

features to be found in Lawrences The Daughter-in-law and compare them to RP. Lastly, I will show how Lawrence uses these dialect features to bring out gender and class differences. 1.1 Origins of Notts ! The dialect of Nottingham, called Notts, is an East Midlands dialect (Trudgill & Arnold: pg

37). These dialects owe much of their grammar and vocabulary to Nordic inuences. In the late 9th century the region, formerly part of the Kingdom of Mercia, was incorporated in the Norse controlled Danelaw, and the towns of the East Midlands counties became Viking fortied city states, known as the ve boroughs of the Danelaw (Wakelin, 1992). This explains the origin of many words, such as scraight ('to cry') is thought to be derived from the Norse, skrike in modern Scandinavian, also meaning to cry. (Hughes, 1979) ! The Danelaw split the present county into a Viking north and a Saxon south, which has caused

differences in regional dialects. Notts dialect has features of both.When it fell under the rule of a Saxon chieftain named Snot it became known as "Snotingaham"; the homestead of Snot's people (Inga = the people of; Ham = homestead). (Swinnerton, 1910) 1.2 D. H: Lawrences use of Dialect ! Lawrence grew up with an intimate knowledge of the local dialects of the East Midlands, and

used the dialect features of the East Midlands region, particularly those of the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Coaleld in many of his works, including his dialect poems, and novels. Of the language, he wrote:

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law

The life was a curious cross between industrialism and the old agricultural England of Shakespeare and Milton and Fielding and George Eliot. The dialect was broad Derbyshire, and always thee and thou. (Lawrence, 1950:117). ! ! The Daughter-in-Law is a kitchen sink drama, which takes place in the East Midlands, in a coal town (Hickling, 2012). There are ve characters: Mrs Gascoigne, her two sons, Luther and Joe, who are both miners working at the pit, a neighbour, Mrs Purdy, and Minnie, Mrs Gascoignes daughter-in-law, married to Luther. The play centres around the marriage troubles of Luther and Minnie, Luthers out-of-wedlock baby from a previous relationship (with Mrs Purdys daughter) and the strained family relations between the overbearing mother and her new daughterin-law. The play would have been considered shocking for its time, with its heady blend of social and political themes. The well-rounded female characters, with their pointed observations about marriage and children, are central to the story and foreshadow the then-nascent burgeoning feminist movement. This is set to the backdrop of the labor agitations between workers and mining companies. ! Lawrence uses regional dialect features and contemporary social problems to bring a sense of social realism to the play. The social class issues are brought out by cleverly employing regional dialect and dialect features for effect. (Hagiwara, 2007:pg 2) ! The two main female characters, Mrs Gascoigne and Minnie, are notable in their language

differences, both in content and in dialect. Because a dialect always contains a collection of linguistic features of both grammatical structure and pronunciation features, and a particular vocabulary, using a "strong" accent and regional dialect words is commonly associated with working class accents. Lawrence makes use of this by having Minnie, the daughter-in-law who has worked among the wealthy as a governess, use more standard English. She is, therefore, seen by the other characters, especially Mrs. Gascoigne, as "stuck up". She uses "you" instead of "thee"; her language has many more features of standard English than the other characters. (Hagiwara, 2007:12) ! The following features of Notts dialect can be found in the play. Many of these features can be found in Notts today, although the more archaic features have died out due to dialect levelling. Because Lawrence is an author and poet, and not a linguist, he uses alternative spellings to depict lexical and linguistic features of the dialect, retaining enough of these features to give a avour of the language, without compromising comprehensibility for the middle class audience (Hillier, 2008).

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law 2.Lexical Differences There are a variety of lexical differences, many of which are still used. 2.1 Informal pronouns ! Up until the mid 20th century it was common to use informal forms of address, Thee and

Thou, as compared to the more formal Yo or You (Tradwick-Smith, 2011). Use of the informal form of address is now uncommon in modern speech. (Scollins & Titford, 2000: 31) Lawrence has Minnie, who spent a few years in Manchester, using "you" exclusively, whereas the other characters use "tha" for "thee". Minnie's speech, and lack of local dialect features turn her into a distinctive character, and, by extension, an alienated gure (Hagiwara, 2007:11); Lawrence depicts the emotional and psychological distance between the characters through dialect and language. 2.2 Object pronouns For object pronouns, er replaces she, and em replaces they. (Scollins & Titford, 2000: 32-33) 2.3 Possessive Pronouns In traditional Notts dialect, personal pronouns differ from standard English as follows: yorn- yours me/mine- my hisn- his theirn- theirs ourn- ours (Scollins & Titford, 2000:33) The possessive pronouns thine and hisn are mentioned by Hillier as being often used by Lawrence in his dialect poems of the East Midlands region (Hillier, 2008:3). However, hisn is not once used by any characters in the Daughter-in-Law; instead, the modern RP form, his, is used. Thine can be found in several places, most notably in Mrs Purdys line in Act I: An' 'appen, but for this 'ere marriage o' thine, tha'd 'a married 'er. (Mrs Purdy, Act I:59) 2.4 Reexive and Relative pronouns ! In the older forms of Notts, reexive pronouns are characterised by the replacement of Self

with 'Sen' (From Middle English seluen). (Scollins & Titford, 2000: 34) Thysen': "Tha's done thysen harm enow for one day"! Hissen for himself ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law Mysen' for myself ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Theirselves instead of themselves: JOE: Yi--but if th' mesters wunna ha'e th' union men, let 'em do it theirselves. (Act III: 98)! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! as or what instead of who, which or that: Its you as doesnt know when youre well off, madam.(Mrs Gascoigne, Act III:106) (Hagiwara, 2007:51-52) 2.5. Other words Other older forms are as follows: S'd is used for "should": "Well, I s'd ha' thought thy belly 'ud a browt thee whoam afore this." (Mrs Gascoigne, Act I: 3) We also can see afore being used instead of "before", mun or maun (from Middle English) is used instead of must: "a wench as goes sittin' i' "Th' Ram" with' fellers mun expect what she gets, missis." (Mrs Gascoigne, Act I:18) Here are more typical dialect words. A complete list, of course, would be impossible. More can be found in Ey Up Mi Duck, by Scollins and Titford. affront! afore!! aforehand atween maun nowt owt ax ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! in front before beforehand between must nothing anything ask

(Hagiwara, 2007: 53) 3. Grammatical Differences Some of these are now obsolete: art for are: "What art goin' to say?" (Act I: 23) dost for does: "When dost think tha'll iver get ter be a butty, at this rate?" (Act I:9) Her in place of she: "'er's in right enough." (Act I:11) Nor instead of "than": "Well, ha'ef a loaf's better nor no bread." (Act I: 9) That instead of "so": "that tired he can't put's food in's mouth." (Act I: 12) The negative particle na is attached to the auxiliary verb "I canna see" (106)

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law

non as negative marker (for standard not): Nay, I non know who tha'rt goin' ter sleep wi'. (Luther, Act II: 69) ! Some of these features are still used in more isolated areas, but they are being phased out due to cultural assimilation. In some cases, previous features of the dialect are undergoing a transformation which results in a new form, such as the transformation of the pronunciation of dirty from dotty to dairty. (Scollins & Titford, 2000: 23) 3.1. Strong Verbs Strong verbs are often turned into weak forms, such as: knowed seed heered telled (Scollins & Titford, 2000: 35) 3.2. Other grammatical differences: Present tense verb forms often use non-standard forms, such as: "Tha goes" or "Tha knows" Tha doena or "tha seem" Were in place of was: "'e worn't workin"; "they was" Double Negation is also used. Here we see naught, (meaning nothing) rendered nowt by Lawrence: "I niver want thee to do nowt for me." (Luther, Act II: 70) (Hagiwara, 2007:48) 4. Pronunciation Although some features are not indicated through spelling, Lawrence shows some differences in pronunciation through spelling, such as: iver for ever nowt- nought ony- any wor for were luik for look weshin' for washing ter for to

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law There are some other important features of Notts to be noted: 4.1. Elision

The ends of words cut are off such as "ha'" for had: Well, I s'd ha' thought thy belly 'ud a browt thee whoam afore this.. "Ca'" for "call, "a'" for "all": Strike's a' they're t for an' for and , th for the (Hagiwara, 2007: 48) 4.2. H-dropping Like many dialects, Notts features h-dropping, but the use of this feature is not consistent. In accented words, the /h/ remains. (Trudgill, 1990: 28) 4.3. The sufx '-ing' is pronounced as /In/, where RP would have /I#/: nishin', comin' (pronounced coomin) (Hillier, 2008: 6) 5. Vowel features of Notts as compared to RP ! Not all of these features are lexically depicted in Lawrences writing, mainly because the

dialogue has to be readable for the actors and readers; furthermore, some features would have been obvious to anyone with any knowledge of the general region. However, certain features are agreed upon by all linguists as salient features: /a/ (a short 'ah', as in 'bad') is pronounced where RP would have /!:/ (a long 'ah', as in 'bard'), in words such as: faster (pronounced foster), glass (pronounced gloss), laugh (pronounced loff) (Trudgill & Arnold, 1979: 39) /!/ (a short 'oo', as in 'put') is pronounced where RP would have /"/, as in 'putt'. This is one of the Northern features of Notts and would be found in words such as: mother ( pronounced moother), coming (coomin'), lovely (loovleh), trouble (trooble), oven (ooven) (Trudgill & Arnold, 1979: 39) [a:] (like 'palm') is pronounced where RP would have /!u/, as in 'bout', in words such as: 'bout (like 'bought'), down (dawn). Lawrence shows this only in tha for thou (Scollins & Titford, 2000: 23) This is one of the so-called drawn-out Southern features of Notts (Leftlion Blogspot, 2007).

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law [o] becomes [!] (as in the nal syllable of 'father'), for unstressed vowels in words such as 'to'.

Lawrence uses alternate spelling to render this feature: ...Mrs Purdy wants ter speak to thee(Joe, Act I). (Hagiwara, 2007: 48) [i] (as in 'party' becomes [ej], party (parteh), hurry (hooray), tidy (tiedeh) (Trudgill & Arnold, 1979: 39) 6. Dialect Levelling and Social Class ! Dialect levelling is the process by which non-standard features are levelled off by outside

inuences. Because the traditional seat of the government and theatre are in London, outside inuences tend to be from the south. Even by the time Lawrence wrote The Daughter-in-Law, archaic earlier forms of Notts were being phased out due to dialect levelling. Lawrence shows this quite effectively in the play, by having Minnie, who is considerably more worldly and cosmopolitan (and has worked at the middle class profession of governess), speaking recognisably "modern" dialect-free English, while the local colliers speak with "heavy" regional features. For instance, the use of "thee" was dying out in Nottinghamshire by the late Victorian era, although still found in Yorkshire and Lancashire. (Tradwick-Smith, 2011) Minnies speech at act III shows this: I'm a woman, and that's enough. But I know now, it was your fault. You held him, and persuaded him that what he wanted was you. You kept him, like a child, you even gave him what money he wanted, like a child. He never roughed it--he never faced out anything. You did all that for him. (104) ! There have been massive social and demographic upheavals since World War II, including migrations, urbanisation of previously rural regions and urban sprawl; this has resulted in a sudden mixing of a number of different dialects from surrounding areas. (Cheshire & Edwards, 1998: pg. 64) As a crossroads between the north and south dialect regions, the speakers of Nottingham dialect could be potentially inuenced by both varieties. (Flynn, 2010: 9) ! At the time of the plays writing, these changes meant that educated speakers tried to mimic

RP and distance themselves from Notts, while those who had a strong identication with the region kept the older forms. Despite the many massive societal changes, many of these forms are still being used. Even in modern Notts, for example, the reexive pronouns are still being used: "sen replacing self, missen' for myself, thissen for themselves, and so on. Words such as

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law


scraightin' for crying, poorly for ill, or chelp for back-talk are other examples of words that are still used in modern Notts: "Tha has a bit too much chelp an' chunter." (Mrs Gascoigne, Act I,:30) 7. Informal Personal Pronouns, Social Class and Gender By the early 20th century, the old forms of personal pronouns were no longer considered proper English, and Lawrence uses speech patterns to show both class and local identity as well as subtle psychological changes in the play. (Hagiwara, 2007: 46) Mrs Gascoigne, who is working class and identies with the region, uses both the informal address and formal address. To the daughter-inlaw, Minnie, she uses the formal "you": "And what if I did! If you made as good a wife to a him as I made, youd do ." (Mrs Gascoigne, Act III: 104) ! Meanwhile, to her son, Luther, she uses the familiar, saying, "Have I ever kept thee from doin' as tha wanted? Have I iver marded and coddled thee?" (Mrs Gascoigne, Act III:105) Thus, these aspects of the dialect serve to underscore the emotional and psychological tension between the characters. As Hagiwara (2007: 56) notes, When Mrs Purdy appears,however, both of them start to speak to Mrs Purdy with theyou, your, youforms (...) Here the mother and the sons show formality or respect to Mrs Purdy. ! In Act III, Mrs Gascoigne begins using the informal thee with Minnie, but later, as she

realises that Minnie and Luther are having problems, she says: Well, Minnie, you've brought it on your own head. You put him off, an' you put him off, as if 'e was of no account, an' then all of a sudden you invited him to marry you--. Here, she is distancing herself from Minnie, by using the formal you. (Act III: 42) Later: Indeed! I canna see as you're so badly off. You've got a husband as doesn't drink, as waits on you hand and foot, as gives you a free hand in everything. It's you as doesn't know when you're well off, madam. (42) ! Near the end, after their mutual concern over Luther and the miners riot, they nally move

closer to one another, and this is reected in the language. Mrs Gascoigne says: Th' world is made o' men, for me, lass-- there's only the men for me. An' tha'rt similar. An' so, tha'lt reap trouble by the peck, an' sorrow by the bushel. For when a woman builds her life on men, either husbands or sons, she builds on summat as sooner or later brings the house down crash on her head--yi, she does. (Mrs Gascoigne, Act IV: 23)

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law !


Here we can also see Thalt (thou wilt/shalt), the old verb forms of the informal, which are

no longer used. Audiences of the day would have recognised the signicance of Mrs Gascoigne shifting to the familiar, showing that she had, at last, come to recognise Minnie as a member of the family. (Hagiwara, 2007:56) 8. H-Dropping and Social Class ! ! According to Kortmann (2005:282), womens language is usually closer to the standard, the prestigious norm, than the language used by men. Varying explanations are given for this; feminist linguists believe that this reects a female culture based more on books and education. Kortmann rejects this hypothesis, and sees this as a result of a broader base of social contact. ! Lawrence brilliantly captures gender differences in speech, by giving each character her own unique voice. The three female characters. Mrs Gascoigne, Mrs Purdy and Millie, show through their speech patterns and dialect (or lack thereof) both their cultural and social milieu and their inner motivations. ! Mrs Gascoignes speech is a curious blend of more rened speaking patterns and dialect, but nonetheless is more genteel than her sons, Joe and Luther, who drop the /h/ in just about every sentence. She rarely drops the /h/, except in unstressed regions. Indeed, it is an exception for her: She says, Have I ever kept thee from doin' as tha wanted? Have I iver marded and coddled thee? (105). ! Signicantly, her slips in Act I and Act III show where she lapses into more vernacular, then

rights herself. In Act I, when Mrs Purdy visits and sets off an argument between Joe and Mrs Gascoigne, she says: Slormed! Thee slorm but one ftieth part to any lass thee likes, an' see if 'er's not all over thee afore tha's said six words. Slormed! 'Er wor that high an' mighty, 'er wanted summat bett'nor 'im. (Act I: 9) After she decides that her son ought to deal with the illegitimate baby of his former lover, she gets herself under control, and states: MRS GASCOIGNE: Nasty or not, it's hers now, not mine. He's her husband. "My son's my son till he takes him a wife," an' no longer. Now let her answer for it. (Act III:12) This emphasis on her (as opposed to er, which she uses sporadically, shows both her more formal manner with Mrs Purdy, and her conscious effort to sound more sophisticated in order to put Mrs Purdy in her place.

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law ! Mrs Gascoigne repeatedly varies between the forms, at times more proper and at other


times, more chatty or informal. At Act III, when she is exasperated with her son, Luther, she says: you canna get a word out on 'im, not for love nor money. This marks a point in the drama of high tension, in which the veneer of gentility and respectability is removed. Her frustration with her son has reached a climax. ! Contrast this with the character of Mrs Purdy, a working-class character who describes herself as poor. Her language is seldom proper and shows a great deal of shortened forms and elisions. In her description of her daughter, she says: ....she's good-hearted and trusting, an' 'ud gi'e 'er shoes off 'er feet. An' tha's landed 'er, tha knows. For it's not th' bad women as 'as bastards nowadays--they've a sight too much gumption. (Mrs Purdy, Act I: 61) ! However, an 'unnecessary' /h/ sound 'hypercorrects', often when applied to a stressed item. This happens in the play when, at one point, Mrs. Purdy, the neighbor, hypercorrects, adding an extra /h/ sound: Has he had a haccident? (Mrs Purdy, Act I: 8) (Hagiwara, 2007: 54) ! Minnie, the former governess, uses exclusively proper standard English, as she has spent years among the upper class in service. The emotional distance between her and her mother-inlaw is conveyed through dialect and her terse, one and two- word replies in Act III. The climactic confrontation, in which Minnie accuses Mrs Gascoigne of leaving her only the orts and slarts (nishings): You didn't care what women your sons went with, so long as they didn't love them. What do you care really about this affair of Bertha Purdy? You don't. All you cared about was to keep your sons for yourself. You kept the solid meal, and the orts and slarts any other woman could have. But I tell you, I'm not for having the orts and slarts, and your leavings from your sons. I'll have a man, or nothing, I will. (31) ! In the last act, as the two women wait nervously for Luther to return, the dialogue reects the MRS GASCOIGNE: Yi--an' they go now i' their mischief, yes, tryin' to get killed, to spite me. Yi! MINNIE: Nay. Nay. MRS GASCOIGNE: It's true. An' tha can ha'e Luther. Tha'lt get him, an' tha can ha'e him. (124) Here, Minnies use of the dialect nay instead of no shows her shifting her language to reect Mrs Gascoignes language. This represents, on a psychological level, a drawing near.

change in relationship:

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law


10. Conclusion
Lawrences use of dialect in The Daughter-in-Law is linguistically, stylistically and psychologically complex. He shows not only what the characters are thinking, but how they see themselves, not just by what they say and how they express it, but by what is left unsaid. It is also a fascinating look at the use of dialect in this pivotal time period in the East Midlands, before many older features of Nottingham disappeared. Despite being more than one hundred years old, the play is surprisingly modern, with the themes of social class, gender equality, family and labor disputes. The use of both dialect and standard English serves the social and psychological realism of the play.

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law


Ich versichere hiermit, dass ich die vorliegende Arbeit selbststndig verfasst und keine anderen als die angegebene Hilfsmittel benutzt habe. bernahmen und Entlehnungen habe ich uner Angabe der Quellen kenntlich gemacht.

Elkins- D.H. Lawrences Use of Nottingham Dialect in The Daughter-in Law


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