The Sentimental Bloke

I attended an absolutely absorbing talk on C. J. Dennis’s Songs of a Sentimental Bloke. I can’t hope to set out here all the insights that were given, except to say that an observation was made that, perhaps, the language used by C. J. Dennis in that work come close to being “dialect”.

I’m no expert on linguistics, so can’t really comment, except to say that the idea had never occurred to me that the language may constitute dialect. I do see, however,  that the Wikipedia entry mentions that dialect may be associated with “social class”.

But reflect on this (from A Spring Song):

THE world ‘as got me snouted jist a treat;
Crool Forchin’s dirty left ‘as smote me soul;
An’ all them joys o’ life I ‘eld so sweet
Is up the pole.
Fer, as the poit sez, me ‘eart ‘as got
The pip wiv yearnin’ fer—I dunno wot.

Read out loud, the language is familiar. But try converting it into more “conventional” English! It loses its charm completely (I won’t attempt to do so, although the speaker did).IMG_9598

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