The vocabulary of East Anglian English
As well as influencing East Anglian grammar, the Dutch and French-speaking Protestant refugees also added some words to East Anglian vocabulary. There are a number of places in Norwich, and other urban areas, which elsewhere would be called ‘squares’ but which are called plains—Bank Plain and St Mary’s Plain in Norwich are examples—which remind us of the identical use of plein in northern Belgium and the Netherlands. They also left behind a number of other words such as:
|dwile||floorcloth (Dutch dweil)|
|fye out||clean up (Dutch vegen ‘to sweep’)|
|push||boil, pimple (Dutch puist ‘pimple’).|
And the ‘b’ in the spelling of Tombland, an open area outside Norwich Cathedral, is a mistake. No tombs are involved—tom is still the modern Scandinavian word for ‘empty’.
Most local dialect words though are of purely Anglo-Saxon origin and include:
|gays||pictures in a book or newspaper|
|milches||milts, the soft roe of male fish|
|dene||sandy area by the coast (dene is related to dune but does not mean exactly the same thing—dene can refer to flat areas of sand as well as hillocks)|
Bishybarnybee ‘ladybird/ladybug’ is not an ancient word—instead it comes from ‘Bishop Bonner’s bee’. Bishop Edmund ‘Bloody’ Bonner, who had been vicar in the Norfolk town of East Dereham, became bishop of London in 1539 and was known as a ferocious persecutor of protestant martyrs during the reign of Queen Mary.