Talking Brummagem

Those of us who come from Birmingham are long used to outsiders trying to imitate our accent. Usually very badly. Most of us are also aware that there are words we use that are not generally used elsewhere – ‘island’ for a traffic roundabout and ‘mom’ are the most usual. Then there are local sayings, ‘face as long as Livery Street’ , ‘alright bab?’

Showell’s Dictionary of Birmingham included a section on what it called ‘provincialisms’:

Like the inhabitants of most other parts of the country Birmingham people are not without their peculiarities of speech, not so strong characterised perhaps as those of the good folks of Somersetshire, or even some of our neighbours in the Black Country, but still noticeable.

Some of the peculiarities included brought back memories of things I remember hearing and saying when I was younger, but rarely use now, such as ‘yourn’ or ‘ourn’ – Showell’s put it ‘in common parlance this book is not your own or our own, but yourn or ourn, or it may be hisn or hern’. 

The use of ‘her’ instead of ‘she’, is something I’m still sometimes guilty of (often ‘her’ll, instead of she will).

Other sayings included I’m not familiar with, ‘for instance few workmen will take a holiday; they prefer a ‘day’s out’ or ‘play’. They prefer to ‘pay it twice’ in lieu of ‘in two instalments’.



2 thoughts on “Talking Brummagem

  1. Reblogged this on keithbracey and commented:
    Brummagem sayings and colloquialisms loike ” E met ‘er at the back a Rackhams ” myselfmeaning a tryst with a brassy woman….and “It looks black over Bill’s Mothers” meaning inclement weather is in the offing…..Rare “Brummie gems” rather than Brummagems!!!!!!


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