‘How to speak proper Pompey’: Readers’ reactions

Charlotte Street market in 1975

Charlotte Street market in 1975

A CGI of plans for Brunel House that were rejected in 2015

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Have your say

Here’s a selection of comments from readers who enjoyed our story about Portsmouth’s distinctive dialect.

They posted comments to our Facebook page after reading the article by Stuart Anderson, which was illsutrated by a 1975 photograph of the famous Charlotte Street market.

Richard Taylor: I was the ‘bag-boy’ for my Mum when we went shopping in Charlotte Street in the 1940’s and early 50’s. Enough veg to last a family of four for a week, a couple of bob. Hang around until near on closing time and you could buy a whole chicken, complete beak to toenails and including ‘fevvers’ and guts for a shillin’. Day-old chicks, puppies, kittens and one magic day - a box full of tortoises. I really wanted a tortoise, but “can’t afford it” - “have a bag of broken biscuits instead”. No contest: 1 x Tortoise = 1/- versus biscuits 3d the bag. Remember the ‘Magician’ selling china ? Well I thought it was pretty magical, he could stack a complete dinner and tea service up his arms and cradled between his hands, and then bounce it up and down without dropping so much as a saucer. “Not two quid” - “Not even a pahnd” - “Fifteen bob the lot” - “over there ‘arry, lady at the back with the green ‘at”. 70 Years later I can still mimic the spiel, much to my poor wife’s consternation - she never learned ‘Portsmif’ dialect.

Alan Chalmers: “Alroight mush?” Don’t be such a dinlow. Quit yet squinnying. It’s only a scraze.

Paul Dyer I went back to college about 15 years ago, I was talking to my English tutor about something and I said something to which he replied I drive home tonight and I won’t hear that expression anywhere north of petersfield. I can’t remember what I said but it was the first time I realised we had a dialect different to others. Would be interesting to find out how it developed

Cheryl May Cox: I’m from London. I moved here in August and I must admit they way people speak here is a little reminiscent to the way Londoners used to talk. I wouldn’t say you sound like cockneys though!

Rosemary Turner: Some years ago we moved from Pompey to Yorks., my daughter went to 6th Form college there, no one had heard the word. ‘lairy’ which she frequently used. By the time we left Yorks ten years later everyone was using it!!

Linda Hall: Born and bred just outside Pompey (Paulsgrove) but both parents and 3 out of four grandparents were born in the city. I remember ‘scrazed knees’, empting something instead of emptying and probably loads more would come back to me. Is flibbertygibbet a Pompey term, or was that just my mum?

Margaret Leat: My son was speaking at work in London before Christmas and was asked where he came from, Portsmouth) they didn’t recognise words he was saying, they said sounds like a foreign language Ha ha!! xxx

Viv Chatfield: Aww this picture brings back so many wonderful memories! I loved Charlotte Street on a Saturday would spend all day in town then either pictures or dancing in the evening

Mac MacLeod: I was always told as a nipper that Pompey slang was the closest to London because of the navy most of them were Londoners getting drunk in the local and the good time girls needed to make them feel at ease to get their money so spoke like what they do!

Tracey Ace I have the Pompey vernacular map framed on my wall one of my most prized possessions

Moira Paterson: Pompey is very close to cockney - very disticnctive accents, both of them :-)

Beverley Larcombe Loved Charlotte st market , used to walk there late afternoon when they were practically giving food away. X

Ellie Lee: I’m a Pompey lass, working in Liverpool, I can’t understand them and they don’t understand me!

Danielle Taylor: Adding an ‘S’ to words is very Pompey... “I loves him I do’s”

Reece Finnigan: I remember the devastation when I was at uni a few years back and nobody new what a squinny or a dinlo was :(

Sydney F Kerens: Remembered my mother in law asking me where I came from( her from Wimbledon) portsmiff I said where is that? she asked. Between sarfhamtin and chi I says ,oh where are they ?.I used to get a lot of pardon and sorry can you say that again

Nick Allen: Goin eight dane tane on a safedane bus

Julie Ann Bonsall: I’m a Pompey girl born & bred. I use squinny & dinlow (or din) :)

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