16 FEBRUARY 1895, Page 14



SIR,—Dialect is not altogether dead in Somersetshire, though it is undoubtedly fast dropping into disuse. A case tried in the Wells Petty Sessional Court to-day, proved, however, so unusually rich in dialect words and local phraseology, that I think a brief record of it may interest your readers. The charge laid by the police was one of arson against A. B., for feloniously setting fire to two hayricks. In the course of the evidence given, the following unusual words and phrases occurred. I give them, with explanatory notes :—(1) A tree standing near one of the ricks was repeatedly referred to as a "welchnnt" tree. On inquiry, it was identified as a walnut. (2) The owner of the ricks deposed to the fact that a Lid "boop'ed" (or " whoop'ed ") fire! e g., cried fire. (3) A witness came on the prisoner "a!! of a hot," i.e., suddenly, un- expectedly. (4) The same witness stated" no blanker" could fly in a certain direction. 4' Blanker " appears o be an almost obsolete term for the spark or ember of burning wood, straw, and the like. (5) "I went oat and helped to dont it," " dont," do out, put out the fire. (6) There was a big " shard " in that fence, " shard " meaning a gap or defective spot. I have spelt all th,e words phonetically.—I am, Sir, &a.,