This page appears here in tribute, initially, to a conversation between David Bage and Lis Heriz-Smith in the Lynsted with Kingsdown Newsletter. Both were sorry to see old favourites fall the the wayside - "hair as straight and pump-water", "it's black over Bills mother's", "rasher of wind", "twitten", are just some.
The Kent Archaeological Society website published a freely downloadable e-book of Kentish dialect that is as good a place as any to start from.
NAMES AND LANGUAGE IN KENT - Kent on Sunday, 6th February 2005
In the 19th century the clerics WF Shaw, vicar of Eastry, and WD Parish, chancellor of Chichester Cathedral, got to grips with ‘Kentish’, writes Neil Clements.
They published their Dictionary of the Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms in Use in the County of Kent in 1888, writing: “The Kentish pronunciation is so much more coarse and broad than that of Sussex, that many words which are common to both dialects can scarcely be recognised a few miles from the border; and many words of ordinary use may become completely altered.”
Worse still, they found that people in East Kent were prone to making up their own words and deliberately mispronouncing those they didn’t approve of, especially words used by “furriners”.
They were even less impressed by the influence of London on the local dialect, commenting: “The purity of the dialect diminishes in direct proportion to the proximity to London...”
“It maybe said that the dialectical sewage of the metropolis finds its way down the river and is deposited on the southern bank of the Thames, as far as the limits of Gravesend Reach, whence it seems to overflow and saturate the neighbouring district.”
Examples of Kentish dialect can be found in a downloadable e-book from this dedicated website supported by the Kent Archaeological Society website. The file is large (7.62 Mb) and requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it. You will find such delights as: marm=a jelly; jawsy=talkative; Gilligaskins=trousers; Polrumptious=rude; wood-noggin=half-timbered houses - and so on.
The Society has not developed dedicated pages to this topic - although we did have a speaker, Dr Paul Cullen in 2005. Read the Report.