[from A Vocabulary of the Anglo-Manx Dialect, 1924]


FROM January 1909, when he first spoke to me of the book, until shortly before his death in November, I had the honour and pleasure of working with Mr. A. W. Moore at his proposed Dialect Book, of which this vocabulary is the out-come.

After the annual meeting of the Manx Language Society in March, Mr. Moore asked me to assist him by making lists of words, which I then began to do, and continued the work during his absence in Madeira. On his return in May I sent him copies of the lists of words which had been sent in by me to Dr. Wright for his Dialect Dictionary 1899-1900, together with lists of words excerpted from books or heard colloquially. This work went on throughout the summer, and in September Mr. Moore asked Mr. Goodwin to help by adding phonetics to the words, which he consented to do.

Mr. Moore’s intentions with regard to the scope and plan of the book will best be gathered by the following quotations from his letters written during the last six or seven months of his life.

' June 8, 1909. You will remember the Anglo-Manx Vocabulary to which you promised your kind assistance. I think of dividing it into three parts : (1) Gaelic words, (2) English words used in a peculiar sense in the Isle of Man only, (3) English words in Man and elsewhere in the United Kingdom. In the lists of words in A, B, & C, which I send you to correct, comment on, and add to, the mark x means that I should like some quotation or sentence from ordinary con-versation ; ? means that I am not certain whether or not it is found in Anglo-Manx or that I am not sure of the meaning.

When there are no marks I am satisfied that the words are found in Anglo-Manx and I have quotations. I understand that the sentences you give in Wright’s Dict. are not from books, but from conversations you have heard. The list is no doubt very imperfect. I think that we shall be able to make a very interesting book.’

' June 21. I notice you have inserted words like argify which by spelling alone are peculiar to the I. O. M. ; also the softened forms arrer, &c. This will mean a fourth category, as I think they should be inserted. By the way, I never heard a Manxman say aburrem for about them, or arrem for at them. Does he ? My idea about our book is to discuss fully and as chattily as possible about phrases, idioms, and words used in the I. O. M. under the four headings agreed on and then to finish with a complete list as an appendix. Nine people out of ten will read the first only. As to the appendix I would put for instance : " Acquent, acquainted ; Eddart and me is well acquent ", and not give the source of the quotation ; as long as we give the colloquial use of a word it does not matter whether it is from a book or a spoken remark. Dr. Wright has of course done the thing scientifically, but I do not see any need to follow on the same lines. Our method can be explained in a Preface.’

' July 14. My classification is, as I think I stated: (1) words of English origin found both in the I. O. M. and elsewhere ; (2) do. whose use seems to be peculiar to the I. O. M ; (3) do. whose spelling appears to be peculiar to the I. O. M ; (4) Manx (Gaelic) words.’

' July 22. I think the idea of grouping under subjects is excellent. How would it do to display the Manxman as Fisherman, Farmer, at the market, at a wedding, funeral, &c., using all the Manx and Anglo-Manx words possible ? The words thus used would be treated under their separate headings afterwards. I am astonished by the number of fishermen’s terms. In addition to prepositions, another interesting topic, which you might work out at your leisure, is the Anglo-Manx Verb in all its tenses. I do not think it is necessary to have a quotation for all words given, though there can be no objection to it, but in the case of the more important ones only. It is hard to grasp exactly what the scope of the book will be at present. It will gradually develop. We, or rather you, must first get all the material together. I will then carefully consider it and divide it under certain headings for your approval. When these are settled, I will write the chapters and send them to you for revision. It is possible that it may be attractive and illustrative to introduce a certain amount of dialogue with some stories. I should, I think, start the book with a general account of the Manxman’s origin and of his characteristics. Altogether I anticipate, though somewhat vaguely at present, a book which, thanks to your researches, will be of real value.’

‘ August 9. Satyrs and Fairies will make excellent chapters, and possibly we might find some excuse for a chapter on Charms.’

I wrote to Mr. Moore:

‘ August 21. I think the lists should be sent to Mr. Goodwin for phonetics, as he has such a thorough knowledge of Manx and Anglo-Manx and has studied philology and phonetics almost all his life.’

Mr. Moore wrote me : ‘ August 24. Mr. Goodwin will probably be a great help with phonology chapters.’

Mr. Moore wrote to Mr. Goodwin as follows :—

' September 8. I have been for some time past contemplating a book on the Anglo-Manx dialect, and, with that view, have been compiling a list of Anglo-Manx words and phrases in addition to those in Dr. Wright’s Dialect dictionary. I then wrote to Miss S. Morrison suggesting that she should co-operate with me ; the result has been far more copious and thorough lists of words than I would have put together by myself. Miss Morrison’s knowledge of the dialect is, indeed, marvellous. I now ask for your help also, and, for that purpose, enclose lists of words under A and B, to which I hope you will be able to make additions and on which I hope you will comment. I should explain that I am merely sending you a bare list. In our copy these words are illustrated by quotations from Tom Brown and other dialect writers or from pure conversation never printed, and they are also fully explained when necessary. They are divided under four heads as you will see: of these the 2nd will be the most difficult to establish with any certainty. No. 4 will merely consist of a list of the more striking words in general dialectical use. I shall not attempt to make it complete. My idea is that the foregoing should be the appendix and that in the text there should be chapters on such topics as the reasons for the forms of the various words and phrases such as the influences on idioms and words of the Manx language in various ways, the influence due to Manx character, to ignorance of English, &c., &c. I have not worked this out fully yet, but I should be very pleased if you will help more particularly with the section dealing with phonetics. You have evidently, from what I hear, studied the question of phonology much more deeply than I have. A most interesting section should be the one (founded on Dr. Wright’s researches) showing where the Anglo-Manx words and phrases (under no.1) come from. So far (we have got to letter K) Yorkshire easily heads the list. I then propose to have chapters on words and phrases used by fishermen, farmers, women (in connection with household work), by children (with their games), &c. I want to treat the whole subject in a popular manner ; of course the most valuable part of the book to philologists will be the appendix, which will afford ample material for a really scientific discussion of the dialect at any time. My idea at present is that the book should be published in the names of Miss Morrison and myself with the fullest acknowledgment to all helpers. It is essentially a work where several minds will do more than one.’

‘ Sept.10. I hope you will read through and make suggestions upon what I propose to write, and if you would at any time write a chapter on the phonetics I should be greatly pleased.’

' Sept. 14. I should greatly esteem some remarks from you on the subject of intonation when you are returning B. It is essentially Celtic, but there are English elements in it also. Undoubtedly it is very different from the intonation of Anglo-Irish.’

In reference to this correspondence Mr. Moore wrote to me :—

‘ Sept. 21 I have been corresponding with Mr. Goodwin and think he will be a valuable assistant. He is putting the phonetic sounds to the words. I have told him that the book will be in the joint names of you and I, but I have since been considering whether it would be desirable to associate him with us. What is your opinion ? You will know better what to do than I. I have of course said that any assistance given by him and others will be fully acknowledged. Would you write a little essays on " You’ll get lave " ? I don’t think that a single quotation does justice to that very broad and elusive expression.’

‘ Oct. 8. As to Mr. Goodwin I think we should give him the opportunity of refusing to co-operate on equal terms with us. If you agree perhaps you will kindly talk it over with him. It seems to me that we might work somewhat on the following lines :—(1) chapters on the origins of Anglo-Manx by me. (2) Manx characteristics as illustrated by their words and phrases—including your articles on swear words, terms of endearment, &c., by you and me. (3) The Manx Fisherman, Farmer, and Housewife (similarly illustrated). (4) Manx Customs and Superstitions by you. (5) Anglo-Manx Phonology, with an account of the Verb and Adverb, by Mr. Goodwin. Fair copy of the whole for press by you and Mr. Goodwin. You both write more clearly than I do—indeed his writing is perfect for this purpose. Then I, having had probably the most practice, will revise the proofs for the press. All that I wrote to be submitted to you both and vice versa. I suppose we shall have to include all the words where the final d is dropped, and where s is substituted for t. I propose taking no notice of the loss of final g as this is common in England also.’

From this correspondence it will be seen that though his ideas as to details varied from time to time, Mr. Moore’s general plan for his book had been clearly worked out by himself. Unhappily, alas, he did not live to complete it.

After his death I received the following letter from Mrs. Moore : ‘ November 17. I am sending you my husband’s manuscripts and papers in connection with the "Anglo-Manx" Book he proposed publishing.—He wished all to be sent to you.’

I eagerly searched through the MSS. to see if perchance any part of the Introductory chapters had been written, or any sketch of them drawn up,—but there was not one line to be found.. It has seemed best therefore, in fact the only possible course, to publish the Vocabulary only. All students of Manx will deeply regret that Mr. Moore did not survive to complete a work which his scholarship and discriminating judgement would have made most valuable.

I have therefore considered it a task incumbent upon me to carry out our honoured Speaker’s wishes in so far as in me lay. Mr. Goodwin has gone through the lists of words, added some, arranged them alphabetically, added phonetics, and prepared them for the press. For my own part I have gladly undertaken the rest. Grateful acknowledgement must be made to Professor Hartog and to Miss Mary Hayden for their help in identifying some of the Anglo-Irish expressions.



Owing to the lamented death of my sister Sophia, I have fulfilled her wish and undertaken the publication of this vocabulary. Fortunately, however, the work was ready for the Press, for in spite of her declining health, she courageously devoted herself to its completion, and to ensure still further its publication made provision for the printing expenses ;—the preliminary expenses being defrayed by a bequest left by the late Mr. A. W. Moore.

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Mr. J. J. Kneen, the distinguished Manx scholar, for his valuable assistance and advice, also to Mr. G. R. Axon and other friends for the practical help they gave me.


 October, 1923.


index next

Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000