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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
Guide to mining dialect published
Durham Miners' Gala

A dictionary of language used in mining communities in the north-east of England has been published.

Pitmatic, by author Dr Bill Griffiths, sheds light on colourful terms such as "rammel" (rubbish), "fettled" (fixed) and "stannin' hacky" (in danger).

The dictionary, which took a year to compile, also features the poems, jokes and songs of pit workers.

The North East's last remaining deep mine, Ellington Colliery in Northumberland, closed in 2005.

Dr Griffiths, of Seaham, County Durham, said he hoped his work would help preserve the pit-yack (mining dialect) for future generations.

He compiled the dictionary using a range of sources including interviews with former miners and copying handwritten diaries and songs stored away in family homes.

Pitmatic terms
aard yakka - former miner
bonny on - in difficulty
fever van - colliery ambulance
hoggers - boxer shorts
keepa hadd - farewell expression
workie-ticket - troublemaker

Explaining the emergence of the dialect, he said: "When the pits were developing, the workers were coming in from the outlying areas and they brought with them the traditional speech of the region, which owes a lot to both Anglo-Saxon and Viking times.

"The coal industry became so big that the dialect grew with it."

Dr Griffiths' previous two books focussed on coastal life in the North-East and culinary terms from the region.

All three have been published by Northumbria University Press.

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