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Bristol Dialect

A dialect of English is spoken by some Bristol inhabitants, known colloquially as Bristolian, "Bristolese" or even more colloquially as "Bristle" or "Brizzle".

Bristol natives speak with a rhotic accent, in which the r in words like car is pronounced. The unusual feature of this dialect, unique to Bristol, is the Bristol L (or terminal L), in which an L sound is appended to words that end in an 'a' or 'o'. Thus "area" becomes "areal", etc. The "-ol" ending of the city's name is a significant example of the occurrence of the so-called "Bristol L". Bristolians using the dialect, tend to pronounce "a" and "o" at the end of a word almost as "aw". To the stranger's ear this pronunciation sounds as if there is an "L" after the vowel. For example the statement "Africa is a malaria area", spoken with a Bristolian accent will sound like "Africal is a malarial areal".

A similar form of this pronunciation quirk has been in existence for centuries, even as far back as the Norman Conquest in 1066 and the Domesday Book, compiled by the Norman-French. In those days before the printing press, the city's name - "Bruggestowe" at the time - was rarely written. Consequently the Domesday Book information gatherers had to rely on oral answers to their questions and the city name was recorded as being "Bristolle". No other place names, in England, end in "-ol".

Further Bristolian linguistic features are the addition of an additional "to" in questions relating to direction or orientation (a feature also common to the coastal towns of South Wales), or using "to" instead of "at"; and using male pronouns "he", "him" instead of "it". For example, "Where's that?" would be phrased as "Where's he to?", a structure exported to Newfoundland English.

Stanley Ellis, a dialect researcher, found that many of the dialect words in the Filton area were linked to work in the aerospace industry. He described this as "a cranky, crazy, crab-apple tree of language and with the sharpest, juiciest flavour that I've heard for a long time".
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