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Great day for Manx as words earn place in dictionary

BBC/Manx Scenes Image copyright BBC/Manx Scenes/Culture Vannin
Image caption The words and phrases are characteristic of English as spoken on the Isle of Man

Ten Manx words, including the name of a farmer-helping fairy and the island’s equivalent to pal, have been newly added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Phynnodderee and yessir are joined by Hop tu Naa, the island festival which predates Halloween, skeet, meaning a quick look, and several others.

The book’s senior assistant editor Kelvin Corlett said they showed how Manx adds to the “richness” of English.

Manx organisation Culture Vannin said the inclusions were a “welcome boost.”

Chris Thomas MHK, the chairman of the body – which works to promote Manx culture – said it was “wonderful news [as] language tells the story of who we are and how we interpret the world around us”.

‘Diverse linguistic heritage’

Other new additions include the ball game cammag, tholtan, meaning a ruined barn or cottage, and traa dy liooar, an expression which translates into English as “time enough” and is used when there is no need to hurry.

The dictionary, which already holds about 100 Manx words, has also redefined 12 other words, including Tynwald (the island’s parliament), curragh (a bog), jough (a warm ale drunk at Christmas) and kishen (a unit of capacity).

Mr Corlett said the words clearly demonstrate the island’s “diverse linguistic heritage” with Norse, Gaelic, and English origins.

He said they reflected the island’s life, culture and history and “exemplify the way that even relatively small communities contribute to the richness of the English language as spoken and written around the world”.

The other new Manx additions are:

  • Bonnag – a large, flat unleavened barley loaf
  • Jinny (nettle) – a stinging nettle
  • Keeill – a small medieval chapel or monastic cell

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