Ahoy there me hearties! – A guide to the Bristolian dialect

Ship in harbour by cranes.

If you ever find yourself in the South West of England, you might come across a language that sounds like it’s from a whole different planet. This my dear friends, is the Bristolian dialect

One of the unique features of the Bristolian dialect is the tendency to add an “L” sound to the end of certain words, which is referred to as the “Bristol L”. For instance, instead of saying “idea”, a Bristolian might say “ideal”, or instead of saying “bath”, they might say “balth”. This is a feature that sets the Bristolian dialect apart from other regional accents in the UK.

Bristolians are a proud lot, and they have a language that’s as distinct and colourful as the city itself. It’s a dialect that’s a bit like a mix between Cockney rhyming slang and a Cornish accent, with a touch of West Country charm thrown in for good measure.

The Bristolian dialect can be a real head-scratcher for those not from the area. Words like “gurt” (meaning “big”), “gert lush” (meaning “very nice”), and “alright my luvver” (meaning “hello friend”) are all part of the everyday vocabulary here.

Bristolians are also known for dropping their “t”s and “h”s. So, “that” becomes “dat”, and “the” becomes “ee”. And don’t even get us started on how they say “water”! It comes out sounding like “woh-der”.

One of the joys of the Bristolian dialect is the use of nicknames

Everyone has a nickname in Bristol, whether it’s based on their surname, their job, or just a random word that someone decided to call them one day. You might come across people called “Dibber”, “Socks”, or “Biscuit”, and it’s all perfectly normal in this neck of the woods.

Another fun aspect of the Bristolian dialect is the use of the phrase “gert lush”. It’s a bit like a catchphrase for Bristolians, and it means “very nice” or “really good”. So, if someone says to you “that pint was gert lush”, you know you’ve found a friend for life.

All in all, the Bristolian dialect is a real joy to listen to. It’s a language that’s full of character, charm, and humor. And if you’re ever lucky enough to visit Bristol, make sure you brush up on your “Bristle” – you never know when you might need to say “Cheers drive” to the bus driver or “Cheers babber” to your new friend in the pub, and don’t forget to add an L at the end of some words!