What English is this?


The words "yer", "ter", "ernly", "der" and so on, are they Irish? Also the way the contractions are contracted, "don't" to "don'". Hagrid from Harry Potter speaks like that and actually I'm enjoying it:

  • "I don' want yer ter get hurt".

Is this just some accent or dialect, or simply really bad English? Where does it originate from?


Posted 2017-12-23T10:11:56.453

Reputation: 23 612

4Rowling was definitely just trying to represent Hagrid's accent and dialect. – joiedevivre – 2017-12-23T10:20:56.853

@joiedevivre I think the OP is trying to ask which region this dialect is from. – Mr Lister – 2017-12-23T14:22:58.580

1@MrLister - If so, the question can't be answered, because (other than IPA), there's no good way to represent dialect accurately and consistently. More, what each reader 'hears' when reading dialect-representing text will depend in part on the readers own dialect, matching up the 'rules' for what various digraphs and trigraphs sound like to him, vs. what they sound like to the author. Having said that, however, my guess is that Hagrid is intended to be speaking with Cockney patterns. – Jeff Zeitlin – 2017-12-23T18:14:57.217

Hey, Alex. I've changed my name from Nicholas Castagnola to Nick. Long time no see. Merry Christmas. Oh, yes, it's simply Rowling's way of representing Hagrid's accent to her readers. – Nick – 2017-12-24T00:53:56.143

@Nick Could it be based on a real dialect? – SovereignSun – 2017-12-24T07:23:35.863

Yeah, I've heard Hagrid speak in the movies. He definitely has a British accent, but from what part of Britain I don't know because I'm not British. She's transcribing his speech to paper, so these aren't real English words; this is just how it sounds when it comes out of Hagrid's mouth. He's trying to say: "I don't want you to get hurt." I'm sure there are examples in Russian novels of this. Do some Russian dialects have strange pronunciations? Do they get copied into books in an equivalent form? – Nick – 2017-12-24T07:28:52.617



JKR, the author, said in an interview that Hagrid's accent is from the same place she's from, West Country (England):

BPP2: Good question, good question. I've got another good question here ... what accent is Hagrid supposed to speak in?

JKR: West country ... where I come from, I come from the West country.

But "word of god" is the short, easy answer. It's much more interesting to look at the language.

According to this article about eye dialect, a big hint to what his dialect is comes from the rhoticity:

A clue to Hagrid’s regional background may come from the rhotocity implied by the post-vocalic ‘r’ in syllables where in the standard pronunciation variant the schwa should be present: ter, inter, tergether, etc. This rhotocity survived only in areas west of London, south of Birmingham and in Lancashire.

I think this corresponds to the red areas on this map.

That article also mentions several other features of Hagrid's speech:

The most consistent feature in Hagrid’s speech throughout the novels is the depiction of the velar nasal stop realized in the alveolar position (doin’, shakin’, murderin’). From the standpoint of phonetics, his speech is rich in such phenomena as the elision/dropping of final consonants due to colloquial speech register (an’, jus’, o’), h-dropping (musta bin) and the assimilation of sounds. Also found in Hagrid’s speech are a number of nonstandard spellings representing combinations of words (musta been, outta the ruins). These are so-called ‘junctional’ words.

H-dropping and dropping the "g" in "ing" are both mentioned as features of the dialect in the West Country English Wikipedia article. Another article says that the dialect is also signified by the grammar, including "double negatives, the use of meself instead myself, using personal plural pronouns (we, us) when referring to himself, and using the pronouns we, they, and you with the verb was".

I'm not entirely sure why he sometimes drops final consonants.

Finally, a lot of the nonstandard spellings (musta, outta, 'cept, etc.) aren't really tied to a specific dialect (as far as I know), but they just help to make Hagrid seem uneducated and lower class.

More sources:


Posted 2017-12-23T10:11:56.453

Reputation: 8 133


This is Rowlings attempt to represent a dialect in writing. The dialect is probably "West country", the dialect used in Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset in the South West of the UK.

James K

Posted 2017-12-23T10:11:56.453

Reputation: 80 781