July 26th, 2010

or learning the language "BALLYMENA" style!

( or practicing how to perfect the art of procrastination )

(or learning how to waste time without feeling guilty )

( photos are of the Race over the Glens and is not for the squeamish or Dutchmen. )


The other Saturday morning as we ran the Marysville Loop the thought occurred to myself that there were quite a few of us in the group that morning from 'away' as they say here in New Brunswick.    There were a couple of Irishmen, from the south and the north, an Italian woman and a Frenchman, we also have a Dutchman and his lady who are away away, and an Englishman whom is back home for a while, and oh, yes, we have a few of those home grown Canadians who speak with such a nice accent.   

 Anyway, I got to thinking, and that's always a dangerous thing, and was amazed and inspired by how even with our differences of language and culture, not to mention the wealth of diversity when it comes to our professional lives that we are united by our love of running.   Now that the dog days of summer are here, and its almost August - the cool breeze a welcome change to the heat and humidy of recent weeks, but also a wee reminder of colder temps waiting in the wings, so I thought, if you had nothing to do someday, maybe you might like to learn another language which might come in handy at some point .... like March 17th!

 Maybe you might like to share some of the quirks and language traits??

 The place where I come from is known as Ballymena - not far from Befast and not close to Londonderry ( if your a prod and if you're a micky you drop the London and it becomes Derry - its an Irish thing, well .... its too complicated but Derry is known as the place of the Oaks - but the oaks have long since gone and now there are only hawthorn bushes, but I'm in danger of gaunching ( see below ) so had better get back to it and you can have a skelly before you think I'm a buckedgit and a bit o' a binlid in till the bargain.

 So many Canadians wish they were Irish on Saint Patrick's Day, ( not too many want to be Dutch but that's another matter ).  Saint Patrick's not Saint Paddies Day - which is a dead give away youse are not from the owl country  - which is March 17th and so end up making complete gulpins and gipes out of themselves that I have decided to help youse speak the language 'Ballymena' style and maybe even offer a course through Saint Thomas University if there is enough interest and hope youse  don't be thinking I'm killeried altogether. I think it would be a wheeker of a course meself, but then I'm just a wee bit biased and maybe a bit o' a bloon, but you never know there might be a market for learning the Ballymena lingo. I mean I had to learn to speak Canadian, eh?   There just might be enough bloons and gulpins out there waiting to be taken in by a ganch.   Forget youse read that, just thinking out loud to meself.

So take your sneakers off, if they`re bogging and yer feet don't smell like the Ballymena bog down the road.  Have a wee sate (small seat - but relative to your butt size) ladies and gentlemen * both are a rarity in the outlying areas - and get ready hi for your first lesson in learning the Ballymena lingo and before youse knows it youse will be on yer way to not only learning a whole new language, but youse will be fluent in another language, so youse will ... hi... honest, hi. 


The first thing youse need to know is that I'm `a Ballymena man, hi!` and to be completely competent in the Ballymena lingo youse will need to add `hi`to everything you say as in `you will need to add `hi`to everything you say, hi! So here we go, hi:- Trust you have some glead, hi, and no gurning now either, hi. Oh, and don`t just blarge in till it either, hi, or else youse won`t remember anything and it might be a bit of a gunk till youse too, then .... hi. So take howl of it, hi, and I hopes youse all make good progress in this learning a new language programme offered by the L.I.G.G.S. as in LANGUAGE INSTITUTION OF GIPES, GULPINS AND SCUNNERS.... HI. Here are a few basics to help youse get started, hi.    Oh, just mail your check to me for ten dabs.   I know, its enough to scunner youse altogether, hi.   Well, here goes, hi ...... :-)

Glead - a unit of measurement for intelligence. Thus if one does 'not have a glead' one is challenged on the common sense front.

Gurn - How could we forget it? To complain (adult); to cry (child).

Skelly - To take a quick glance at something.

Snotter - An unmentionable substance which emanates from the nose during times of cold and flu. Thus: 'The snotters were tripping him, so they were.'

Clabbered - To be covered in dirt - see 'Bogging'

We'll just run through some commonly used expressions in alphabetical order. Ready? Then, we'll begin.

A: Reference to oneself. The most common example of Ballymena-speak by far. Example: "A love dulse so a do."

Amint : A plea for re-assurance often used by children. Example: "A'm a good footballer mammy, amint a?" Derived from the somewhat outdated expression 'Am I not?'

Aw: Exclamation of surprise and nothing to do with US tactics in the Gulf War. Also an indication of perceived cuteness. Example: "Aw-a-aw, what a lovely child." ; or – "Aw naw, the car has broken down.

Binlid – a person who displays all the IQ of the cover on a refuse receptacle. Example: "He hasn't the sense he was born with. What a binlid".

Bloon – A person who displays little or no common sense. Example – "See thon boy? He's a bloon, so he is." A person with a balding pate may also be described as a 'bloonhead' .. if you're fast enough on your feet.

Bake - Face. Derived from beak. Example: If someone aroused your consternation to a dangerously violent level, you might feel inclined to strike them on the bake. Common usage: "A hut him a dig in the bake, so a did."

Baters – The appendages at the end of your legs. Example: "A called thon boy a bloonhead and a had to take to my baters, a'm mad, amint a?" A perfect test phrase for those who wish to progress on this degree level course.

Blarge - Dual meaning. To approach a task haphazardly (i.e. thon bloon took a blarge at the garden an'near killed himself." Or, to overindulge in alcohol. Example: "He's suffering today after that blarge he took last night".

Bloot/Blootered – Drunk/state of drunkenness. Example: "Yer man's a bloot. Everytime time a see him, he's blootered." This expression dates back to the time when meths. was imbibed by the hardened drinkers of the town. Not a lot of people know that. - Far fewer give a fiddler's.

Boke - Regurgitate violently. Also an adjective for something which meets with you personal disfavour. Example: "That meal was boke, so it was."

Cat – Often used when expressing an opinion. 

Chat/Chaterina - A thingimmybob. Superb term which can be used in almost every situation. Chaterina (the full dictionary version) is rarely used now but 'chat' remains commonplace. Example: "Reach me thon chat." The incredible thing is most people in Ballymena will be aware, in the context of the situation, exactly what item you require.

Crater – (noun). This has nothing to do with the moon and is, in fact, a widely used term of sympathy. Example: "Sure it's a pity of that crater."

Cane - An untidy residence or (alt.) a place of ill repute. Example: "Our house is a cane at the minute - there's stuff lying all over the place." or "Thon place is a cane - I wouldn't step through the door."

Cove - A person. Not a geographical feature of the coastline. Normally used when the person's name has been forgotten. Example : "Some cove told me that pub was a cane."

Clem – Term of offence. A person who continually makes a fool of himself is a 'clem.'

Click – To form a happy relationship. Example: "She's a clem and he's a bloonhead. It's no wonder they clicked."

Deeved - derived from 'deafened'. Example: "I was near deeved by them workmen dunnerin outside."

Dinnelin – (adjective). Often used by those under stress. Example: "Thon boy has my head dinnelin, so he has." All embracing word which can also refer to the condition of one's cranium after an evening of over-indulgence in legally addictive liquid refreshment.

Duke - To avoid another person. Example: "I spotted him across the street and duked down an alley".

Dunt – To apply force. Example: "Hit thon crater a dunt and waken him up."

Dab - A unit of currency. Ten dabs being economically equivalent to £10.

Gemmy - Imperfect. Basically can be applied to anything which is not up to scratch. May also be used in the medical sense to mean 'lame'. Example: "Last night's football match left him with a gemmy leg".

Gorb - A greedy person.

Gulpin - One who is easily fooled.

Gunk - shock, often used in conjunction with 'quare' (meaning big or massive). Example: "He got a quare gunk when she told him she was leaving him."

Gipe - Another word for an idiot. Not surprisingly there are a great many words for 'idiot' in Ballymena.

Ganch - A verbose person, one who is incapable of holding their tongue. More importantly, an indication that any contribution they may make to a conversation is totally without merit.

Gleck(s) - To look at; one's eyes. Interchangeable.

Glope - Also an instruction to observe. Example: "Glope thon cove on the far duke. He's blootered, so he is." Trans. "Look at that fellow on the other side of the street. He is exceedingly intoxicated, is he not?"

Hames - A mess.

Howl - To take a firm grip.

Kebs - Feet/shoe. Example: "I got a quare gunk when those new kebs let in water." Alternatively: "My kebs are killing me."

Killeeried - If there is little but a yawning vaccuum inside your cranium, you are, of course, 'killeeried'; can also mean infatuated - thus "she's killeeried with thon gulpin, so she is."

Latchico (also pron. latchicove) - An untrustworthy person, especially in the business sense. Example: "Watch thon boy, he's a latchico - he'd steal the eye out of your head."

Lig - An idiot. "He never had any sense that boy. He's a right lig".

Prugh - (noun) a mix of crisps, sweets or chocolate, usually eaten on the sofa in front of the TV on a Saturday night; (verb) to rummage or hoke through someone else's stuff, often leaving a mess behind. Example: "Would you stop prughin' through those CDs?"

packle. A couch potato. One becomes a paghle through prughin'.

Quare - big, massive (see 'gunk')

Reely - Adjective. A catch-all phrase for an action or person of doubtful sense. Example: "See yer man - he's reely so he is. Sure his head's a marley." (From Mickey Marley's famed roundabout).

Scunner - Used to describe someone whose very existence causes you deep seated personal offence.

Scunnered - A state of depression. Important note:-Those who have the misfortune to hail from the less favoured parts of Northern Ireland (i.e. not Ballymena and district) have the tendency to pronounce this words as 'scundered'. This is totally unacceptable and will result in failure of the oral module of this course.

Shem - Basically anyone. Can be dropped into conversation at any point without fear.

Steughy - A variety of foods all mixed up and, more often than not, covered (clarried) in brown sauce.

Stroke - To walk purposefully. Or, more commonly nowadays, to cheat. Example: If you were playing poker with a latchico there is a better than even chance that your will be 'stroked."

Tome - Excellent, wonderful. If one played a magnificent shot in snooker, for instance, it could be justifiably be described as 'Tome, Shem.' Important note - these two words MUST be used in conjunction.

Truth - A lie. Example - if someone tells you that they have won the lottery (and you doubt their veracity), the automatic response of any self-respecting Ballymena person should be: "Truth." This may be followed up with the nonsensical "Aye ye did."

Wheek(er) - A unit of pressure. Example: "Thon Shem is tome at boxing. He hut thon cove a wheek dig." Trans. "That fellow is a prime exponent of the noble art. He struck that other chap a blow of considerable force."

Yordis - Mind-blowingly fantastic. A word which has fallen into disuse in recent times. Example: If your horse came up in the Grand National it would be "Yordis, shem.