Dear Essex Society for Archaeology and History,
My name is Stephen Howe. I am an associate professor at a university in Japan but was born in East Anglia (in the Isle of Ely).
In spring, I gave a talk at Cambridge University on the words 'jearse' and 'dow' - emphatic words for 'yes' and 'no' - used in the Isle of Ely and some other parts of East Anglia. These words are not included in the Oxford English Dictionary; however, we still use ‘jearse’ and ‘dow’ in the Isle of Ely today.
I wonder whether it might be possible to ask you whether people in Essex know and use these words? I would be very interested to see how widespread they still are and how they are used. I am writing a book chapter on 'jearse' and 'dow' to be published next year.
If you are interested, I would like to know these questions:
- Do you say 'jearse' and 'dow'?
- How do you use them?
- Where do you live?
I have set up a web page where people can fill in information on 'jearse' and 'dow', if they wish. The page is at http://stephenhowe.info/survey/
I would be most grateful for any information you could give.
I have not encountered these terms myself and they are not recorded in Gepp's Essex Dialect Dictionary. I shall post the web page on our Twitter account.
John Hayward, Secretary, ESAH