10 Aug 2010

Linguistic Inquiry

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Blogs can be pretty useful. I received a chance to buy a rare sporting novel (Heather Mixture by “Klaxton”) that was absolutely unobtainable through conventional sources because I once mentioned it as an example of the impossible to find book here. I also reconnected with a long-lost school friend and fishing buddy whom I hadn’t seen in decades because I anecdotally mentioned him in passing in a posting.

Recently, I’ve been finding the bill of fare on BBC America improving. They are, for instance, now broadcasting Top Gear, an over-the-top, Limey automotive program which I’ve occasionally found video excerpts of on YouTube and linked here.

Top Gear is witty and outrageous in the less inhibited fashion of a nation that successfully exported many of its Puritans centuries ago, and I’m happy to catch some of its episodes.

Last night, one of its principals, whom I do not yet recognize, probably Jeremy Clarkson, was nattering on about moving the locale to Scotland or nearby. At which point, he monologued:

Where do Geordies actually come from? Geordies are from the Northeast. Maybe they’re all Geordies. Then there’s others, Foggies, aren’t there? There’s Foggies, Muggies and monkey hangers. I don’t know what they are. Are they all types of Geordie? Well I think so. Or maybe they’re different.They all say why-aye so they must all be Geordies.

We Americans tend to suppose that a “Geordie” is a Scotsman. But, according to Wikipedia, Geordie is a more specific term for a resident of the neighborhood of Tyneside, specifically North Tyneside, Newcastle, South Tyneside and Gateshead. But it can also refer to anybody from Northeast England or to a supporter of the Newcastle United soccer team.

So who are foggies, muggies, and monkey hangers?

4 Feedbacks on "Linguistic Inquiry"

Colonel D. Goff

I am not at all sure about Monkey Hangers or Foggies, but Evelyn Waugh speaks of an island off Scotland which I believe to be fictional called the Isle of Mugg in his Sword of Honour Trilogy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sword_of_Honour
If you arent a fan of Waugh you will be once you pick up one of his books… they often focus on the saddness of the growing socialist state in England and the loss of the old aristocratic life there.




I’ve read close to all of Evelyn Waugh. I didn’t remember the Isle of Mugg from the trilogy, but I tend to doubt that is the reference.


I’m trying to translate that Top Gear episode into Spanish… it doesn’t make any sense when you change the language!


Monkey hangers are from Hartlepool, as they infamously hung a monkey (obvious, I suppose!)

Also, the quote is not a monologue, and does not involve Jeremy Clarkson – it’s actually a conversation between James May and Richard Hammond as they leave an airport in the North East :)


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