Monday, 23 November 2009

Speak like a Saxon #16: when you've got to go...

When you've got to go, you've got to go. Whether you're looking for the smallest room in the house; the little girls' room or the ladies, here's what you need:

Gangpytt - ["gang-pu*tt"] (* this is the where you say an "u" sound but make your lips round)

It means quite literally the 'pit where you go'. Nice.

So, if you're looking for the toilet, you might want to ask:

'Where's the place to go?' - Hwær cwom gangpytt? ["hwar kwom gang pu*tt?"]

And once the gangpytt is full, it needs to be cleaned. That's when you call for the:

Gangfeormer! ["gang-fey-or-mer-uh"]

It's not just a toilet cleaner but, a "goings-farmer". To be crude, a s**t shoveller, perhaps. These two words, gangpytt and gangfeormer, are real, bona fide Angl0-Saxon words. I don't think it was until the Normans came along with their courtly sensibilities that we got all prudish and started calling it the 'privy.

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