Saturday, 26 July 2008

Paths and Streams

My poem "Message on a Wire" prompted a comment from Loren saying that he had never heard the word "beck" before. This then prompted a comment from The Solitary Walker listing some of the words for a stream and saying it would be interesting to know all the words used.
So I sat down with a Dictionary and Thesaurus to see how many I could find. This set me thinking about passageways too - again there are so many variations throughout the country. So what have streams and passageways in common? Well until fairly recent times both would be used as the quickest way to get from A to B (streams go through the lowest points and are therefore likely to be the easiest walking if there is no footpath). When I think of the boring conversations I have had over the years about how people got from A to B (pre sat nav days) I think it is safe to assume that people have always talked about their journeys. Does this have a bearing on the large number of words in each case? Anyway - here is my list - can you add to it?If so please post a comment and let's see how many we can come up with.

Streams: beck, bourn, burn,brook, brooklet, dyke, freshet, gill, ghyll, rill, rivulet, runnell, runlet,
spring, stream, streamlet...........
Passageways: alley, bridleway, ginnel, march, path, passage,passageway, pathway, footpath, short cut, track,snicket,rabbit run, lane........
Here in Yorkshire we use beck unless the water is coming off the hill, in which case it might be gill.

3 comments:

The Solitary Walker said...

Re passageways I like the Scots "wynd", meaning a sloping lesser route between 2 streets; and also the "snickelways" of York.

Dominic Rivron said...

Re Wynd. I never knew that. I live in Yorkshire and there's a "wynd" in our village. Funnily enough it is indeed a sloping lesser route between 2 streets.

Re streams, one could also include "race" as in mill race.

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, you find the word "wynd" all over Scotland and the North of England. Even though it sounds as if it should be a winding and bendy way, I think it can equally as well be straight.