Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A meme for Friday.

When I first started blogging in July 2008 I put on a post about our beck. The beck runs through most of our fields and provides water for all our stock to drink. In addition there is a footpath running almost along its entire length on our land and that footpath has been there since the Middle Ages, when it must have been used by the Cistercian monks of nearby Jervaulx Abbey, who used to keep their sheep on all this land around here.



When I posted it back in that July Loren, of In a Dark Time the Eye begins to see, asked what a beck was - it was not a word he had heard. Now, yesterday, when I mention the beck again Cindee asks the same question.



Here in North Yorkshire a small water course is either a beck or a ghyll. In Lincolnshire, where I come from originally, such a watercourse is called a dyke or a brook (as in Tennyson's Brook). In the midlands, where I lived for many years, it is called simply a stream.



So - here is the meme. Please, if you read this blog, will you post on Friday the word or words which you use to describe a small water course. I tried this once before in my early blogging days and got about ten different words then. Hopefully as there are more of you and as you come from so many different parts of the world, we shall get even more words this time.



Looking forward to hearing from you. I can't find a picture of our beck to post with this, I seem to have eliminated them all from Picasa. When Tess and I walk this afternoon I will take a new one and post it on here later in the day.

34 comments:

jinksy said...

How about a 'rill' applied to water, as opposed to earth? Otherwise, stream does it for me...

Dartford Warbler said...

In the New Forest the streams are called just that.

Over in Dorset and in Wiltshire, around the rivers which flow through chalk land, there are streams which run in the wet months called winterbournes. During a dry summer, the stream beds will become dry again and grass and meadow flowers will grow there.

The word bourne also means a stream, as in the name of Bournemouth, where the Bourne Stream flows down through the Wintergardens in the centre of town, to join the sea not far from the main pier.

Beck is a word that my OH and I use. He is a Yorkshireman and we lived there for several years. My late mother grew up in North Lincolnshire and talked about playing with her sisters in Kelsey Beck ( not far from Brigg).

I am guessing here, but I wonder if the northern names are of Viking origin while the southern names are from the Anglo Saxon?

Poet in Residence said...

I wonder if 'beck' comes
originally from the ancient Welsh/Celtic 'bach'?
In Austria a 'Bach' or a 'Bachlein' is a stream or streamlet. In Wales the word 'bach' means small.
So the German word 'Bach'
(as the composer J H Bach)
may be derived from
the Celtic word 'bach' for
the ancient Celts lived along
the River Danube and in the
Salzkammergut esp. Hallein.
As an aside, the prefix 'Hall...' is Welsh/Celtic for 'salt' and in
Hallein (near 'Salz'-burg)
is one of the oldest working saltmines in Europe.

Karen said...

Here in Connecticut we have many brooks and streams forming the occasion pond as they go.

Golden West said...

We call our small waterways "creeks" - as in Cottonwood Creek.

Our town is bordered on each end by bird sanctuaries that are large lagoons open to the ocean but fed by fresh water from upstream. The water level rises and falls each day with the ocean's tides. Before they became official bird sanctuaries we locals referred to them as "the sloughs".

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks. Eight different names already in the space of an hour. Keep them coming, please.

willow said...

I remember you mentioning beck some time back and I had to google the word. We just call it a stream in my neck of the woods.

Moonstone Gardens said...

Thank You, Weaver, for clearing up the mystery and also for this fun linguistical post.
In Oregon, we call them streams or creeks. Where water comes out of the ground, it's a spring. If it dries up in the summer, it's a vernal spring.
Waterfalls are often called cateracks and rough water in a river is called rapids.
Most of our rivers here are quite wild. We don't get those lovely meandering rivers like the ones I saw in England.
Cindee

Coastcard said...

Great idea, Weaver. I love these regional words - and would hate to feel we were letting them die out by failing to give them the exposure they deserve. I will hope to recall a word or two for Friday...

I'm just wondering from the other comments whether you were wanting the names NOW so that you could post the list on Friday? Will go back and re-read to be sure...

Coastcard said...

P.S. Me again. Will post on Friday with a link to your site unless I hear otherwise!

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Weaver…in descending order of size, here are the names I know and regularly hear: river, creek, brook, rill, run, rivulet. They are, one and all, streams. They often ascend from a spring…spring into rivulet into run into rill into brook, etc. In the vernacular of country folks, "creek" is regularly pronounced "crick." Also, some creeks are as large or slightly larger in general width than some rivers; it's apparently length not width that seems to earn the official mapmaker's designation; I don't think there's a hard and fast rule, however.

thousandflower said...

Out here on the west coast of the US we call it a creek.62

ELLOUISESTORY said...

I leave near the banks of Rock Creek which runs through Washington DC - sometimes a wide span that often narrows. Where I grew up in North Carolina - I knew Sugar Creek well and Briar Creek - small trickles of water at time all the way to sweet swimming holes on summer days. Creek keep popping up from the USA - I love hearing the other words -

ELLOUISESTORY said...

someday I will learn to proof - sorry for the typos

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Dear Weaver of Grass, before I as usually, read your latest post I want to thank you for your comment on Rain...I finished reading the whole collection today, and I enjoyed many poems in it, especially For Once and Rain, but considering my post I then ask you:
Is the poem "Unfold" made of two blank pages also in your copy?

Heather said...

It's amazing how many words there are in the English language which describe the same thing. It must make life very hard for those trying to learn our language.

Titus said...

Has anyone said "burn" yet?

John Gray jgsheffield@hotmail.com said...

love the small gate photo below. lovely blog thank u

Cloudia said...

I grew up with "creeks" and the "Schuylkill River" named by the Dutch back in Pennsylvania.

Interestingly, only our oldest isle, Kauai, is aged enough to have a navigable river...


Aloha, Friend!


Comfort Spiral

Bernie said...

England has so many interesting names for creeks or as someone said in their comment "krick" which is the it most commonly is pronounced by farmers and in cowboy western films:) Great post.

n2theblue said...

in texas we usually say "creek," but my mother's childhood home in east texas has a spring-fed stream that the family always referred to as "the branch."

(hi weaver, i see i've missed a lot of lovely posts. i'm so glad you made a book of your poetry -- and it's just lovely! what a precious gift to your family. if you ever decide to publish, i want one.)

Reader Wil said...

A stream in Dutch:
1. stroompje( little "stroom")
2. riviertje( little "rivier")
3. beek(je) we use a lot of diminutives like "-pje", "-tje", "-je. You will recognize the word "stroom" for stream, "rivier"for river, "beek"for beck.
I hope you are satisfied, Weaver! Have a great rest van de week.

Granny Sue said...

In West Virginia, we have runs--called this, I was told, because sometimes they run and sometimes they don't. Wet-weather streams, I suppose you could say. These usually start at the "head" of the hollow, often from a spring nestled into the side of the mountain, although sometimes they are just run-off from the higher elevations.

We also have "licks"--a lick is a spring with salt water that attracts wildlife. Early settlers would boil down water from the licks to get their salt.

Amy said...

This might be a stretch, but when I read your post I thought of the acequias in New Mexico. Likening it to a canal or flume, in the West water is so precious that often water ways have to be constructed to utilize the precious commodity.

Thanks for increasing my vocabulary as I've never heard of "beck" before!

Coastcard said...

Me again! Thank you for your message, Weaver. I have been up to my proverbial ankles, sliding deeper and deeper into these fascinating watery tributaries (another one there, perhaps!) of local 'stream' words.

I've jogged my memory for some, having lived - or had relations living - in a variety of rural settings from Cornwall to Scotland (north to south) and Wales to Norfolk (east to west).

I have found out quite a bit about other 'stream' words (far too much!), so will give you the short list here, with a view to doing a post on my blog for tomorrow. Hope that sounds OK?

Here goes:-

* Dulais ('dark stream') – itself a combination of ‘du’ + ‘glais’

Think of Dawlish on the Devon coast or Aberdulais Falls, not far from my Swansea home.

* Nant ('stream') - we come across this in my Welsh neck of the woods, particularly when we see those fabulous blue glass bottles of Tynant spring water, 'ty-nant' meaning 'house by the stream'. Nantgaredig means ‘gentle stream’ and Nantyglo is the ‘stream of the coal’.

* Tyllgoed/Fairwater, near Cardiff: recorded as Tull Coit c.1150, is the name for a stream that burrows through the woods. Its sweet waters are described as bella aqua, Latin for fair water.

* Cil - presumably as in Cilgerran - is the source of a stream: ‘nook, narrowing, source of stream'...

As I say, I will post more for tomorrow at Coastcard. Can't wait to see your list, Weaver!

Studio Sylvia said...

In Australia, we have river, stream, creek and tributary, a stream that joins a larger stream. We also have billabong, a waterhole formed by a side channel of a river, in the wet season. We have dry rivers, most notably the Todd River, near Alice Springs in the Northern territory, which is usually dry and then floods in the wet season.

acornmoon said...

A babbling brook by any other name would sound as sweet.

Rachel Fox said...

At school in North Yorkshire we were thrown in the local beck on our birthdays! And our school mag was 'Beckside'.

Now it's burns I suppose...burns all the way.

x

The Weaver of Grass said...

You are an amazing lot! Shall now spend the evening looking all these words up, looking at their derivation and getting ready to post the results tomorrow. See you then - and thanks for such a response.

BT said...

Oh now I have to remember for tomorrow!! Others seem to have posted their answers today! I would say stream or beck, but most likely brook, a London word (my mother was from Yorkshire though, so I suppose she used beck).

Robin Mac said...

Here in Australia we usually call a small stream a creek, I like beck much better!

Helsie said...

Down here in Oz we call a running stream a creek.
If you come upon a body of still water, too small to be a lake it's called a billabong ( yes like the jolly swagman camped by).
I love all the different terms for creeks. We learnt of them at school when we studied poetry- or we did in my day. Don't know whether they still study the old poets any more.
Helen

dinesh chandra said...

nice post.

Regards

dinesh chandra

ArtPropelled said...

Here we talk about a spruit, which is the Afrikaans word for a stream and the zulus call a river, umfula and a stream umfulana