Riddley Walker - Notes on the dialect
edited March 30 in 119. (March 2023) Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban
I found this site of notes on Riddley Walker, including some notes on the dialect used in the book.
And talking of the dialect... I grew up in Sussex and my grandfather was a groundskeeper. I had some contact with older rural men who still spoke with a Sussex country accent. and that was late 70s, early 80s (the same time as the book was written). It was more like a West Country accent than the RP/Estuary accent you now associate with South-East England. But, I can definitely hear echoes of that accent in the dialect used in Riddley Walker.
It has been reminding me of the Suffolk accent which Ralph Fiennes uses in The Dig (a fictionalised retelling of the Anglo-Saxon ship discoveries at Sutton Hoo) - for non-UK residents, Suffolk is one of the East Anglian counties on the north side of the Thames Estuary, whereas Kent and Sussex, the focus of Riddley Walker, are to the south of the Thames.
Oddly enough, some of the filming for The Dig (in particular the posh house) took place at Shackleford in Surrey, not all that far west of the western borders of the RW map, and indeed not far from where I lived in my teenage years.
I think you mean "Kent and Sussex are south of the Thames."
Riddley Walker is set n Kent the far south-east of England ("Do It Over" on the map is Dover, as in White Cliffs of). Sussex is the next county west of Kent, also on the south coast. Surrey is on the north-west border of Sussex.
Thanks! Suitably edited...
Here's a clip of a Kentish accent. It starts a bit "Standard English" but the accent gets more pronounced as he goes on.