English dialects in the Southwest of England

The Southwest or, to use a more traditional label, the West Country, has figured prominently in dialectological investigations for centuries. From a modern viewpoint, one can only guess at the reasons behind the considerable attention that has been attributed to West Country English, particularly in the 19th century. One of the major factors causing interest in the region certainly was its rural character and relative remoteness, which to a certain extent still survives to the present day. Traditionally, attributes such as "rustic" or "primitive" were associated with inhabitants of the West Country and their speech patterns. For the sake of simplicity, "the West Country" or "the Southwest" will be considered as a homogeneous linguistic area here. The core of this area is constituted by the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, and Wiltshire, while its boundaries are formed by the parts of the adjoining counties of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, and Herefordshire, which create a transition zone. Hampshire and Berkshire are not included; Berkshire is not often covered in studies of the Southwest, due to its "transitional nature", while Hampshire shows a high degree of mixture of features from the Southwest.

No. Feature Value