Posts from 13th March 2008

Mar 08

Tetheradick, Metheradick, Bumfit

FT4 comments • 1,073 views

This is something I wanted to talk about on last night’s Lollards but didn’t get around to, to do with lost languages of the UK. ‘Yan Tan Tethera’ were counting rhymes used by shepherds in the North West of England, and South Scotland. They faded away around the start of the 20th century, but traces of them remain. I know very little about them, aside from the fact that they possibly descend from an extinct tongue in the Brythonic Celtic language family called Cumbric – which could be a separate language, or could be a dialect of Welsh that escaped from Wales. Either way Cumbric died a death many centuries ago, leaving very little behind. Yan Tan Tethera however, do survive, in written form at least. Each one is a system for counting to 20, often using rhyming pairs. There’s a lot of variations to the general theme, a result of the traditionally non-mobile nature of rural communities:

Bowland – Yain, Tain, Eddera, Peddera, Pit, Tayter, Layter, Overa, Covera, Dix, Yain-a-dix, Tain-a-dix, Eddera-a-dix, Peddera-a-dix, Bumfit, Yain-a-bumfit, Tain-a-bumfit, Eddera-bumfit, Peddera-a-bumfit, Jiggit

Weardale – Yan, Teyan, Tethera, Methera, Tic, Yan-a-tic, Teyan-a-tic, Tethera-tic, Methera-tic, Bub, Yan-a-bub, Teyan-a-bub, Tethera-bub, Methera-bub, Tic-a-bub, Yan-tic-a-bub, Teyan-tic-a-bub, Tethea-tic-a-bub, Methera-tic-a-bub, Gigget

Wensleydale – Yain, Tain, Eddero, Peddero, Pitts, Tayter, Later, Overro, Coverro ,Disc, Yain disc, Tain disc, Ederro disc, Peddero disc, Bumfitt, Bumfitt yain, Bumfitt tain, Bumfitt ederro, Bumfitt peddero, Jiggit

Coniston – Yan, Taen, Tedderte, Medderte, Pimp, Haata, Slaata, Lowra, Dowra, Dick, Yan-a-Dick, Taen-a-Dick, Tedder-a-Dick, Medder-a-Dick, Mimph, Yan-a-Mimph, Taen-a-Mimph, Tedder-a-Mimph, Medder-a-Mimph, Gigget

Tong – Yan, Tan, Tether, Mether, Pick, Sesan, Asel, Catel, Oiner, Dick, Yanadick, Tanadick, Tetheradick, Metheradick, Bumfit, Yanabum, Tanabum, Tetherabum, Metherabum, Jigget

There’s a whole load more varieties on wikipeddera-a-dix.

They bring to mind Eeny Meeny Miny Moe, although there is no element of choosing with yan tan tetherae – just counting. Eeny Meeny Miny Moe comes in many forms, so it is not that odd that I was brought up on a slightly different version to the one most people seem to know. I’ve not come across many people using this version, although I believe it is a South East/ South thing – this source suggests Warwickshire and is slightly different to the one I know, and this one suggests London, and I grew up in Oxfordshire, which would be in the middle. Interestingly, in the first source I mention, a version for the West of London rhyme has ‘kethera’ in it, which has clear phonetic similarities with the Northern rhymes. So, to conclude, does anyone else know this version at all?

eena deena dina dos


catler, weena, weina, woss more »

Europop 2008: Group A – Switzerland 3 Czech Republic 1

FT28 comments • 940 views

The international festival of pop is AT LAST upon us! Europop 2008 opens with Switzerland vs Czech Republic, both teams stripped for action. Here’s the podcast for you to hear the tracks – you’ll find managerial analysis, commentary and an opportunity to vote below the cut.


A white season

FTPost a comment • 422 views

Revealing post on Troubled Diva showing the respective most-played-artists on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2 and 6Music, as revealed by – ‘urban’ station 1Xtra’s stats are in the comments boxes, which focus on a telling observation Marcello C makes about the racial balance (or not) of the lists.

From a marketing point of view, two things spring out:


Twisty little passages – mazes re-solved

FT2 comments • 1,205 views

Maze War is the grand-daddy of not only first-person shooters, but also networked multi-player games like World of Warcraft. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are mazes in WoW, Second Life etc, as they are the nursey-slopes for 3D environment creating. I doubt they feature highly in such games.

The persistence of mazes in the text adventure genre of computer games is due perhaps for two reasons. Mazes seem to have an affinity with things literary – they can be used metaphorically or as entities in a magical realist settings, in ways that wouldn’t cohere in more ‘realist’ graphically-oriented game. There is also the metaphor of ‘story as maze’ of which Borges ‘Garden of Forking Paths’ is the most well known.

More importantly, the genre just seems to attract game designers who like mazes as mazes, and as a historical ‘in joke’. In Graham Nelson’s Designer’s Manual he puts it bluntly: “it is designers who like mazes … players do not like mazes.” I would also go along with his description of mazes as the ‘locked room’ of text adventures. Provide a novel solution, and you please everyone.

So it goes that in modern text adventures, mazes in name and appearance only often have peculiar and map-free solutions:

* an unsolvable maze – you


QUIZ: kidlit is a genre dead as dead can be!

The Brown Wedge13 comments • 420 views

Alicia in Terra Mirabili
Aliciae Per Speculum Transitus (Quaeque Ibi Invenit)
Cattus Petasatus
Ferdinandus Taurus
Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis
Ieremia Piscatore
Maria Poppina
Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaverit
Virent Ova! Viret Perna!!
Tela Charlottae
Walter Canis Inflatus
Winnie Ille Pu

(there are 31 titles listed on amazon in this subsection: i left out all the asterixes as they don’t count) (most of the above are fairly easily guessable — one requires actual real latin vocab and a bit of gumption)