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Harry Boyde

Epithet: Native Manx speaker (1873-1953)

Record type: Biographies

Biography: “I am from Ballaugh…I was working on the land all my days…Thinning turnips and spreading manure and setting potatoes, that’s the thing I was doing…” (Harry Boyde)

Harry Boyde had always worked as a farm labourer, he had only been to the fishing for one or two nights in all his years but it made him so sick he never went out again. It became apparent during a conversation with another native speaker, John Kneen, that Harry had not travelled far from Ballaugh. On his 80th birthday he was taken to have tea at The Lhen café - five or six miles from his home. He later told John Kneen… “I was not ever there before. I was hearing people talking about that place and I did not ever see it… Aw it is a good place.”

Leslie Quirk, who visited Harry as a Manx student, recalls that Harry had some pronunciations and phrases that were unusual and went back a long way. “In his day he must have been a wonderful Manx speaker, but had got a bit rusty. He was a very local man, he just used the language but never delved into it in any way.”

Gender: Male


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