Dialect in British Fiction: 1800-1836Funded by The Arts and Humanities Research CouncilSupported by The University of Sheffield
Full record including Speech Extracts
Sketches of Character, or Specimens of Real Life. A novel, in three volumes.
Author Details
Author Name:Unknown
Gender:Male
Anonymous:Yes
Publication Details
Publisher:Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, Paternoster-Row; B. Crosby, Stationer's-Court; and J. Lansdown, Bristol, by Mills & Co. St Augustine's-Back, Bristol.
Place:London
Date:1808
Novel Details
Genre:Courtship; domestic; inheritance/identity; manners/society; satirical
Setting:Bath; London; Devon; country house
Period:Contemporary
Plot
This is a mild satire on polite society, centred on the family and social connections of Lord and Lady Aucherley. There is much focus on etiquette and social mores (which are highly valued by the Aucherleys), yet this is consistently undermined by encounters with less aristocratic - and less accomplished - branches of the family. The in-laws, Simmonds, with their nine daughters on the marriage market, are depicted as redeemable (particularly under the tutelage of Lady Aucherley), while the extended family - the Grimshaws - are beyond the reach of social improvements. Visits, shopping, balls, masques, and other social events take place in Bath and London, providing many opportunities for critique and commentary on characters' social standing and behaviour. An incongruous ending seems in prospect when the now-widowed Lady Aucherley's own children choose inappropriately endowed partners, but all is restored to propriety with a series of fortuitous coincidences (wealthy West Indies connections, foundling inherits and so on).
Overview of the Dialect
There is lots of representation of rapid speech phenomena, even with upper class characters (so Lady Ancherly says things like 'Twill put the colonel in good humour' (Vol 2, p. 34)) and much use of 'tis'. An old woman at masque introduces herself as 'auld nuss Crofts' from Exeter (p. 213). 'Ignorant' Mrs Mansell uses 'like' as a discourse marker and there is some interesting metalanguage about her 'poverty of language'). Pat O'Reilly uses stereotypically Irish features.
Displaying 8 characters from this novel    |    Highlight dialect features in each extract    |    Do not highlight dialect features in each extract
Speaker #1:Mrs Mansell - Partygoer and socialite
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Mrs Mansell
Gender:Female
Age:Adult - middle aged
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Minor
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Partygoer and socialite
Social Role Category:Aristocracy or gentry
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Assume local to Bath, although not specified in text
Place of Origin Category:Bath, Somersetshire, South West England, England
Extract #1 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Mrs Mansell
Extract #2 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Mrs Mansell
Speaker #2:Captain Patrick O'Reilly - Military
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Captain O'Reilly
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Peripheral
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Military
Social Role Category:Military
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Ireland
Place of Origin Category:Ireland
Extract #1 dialect features:
Extract #2 dialect features:
Speaker #3:Maria and Anna - Daughters of merchant merchant
Individual or Group:Group
Primary Identity:Grimshaw sisters
Gender:Female
Age:Adult - young
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Significant
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Daughters of merchant merchant
Social Role Category:Trade or craft
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Assume London
Place of Origin Category:London, South East England, England
Speaker #4:Narrator (third person) - Individual
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Narrator (third person)
Gender:Unknown
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Peripheral
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:
Social Role Category:
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:
Place of Origin Category:Unspecified
Speaker #5:Sir Caesar Devereux - Baronet
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Baronet
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Minor
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Baronet
Social Role Category:Aristocracy or gentry
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Unspecified, assume England
Place of Origin Category:England
Extract #1 dialect features:
Extract #2 dialect features:
Extract #3 dialect features:
Speaker #6:Mrs Grimshaw - Widow of shopkeeper
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Mrs Grimshaw
Gender:Female
Age:Adult - middle aged
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Minor
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Widow of shopkeeper
Social Role Category:Trade or craft
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:Born in London
Place of Origin Category:London, South East England, England
Extract #1 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Mrs Grimshaw
Extract #2 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Mrs Grimshaw
Extract #3 dialect features:
Speaker #7:West Indian servant - Servant
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:West Indian servant
Gender:Male
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Peripheral
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Servant
Social Role Category:Servant
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:West Indies
Place of Origin Category:Caribbean
Speaker #8:Mrs Hancock - Sister of Mrs Grimshaw, so assume similar social category (i.e. wife of shopkeeper)
Individual or Group:Individual
Primary Identity:Housewife
Gender:Female
Age:Adult - unspecified age
Narrative Voice:3rd person
Role:Minor
Dialect Features:

Social Role
Social Role Description:Sister of Mrs Grimshaw, so assume similar social category (i.e. wife of shopkeeper)
Social Role Category:Trade or craft
Speaker's Origin
Place of Origin Description:London
Place of Origin Category:London, South East England, England
Extract #1 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Mrs Hancock
Extract #2 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Mrs Hancock
Extract #3 dialect features:
Speakers: All , Mrs Hancock
Displaying 8 characters from this novel    |    Highlight dialect features in each extract    |    Do not highlight dialect features in each extract
Version 1.1 (December 2015)Background image reproduced from the Database of Mid Victorian Illustration (DMVI)