sarnie

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sarnie

Post by Archived Topic » Fri Jun 25, 2004 5:32 pm

My parents left London to work abroad in 1962 and returned when they retired in the late 1980s. They mentioned recently that they had never been aware of the word "sarnie", meaning "sandwich", before they left the UK and that it was now in common usage. Is it a Northern expression which has travelled South, or a working-class slang expression which has moved, as it were, up-market?

Simon Beck
London, UK
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sarnie
Posted on: 23 Sep 2008 09:16
I didn't want to highjack Jerry's thread so I thought I'd ask here. Tony, a "sarnie"? I've never heard that one before. Is it a specific type of sandwich or just a generic term? Over here we would have a "sangie (hard G), or a sammy. I can only assume that both of these come from the strange mispronunciations "sangwich" and "samwich". "Sammy" is more likely to be used by a kid or when talking to a kid. I love a good roast beef sangy. My daughter loves a good PB&J (peanut butter and jam or jelly) sammy.

trolley
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sarnie

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jun 25, 2004 5:46 pm

Inhabitants of Ulan Bator think "sandwich" is bizarre.Tell
WHERE this was heard. Get a clue Nancy Drew.
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sarnie

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jun 25, 2004 6:01 pm

According to the OED, the use of "sarnie" popped up in 1961 and is believed to be from a northern England dialectical pronunciation of "sand" from "sandwhich."
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sarnie

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jun 25, 2004 6:15 pm

It is truly amazing what the English will put on or between slices of bread!

Leif, Eatonville, WA, USA
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sarnie

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jun 25, 2004 6:29 pm

What's the difference between a sarnie and a crusty bread sandwich??
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Re: sarnie

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:41 pm

John [a.k.a. trolley], Here’s what a few sources had to say on the subject:

OXFORD DICTIONARY OF SLANG by John Ayto

SARNIE (1961) From colloquial and northern pronunciation of sandwich
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A DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH by Eric Partridge (1989) edited by Paul Beale)

SARNIE: A sandwich: Probably originally Army, since the early 20th century; in later 20th century more generally colloquial. Cf. synonyms Australian sammo, sanger.
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THE NEW PARTRIDGE DICTIONARY OF SLANG AND UNCONVENTIONAL ENGLISH (2006) edited by Dalzell & Victor)

SARNIE; SANNIE noun UK 1961: A sandwich. [Reduced from an upper-crust pronunciation of ‘sandwich.’ In Glasgow a ‘sannie’ is preferred]. [[This would seem to answer Simon Beck's above question from days of yore]]
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CASSELL’S DICTIONARY OF SLANG by Jonathon Green

SARNIE noun (also SARMY) [1960s and still in use]: A sandwich. [abbreviation]

SARNIE noun (also SARNEY, SARNY. A sandwich. [abbreviation]
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OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY

SARNIE slang [Probably from sarn-, representing colloquial or (northern dialect) pronunciation of initial element of sandwich.
<1961 “SARNIES, sandwiches.”—A dictionary of slang and Unconventional English (Supplement) by Eric Partridge, page1259/1>

<1966 SARNEYS, ABNABS, sandwiches”—Lern Yerself Scouse by F. Shaw et al, page 39>

<1973 “Most people clamour for tea and SARNIES within an hour, but I'm funny where dope's concerned.”—The Observer (London), 22 April, page 27/5>

<1980 “Questions like the protein content of bacon butties . .. and the vitamin rating of corned beef SARNIES.”—The Times (London), 11 September, page 8/1>

<1994 “We all loved it. Nice big crumb tray and toasted SARNIE maker.”—The Independent (London), 2 January>

<2000 “Give that lunch-time SARNIE the elbow and try the healthy Japanese option instead. Sushi is low in fat, high in protein, . . .”—The Mirror (London), 4 January>

<2004 “Girl , 19 Killed by Her SARNIE. Pals see her collapse: . . . It is believed she suffered an allergic reaction to something in the sandwich.”—Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland), 29 April>

<2008 “The combination of big waves and tiny boat and diesel fumes and the skipper's enthusiastic munching of an aromatic bacon SARNIE, made my head spin like a classroom globe, and since then I've tried to avoid small sea-going craft.”—Yorkshire Post (U.K.), 1 April>
Interestingly enough, in a dictionary on the language of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, the veracity of which I can’t vouch for, I found the following morsel:

SARNIE = shingle.

Hmm! The Hobbit was published in 1937 and the Lord of the Rings in 1954-1955, and there is lots of other Tolkien stuff that predates the above 1961 quote. I’m no Tolkien expert, but it sure seems that if this dictionary is correct, there might be a connection between Tolkien’s ‘SARNIE = shingle’ and the English dialect for ‘sandwich.’
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Ken – September 23, 2008
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Re: sarnie

Post by trolley » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:12 pm

Ken, your Tolkien reference does make a bit of sense. It was the “r” that got me wondering. I can easily see sammo, sanger, and sannie. I was thinking that, maybe the “r” isn’t really pronounced. I can imagine, with a certain British accent, sandwich might be pronounced more like “saundwich” and the short-form would be more like “saunie”. From there it would be a fairly short backwards/sideways step to sarnie with that “w” or “u” sound for the “r”. Unless, of course, it is pronounced saRnie, in which case I’m out of ideas.
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Re: sarnie

Post by Tony Farg » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:04 am

I had always believed that sarnie originated in the Liverpool area, where abbreviations ended with "ie" "o" or "y" are common.
e.g."cozzy" (swimming costume)
Ringo (Starr)
can't think of any more, but I know there are loads
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Re: sarnie

Post by Bobinwales » Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:36 am

If asked I would have said Scouse too Tony.

Ken quoted
<1966 SARNEYS, ABNABS, sandwiches”—Lern Yerself Scouse by F. Shaw et al, page 39>
Back in the 60s during The Mersey Beat era using Liverpool expressions was highly fashionable, for instance, "D'ya see that grotty bird?" which translates as "Are you aware of that rather plain young lady?". I first became aware of sarnie at that time.
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Re: sarnie

Post by Shelley » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:51 pm

When the Liverpudlian, Paul McCartney, recorded "'Til There Was You", he sang:

There were birds on (a/the) hill,
But I never SOAR them winging.
No, I never SOAR them at all,
'Til there was you.

I agree with the notion that there is a dialectical "r" sound inserted in "aw" words like "saw" or "sawndwich".
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Re: sarnie

Post by Phil White » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:53 pm

Ken Greenwald wrote: Interestingly enough, in a dictionary on the language of J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth, the veracity of which I can’t vouch for, I found the following morsel:

SARNIE = shingle.

Hmm! The Hobbit was published in 1937 and the Lord of the Rings in 1954-1955, and there is lots of other Tolkien stuff that predates the above 1961 quote. I’m no Tolkien expert, but it sure seems that if this dictionary is correct, there might be a connection between Tolkien’s ‘SARNIE = shingle’ and the English dialect for ‘sandwich.’
I suspect you seek here in vain. "Sarnie" is the Quenta equivalent of the Sindarin "sern" meaning a small pebble, i.e. as in a "shingle beach" rather than the stuff that looks like slices of bread that you guys the other side of the pond use to clad and roof your houses with. Much of Tolkien's inspiration for Quenta comes from Finnish with a smattering of Germanic, but I have no possible etymology for "sarnie" or "sern".
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Re: sarnie

Post by Phil White » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:22 pm

I'm having huge trouble getting my head round the idea that this somehow came from Scouse. Even though Scouse is one of the fastest shifting accents in the UK (just compare a recording of George Harrison with one of Steve Gerrard), the /æ/ phoneme in sandwich has, as far as I can see, always been pretty well identical between Scouse and RP.

The shift from /æ/ to /ɑr/ (backing with rhoticization) is, however, absolutely typical of many West Country dialects. My guess is that the roots are in the West Country of England.

There could be other candidates such as Norfolk, but I can't think that any northern accent does it.
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Re: sarnie

Post by Ken Greenwald » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:52 pm

Phil, Acch! Well I’ll be a son of a beach – shingled again.

Shelley, One of my stepmother’s pet projects in my formative years was to try to break me of some of my more heinous New York City speech manglings. Two of her biggies were for me to learn to put the ER ending back in such words as MOTHA, FATHA, SISTA, BROTHA, SOUPA (short for superintendent of an apartment building), PAYPAH for paper, . . . and to realize that certain other words actually contained no R – it’s ‘saw’ not SORE, ‘idea’ not IDEAR, ‘sofa’ not SOFER, ‘tuna’ not TUNER. . .

I’m still workin on it but gotta tell ya I probly shudda worked harda as a kid. But anyways I’m hearda tell ya that ovah the yeas I been sorta makin some progress and am now feelin betta about my manna of speakin. And ya know, I betcha in the next couplea years before ya even know it I’ll be soundin jus likea bonerfide newscasta!
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Ken – September 24, 2008
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Re: sarnie

Post by p. g. cox » Wed Sep 24, 2008 9:41 pm

My wife, an erstwhile Liverpudlian (God bless her cotton socks), is the first and only person I have ever heard use the term sarnie for a sandwich. Even after over 50 years of expatriation, to this day she still uses the word. Old habits die hard.
And Ken, my son in New Hampshire insists that there is no er in New England. I must concur, as once when asking directions from a local I was advised, "can't get theah from heah."
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Re: sarnie

Post by tony h » Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:14 pm

Just a thought. as a large sandwich can be a doorstep. Is it unreasonable to consider a varient to be a sarn-ie. A sarn being a pavement.
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