The L-Space Web: Analysis

English Dialects in Modern British Fiction

"Ach Crivens": The Language of the Wee Free Men

Written by Wibke Sawatzki

Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz


  1. Introduction
  2. Language Composition / Definition of Terms
    1. Gaelic
    2. (Old) Scots
    3. Glaswegian
  3. Lexicon of the Feegle Language
    1. General Usage of Words
    2. Names
  4. Development of the Feegle Language
  5. Conclusion
  6. References
  7. Appendix


"Nae King! Nae Quin! Nae laird! Nae master!" Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men

In his novel Carpe Jugulum, British fantasy author Terry Pratchett introduces a race of little men that we come to know, among other names, as (Pratchett 2000: 182/183) "Nac mac Feegle", in this paper referred to as Nac Mac Feegle or Feegles.

The Feegles play an important role in Pratchett's children's book series around Tiffany Aching (Pratchett 2004 - 2006). What makes them interesting for linguistic studies is their very unusual, artificial language (herein referred to as Feegle Language).

The aim of this paper is to analyse Feegle Language, concentrating on the lexicon, to find out how Feegle Language is composed, which words from which language are used, and how it develops in the course of the four books.

The analysis is mainly based on The Annotated Pratchett File (APF), which, though it is no scientific work and should therefore be viewed critically, gives valuable hints made by native speakers about the origin of words and phrases. The information taken from the APF is confirmed by other works such as

Dictionaries used for the analysis are listed in the "Reference" section.

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