viernes, 25 de diciembre de 2015

Bloofer Lady

In the novel Dracula, children are being abducted and returning with red bite marks on their necks. They claim that they were taken by the "bloofer lady." We later find out that the bloofer lady is Lucy Westenra, who has become Un-Dead after being bitten by a Dracula. As I was reading this story, I kept wondering why the children were calling her the "bloofer" lady. This term is mentioned several times, even in a newspaper article printed in the story.

I decided to do some searching on the internet to see if anyone has been able to define "bloofer lady." The consensus is that the term means "beautiful lady" in the cockney accents of the children. According to John Holbo of, "these accents have diphthongized the tense high back vowel [u:] ("oo" as in “boot") to [ɪʊ] ("ew", as in the common interjection of disgust “eewww!").  Together with the loss of postvocalic “r” in these accents, this means that the spelling “boofer” would be used to represent a child pronunciation of the type [bɪʊfə]—and this is indeed a very likely child form for the word “beautiful.” (In Cockney, the “t” of this word would be realized as a glottal stop, and the final “l” would be heavily vocalized or even lost, making [bɪʊ] even more plausible as a child pronunciation for the word.)."

This word is also used in a Dickens novel, Our Mutual Friend, though there is not an "l" in the word in that novel. Holbo says that Stoker likely added the "l" because he is intending to represent the speech of children of a higher social class.

Therefore, as I have now discovered, "bloofer" said in a child's cockney accents would sound like "byoo-fuh," which is baby-talk for beautiful. As is mentioned many times in Dracula, Lucy Westenra was very beautiful in life and in death (she was proposed to 3 times!), so it does make sense that the children that were kidnapped would describe her as beautiful or "bloofer."  

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario