A Lincoln man with a fascination for “how we play with words and names” has created a colloquial map of Lincolnshire featuring affectionate and silly nicknames, including Stincoln, Granthrax, Slapding and Cleggy.
Topher Agar, 36, graduated from the University of Lincoln with a degree in Linguistics in 2005 and now works as a receptionist in the city.
During lockdown he started work on his latest project – the colloquial map of Lincolnshire – which is still ongoing and he wants to make it as comprehensive as possible.
To create it and to meet map inclusion criteria, Topher said names had to be used in various media in a natural context, such as ‘It’s a beautiful day here in (nickname)’.
Here’s the map so far in full. Please note some place nicknames include strong language.
Topher is still looking for help with finding nicknames for other towns and some smaller villages, including Brigg, Waltham, Barton, North Hykeham, Holbeach, Winterton, Keelby, Laceby, Caistor, Broughton, Kirton in Lindsey, Market Rasen, Crowle, Scampton, Colsterworth and Burgh le Marsh.
He told The Lincolnite: “I studied Linguistics, so I have a fascination for how we play with words and names. I had a focus on socio-linguistics too, so how different groups in society use language differently was also right up my alley.
“I am personally familiar with a couple of the nicknames and subsequently wondered if all other towns and villages had them.
“Upon some light scratching I found all the main centres did indeed have at least one more or less ‘established’ nickname.
“Then with deeper scratching, joining local forums and Facebook groups, it turned out pretty much every village had some colloquial way to refer to it.
“The nicknames are often ephemeral and very often restricted to certain demographics.”
Topher is hoping locals in Lincolnshire can help him fill in any missing pieces and complete the map, saying the feedback has been “largely positive so far”.
He added: “It’s been lovely seeing people come together and share what names they’ve heard in various forums.
“Occasionally someone will maintain with absolutism something like “I’ve lived here 25 years and literally no-one has ever said that nickname”. Then someone else typically comes along and says “Well I’ve lived here for several years and we always say it”.
“It is essentially highlighting how unaware we can be of the diverse groups in our towns and how different people use different language.
“There are still some villages missing, which I’m sure have nicknames, so if you know of any that aren’t on the map please let me know.”
In addition, Topher is also working on a similar map for the whole UK, which he said is “way more of a time undertaking than I thought, but richly fascinating and rewarding”.
In his spare time, Topher also enjoys playing in his newly formed band with three friends. They are in the process of trying to come up with a name for it.