Shall t’eat a <smite o’ summat, if I bring it thee>?

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 358, chapter 16) by Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Mellors said to Hilda in his dialect:‘As for cigarettes, I’ve got none, but ’appen(=perhaps) you’ve got your own. I dunna smoke, mysen(=myself). Shall y’ (=shall you) eat summat?’ )

He turned direct to Connie. Shall t’ eat a smite o’ summat, if I bring it thee? Tha can usually do wi’ a bite.’ He spoke the vernacular with a curious calm assurance, as if he were the landlord of the Inn.


I understand tha can usually do wi' a bite to be thou can usually manage with a bite, but what does the red sentence mean please?
No I paraphrase it as:
shall you(=t') eat a smite of summat(I totally don't know what it mean) if I bring it (to) you(=bring it thee).
Could you tell me how to comprehend this sentence please?
Thank you in advance


 
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    In current English we commonly say Will you eat a bit of something if I bring it (for) you? It refers to a bit of food.

    Most people wouldn't use shall here today. I suppose it is used here because eating the food is a natural consequence of bringing it.

    Definition of smite from the OED:
    2b. A small or least amount; a particle. U.S. and dial.
    1843 ‘R. Carlton’ New Purchase I. xix. 175 Not a smite of noise, only my breathing and a sort of pittinpattin sound of my heart!
    a1852 F. M. Whitcher Widow Bedott Papers (1856) v. 50 But it dident do a smite o' good.
    1913 D. H. Lawrence Love Poems 54 Eh, what a shame it seems As some should ha'e hardly a smite o' trouble An' others has reams.
     
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    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you two.
    Will you eat a bit of something if I bring it (for) you?
    But in the previous sentence in the background Shall y’ eat summat, y' stands for you, while in Shall t’ eat a smite o’ summat, t' stands for you.

    So many different yous?
    "You are usually hungry/ready to eat something."
    How did you figure out ready from do with please?
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    could do with, can do with ⇒ to find useful; benefit from: she could do with a night's sleep
    The dictionary definition doesn't quite cover the meaning in your context of someone feeling hungry.

    I could do with a cup of tea/a bite to eat
    - I'm ready for a nice cup of tea/a bite to eat - a cup of tea/a bite to eat is just what I want/need right now...
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    So many different yous?
    The choice between thou and you is complex. (In French, the corresponding choice between tu and vous is something of an art form in itself; and the same goes for many or most other European languages.)

    Thou is always singular, but most speakers even in Lawrence's day did not use it often, except to address God, or in quotations. You may indicate plurality, or may indicate respect, or may be an attempt to speak a more standard form of English. Of course we don't know to what extent Lawrence is adapting the natural speech of his characters for his purposes as an author ...
     
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