A Manx A-B-C-Dery
An Alphabetical Tour of the Isle of Man
Written by Sara Goodwins
Twenty-six attractions to visit, one for each letter of the alphabet. The numbers 1-10 get a look in too…
“In Ramsey, two Viking Kings of Mann, father and younger son play chess.”
A Manx A-B-C-Dery, page 26
Looking at something familiar from a different angle often makes you notice different things about it. That's really how this book started. Twenty-six attractions, one for each letter of the alphabet, and scattered all over the island. Just choosing what would represent each letter caused a lot of discussion and sparked off ideas.
Because of the exigencies of the Manx language (see below) we were occasionally manoeuvred into having to use attractions which we've mentioned in our other books. Rather than repeat everything we said then (boring!) we made the effort to nose out other facts about them. Not only did we learn a lot, it was also far more interesting for us, and hopefully for readers too.
Our Hoofprint books are just the right length to have a page for every letter of the alphabet, so it seemed obvious that's what we should do. However, we had a page or two left over. What to put on them? Then the senior partner had the brilliant idea of adding the numbers 1-10 as well. The Isle of Man has 1 Wildlife Park, 2 castles, 3 legs...
And for those of you who are wondering about how to pronounce the title, just say 'abc' and add 'dery' at the end. Try it, it works beautifully.
More difficult than we thought
It sounded so simple to start with. Somewhere different on the island for each letter of the alphabet. What we hadn't taken into account was the Manx language.
Obviously, names of things on the Isle of Man are in Manx, and different letters have different importance in the Manx language. Compared with English, for example, C and K occur very frequently at the start of names, Y very little. Not only that, at least one letter doesn't appear in traditional Manx Gaelic at all. Until recently, X had no place in the Manx alphabet: Manx was spelt Manks.
All these linguistic differences meant that several of the letters offered something of a challenge, to say the least. There is only one place of any significance on the island which begins with I, for example. And, as you can imagine, we had to be creative with X! (No prizes for guessing how we did it.)
We ended up juggling our wish to make the book interesting and not merely a repetition of all that had gone before, with the fact that some letters only really had one or two possibilities. However you can't have a silver lining without having a cloud, and the challenges meant that we discovered information and attractions which we previously didn't know about.
We think it made a better book - see what you think.
Copyright 2017 Loaghtan Books. All rights reserved.