The changing landscape and economy of the west Midlands can also be traced through language. Some words are related to early farming methods, such as clod-hopper (Herefordshire), meaning a cart-man, and clod-hopping (Warwickshire), meaning to drive a plough.
Traditional methods of threshing are often discussed in the west Midlands recordings. Threshing is the process by which grain is separated from the stalk of the wheat, oats or barley – traditionally by beating it with a flail or threshel. The fieldworkers found lots of different dialect words related to threshing. The short pieces of straw left behind after threshing were known as rissom in Staffordshire, cavings in Herefordshire, and rowings in Worcestershire. In Shropshire and Staffordshire, a flail was known as a swipple or a swopple, while thunk was a word recorded in Hartlebury (Worcestershire) for the leather part of a threshel – who’d have thunk it!