100 Years after his birth, we celebrate our love of Roald Dahl and share the A-Z of Gobblefunk.
Happy Birthday Roald Dahl
Go on, accuse us of jumping on the bandwagon, but we just couldn’t keep quiet. Today the whole online, offline, paper, telly, book and school world is celebrating Roald Dahl Day. 100 years since the birth of the greatest story teller ever.
There can be barely an adult or child whose life has not been enriched by the wonderful world of Dahl. Nothing held him back in his quest to take us with him right to the heart of the story. If a word didn’t say exactly what he wanted he’d bend it to the will of his imagination. Human beings became human beans to the giants in the BFG. A simple stroke of genius to layer the phrase with food associations – after all human beans are the staple diet of giants.
The Dark World of Dahl
Rather ghastly. But that’s Dahl all over. He could take us to some truly dark, gory places. Unlike most children’s authors, Dahl never patronised children with the notion that the world is a nice place. Children get eaten (BFG, Enormous Crocodile), transformed into mice (The Witches), blueberries (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), starved (James and the Giant Peach) and shrunk (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
A wonder that he got away with it. Wonderous that he did. Not since Grimm had a storyteller flirted so skilfully with fear and horror. But Dahl took it one step beyond. Into a world of magic realism in which a boy could exist inside a Giant Peach with a cast of characters borrowed from Lewis Carrol. Or a fox could outwit three vile farmers; Boggis, Bunce and Bean.
‘A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.’ – Roald Dahl
It might seem that his stories had nothing to do with real life but they contained more lessons than we could ever hope to cover here; that parents could let you down (Matilda), or what love looks like between father and son (Danny the Champion of the World), how humour, eccentricity and imagination sustain us far better than greed (every book he wrote).
Dahl’s greatest gift to the world though, are the generations of children who’ve grown up with a love of books, language and stories thanks to his marvellous creations. 100 years down the line and his popularity shows no sign of fading. That really is a gift that keeps on giving.
An A – Z of Gobblefunk
Gobblefunk is the language Dahl invented. Used most prolifically in the BFG , Gobblefunk was Dahl’s way of injecting more sensory play, pleasure and nonsense into his stories.
A is for Argy (a bit like an argument)
B is for Bagglepipes (bagpipes)
C is for Chiddlers (children)
D is for Dhal’s Chickens (aka Charles Dickens)
E is for Exundly (exactly)
F is for Filthsome (Yuck)
G is for Gobblefunk (the language of Roald Dahl)
H is for Human Beans (what giants call people)
I is for Inventing Room (Willy Wonka’s favourite place)
J is for Jiggered (beyond hope)
K is for Kickswitch (The BFG)
L is for Ladderless Window- Cleaning Company (The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me)
M is for Majester (the Queen)
N is for Natterboxes (People who talk a lot)
O is for Oompa-Loompa (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
P is for Prospoterous (ridiculous)
Q is for Quogwinkle ( an alien)
R is for Ringbeller (a brilliant dream)
S is for Snozzcumber (disgusting vegetable that the BFG eats)
T is for Time-Twiddler (someone immortal)
U is for Uckyslush (something inside some people that makes them unappetising to giants)
V is for Vermicious Knid (a really evil alien)
W is for Whizz-popping (Farts that come after drinking frobscottle)
X is for X-ray visions (The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar)
Y is for Yankee Doodles (accessed only through the Glass Elevator)
Z is for Zozimus (the stuff dreams are made from).
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