As a Manchester blow-in, I’m constantly bemused by the variety of names used in the area for bread rolls.
Yes, I said bread rolls.
That’s not in any way confusing or baffling, is it? No. There are no misunderstandings when I call them bread rolls.
You picture a roll made of bread – likely filled with sausages, or bacon, or something equally delicious.
But here in the North West, the linguistic traps awaiting those of us seeking sustenance are everywhere.
“Do you want it in a muffin, love?” they ask in shops.
Or in chippies: “How about a cob with that?”
Sometimes I’m even offered a ‘barm’ – and believe me, it’s enough to make you barmy.
Hilariously, during a recent Lovin Manchester discussion, there were almost punches thrown as none of us were able to agree on the name of those little round doughy shapes.
And after a quick Google, we discovered that there are as many as 18 different terms for the beloved bread roll across the country.
A survey by Linguistics researchers at Manchester University found in 2014 that these were the most commonly used terms:
- Roll – 36%
- Bap – 18%
- Bun – 16%
- Barm – 14%
- Muffin – 5%
- Cob – 5%
- Teacake – 5%
The Village Bakery wrote on the report: “They found that the term ‘roll’ has spread from its roots in the South East to be used throughout the country with more than one third of those who responded choosing it, although the majority of these were still in the South.”
And they added: “Bap, bun and barm complete the top four terms used and were all mainly found in the North.”
I stand by the term ‘roll’ or, at a push, ‘bap’ – because it’s easy and understood wherever you go.
Not like these other frankly made-up terms, which are just colloquial words to trip up non-natives.
But, on the other hand – as long as you shove it full of gorgeous sausages or bacon and slather them with brown sauce or ketchup, I don’t suppose it matters what you call it.
Have your say in our survey.