In this excerpt, Roald Dahl discusses some of the words Patricia Neal invented while recovering from her devastating brain injury. He later used these words as inspiration for the BFG’s language.

Citation: My Wife, Patricia Neal (1965, September 22). The Australian Women’s Weekly (1933 – 1982), p. 4. Retrieved September 30, 2017, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article46240060

Her speech is coming back now, but she still has plenty of trouble finding the words. When she can’t find the ones she wants, she invents others.

Some of them are better words than the ones we use ourselves, and I have been noting them down very carefully. Here is a typical conversation:

The time is 6 p.m. Four or five of us are sitting around having a drink, smoking.

Pat: “Listen, will someone get me another . . . another sooty swatch.”

“A what?”

Pat: “Oh, you know – a soapdriver.”

“You want a big soapdriver or a small one?”

Pat: “Oh, come on! You know quite well what I want.”


Pat: “A red hairdryer.”

“You want another drink, don’t you?”

Pat: “That’s right! A drink! A drink!”

“Why didn’t you say so?”

Pat: “You make me skitch, that’s what you do. You give me the sinkers.”

And then later?

Pat: “I want a . . . a . . . I want an oblogon.”

“Somebody get Pat an oblogon.”

Pat: “Now stop it! I don’t mean an oblogon. I mean a … a … a crooked steeple. I’ll go crazy if I don’t have one. I’ll jake my dioddles.”

So we give her a cigarette.