If you are coming to study or are currently studying at any Yorkshire university, the accent and dialect can be a little confusing and even like a different language sometimes. So a little treat from me, one of the most broadest Yorkshire women you will ever hear, I have written you a guide so you can finally understand what we are all saying.
There is a lot of glottal stopping in Yorkshire dialect and this is where the ‘t’ is dropped out of a word. For example, instead of saying “glottal”, it would be said as “glo’al”. The ‘t’ sound becomes more of a pause or a breath. This is not only common in Yorkshire slang, but others around the country, such as Cockney Rhyming Slang. It doesn’t just happen with a ‘t’, but also the ‘h’ at the beginning of words. Take my name as an example, whenever someone asks for my name or one of my Northern friends call me, they say “‘ope”.
Another dialect feature that is common in Yorkshire slang is the use of elision. This is when a word is missed out and replaced with just a sound or letter. For example, a common elision in Yorkshire is the phrase “t-other”, this is a combination of the words “the other”. The determiner “the” is dropped and replaced with the “t-” sound to shorten a sentence. Another example of missing out words is once Lily, Leana and I were walking through Sheffield and for some reason we got talking about how we all say The Lord of the Rings. Lily, who is from down South, said: “The Lord of the Rings”. Leana, who is from Sheffield, said: “Lord of the Rings”. Then there was me, from Barnsley, who said: “Lord uh Rings”.
Furthermore, TH-fronting is quite regular and this is when the ‘th’ sound in words, at the beginning or the end, is replaced with a ‘f’ sound. The word “three” would be pronounced as “free, the word “forth” would be pronounced as “forf”.
Common words, slang and pronunciations:
- “‘ey up” – This is a simple, friendly “hello”. It would be spelt as “hey”, however, as the ‘h’ is not pronounced it creates an ‘-ay’ sound. The ‘h’ is dropped when it starts a word, such as “‘at” for “hat”.
- “Nowt” – A simple and shorter version of the word ‘nothing’.
- “Owt” – The complete opposite of the previous word, this means “anything”. You will hear them in the phrase, “So, what ‘as tha been up t’ today, nowt or owt?”
- “Reyt” – This can either mean “really” or “very”. Like both words, it is placed in front of an adjective to emphasise it.
- “Shunt” and “Wunt” – Both are shorter versions of the contractions “shouldn’t” and “wouldn’t”.
- “Dint” – It can mean two things, the first being another version of the word “didn’t”. The second one is a replacement of the word “dent”, I personally say the word “dint”.
- “Cocka” and “Duck” – These are both terms of endearments, do not get offended it someone calls you either of them.
- “Morngy”, “Monk on” and “face on” – All three can be used to describe someone who is annoyed or is being moody.
- “Ta” – This one you might have heard a lot or used outside of Yorkshire even. It is a very common term for ‘thank you’ which you may hear paired with “Ta duck”.
- “Am” – No, this is not the time abbreviation or the preposition. Most of the time, it will mean “I’m” but will be said like “am”.
- “Ge-ore” – Slang for “give over” and said quite literally how I have spelt it.
- “Neet” – This is a term really broad Yorkshire people would use, it means “night” and is pronounced like “neat”.
- “Nar” – It is slang for now and you will probably most frequently hear it when someone says, “Nar then”.
- “Us” – This is normally a pronoun for a group of people, however, in Yorkshire you may hear someone say it in replacement of a singular pronoun, such as “Give it us here”.
- “Chuffed” – When a person is chuffed they are pleased or happy, I personally love to say that I am “Well chuffed“.
- “Natter” – This just means when you are having a chat with someone, a little quiet talk.
- “Summat” – Just like in the Arctic Monkeys song, it translates to “something”.
- “Ee by gum” – Not a phrase that is popular among the young Yorkshire community, but certainly something said by the older generation or as a joke. It is another way to say “Oh My God”.
- “Bray” – If you are going to “bray” someone then you are going to fight them. If you have been “brayed” then you have lost a fight, you have been beaten up.
- “Ah Say” – This is a way to get someone’s attention or announce that you want to state your opinion. Contrary to the way I have spelt it, ‘say’ would be said as if a Yorkshire person was to say ‘set’.
- “Sen” – It is how the suffix “self” is pronounced. So the word “myself” would be “misen”.
- “Faff” When something is a lot to deal with, something a little tricky or difficult, it is a faff.
- “Minging” – If something looks, tastes, feels or smells disgusting or you don’t like it, it is ‘minging’. It is another term for ‘disgusting’ or ‘off-putting’.
- “Mooch” – This means that you are going to have a look at something or look around somewhere. For example, if someone asks if you want to go into a shop, you would say, “Ok, let’s have a mooch“.
- “Bairn” – Just like “neet”, this is a word used by a very broad Northerner. It means ‘baby’, as in a child and not a term of endearment.
- “Sprag” or “grass” – Both these words mean telling someone off by going to a another person. For example, if your sibling went and told your mum something bad you did, they would be “spragging” or “grassing” on you.
- “Mither” – This is used when you are irritating someone, then you are “mithering” them.
- “Chelp” – If you are getting “chelpy” then you are talking back, giving some a bit of attitude.
- “Gip” – when you feel like you are about to be sick or the gagging motion you make when you wretch.
- “Darn” and “tarn” – Both are pronounced the same and “darn” means down and “tarn” means town. The ‘ow’ is replaced with an ‘ar’ sound, similar to the word “nar” mentioned earlier.
- “Tha” – Another very broad term used to say the pronoun “you”.
- “Bagsy” – to lay a claim to something, almost like calling shotgun.