Some Yorkshire Words

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Our FlagWe must begin with the familiar Yorkshire motto:

See all, 'ear all, say nowt.
Eyt all, sup all, pay nowt.
An' if tha 'ivver does owt for nowt,
allus do it for thissen.

This Yorkshire language page was inspired by remarks on Facebook, then I thought it would be a good page on its own. Some of these words aren't exclusively Yorkshire but many are in common use in our South Yorkshire region. I have mostly picked those that I have heard of (or think that I have).

Abide (Suffer. "I can't abide him" = "He's insufferable")
(Earn, but 'Addled' can mean 'Confused')
(To go or to start doing something. "Come on, get agait!")
Allicker (Vinegar)
Allus (Every time, always)
Appen (Perhaps)
Appens as meb'be (It might happen)
Ayup (Very common word of flexible purpose. Typically: mild surprise, acknowlegement or greeting)

Bab or Cack (A child's word for faeces)
Babbiwark (Child's play or silly behaviour)
Back-end (Autumn)
Badly (Unwell)
Bahn (Leaving - "I'm bahn ooam" = "I'm going home")
Bairn - (Child. Same as in Scottish use)
Band (String. The rough sort of string might be called "'airy band")
Barmpot (Silly person)
Bleb (Blister)
Bletherin' (Jabbering, talking)

Bray (To bash. "Watch it or I'll bray thee" = "Be careful or I might hit you")
Brew or mashing (Some tea to drink. "I've put t' kettle on for a brew")
Broddle (To poke something or make holes)
Brussen (Arrogant. "Yon's a brussen bugger" = "He is an arrogant chap")
Bugger (Playfully derogative term. "Ya daft bugger")
Bugger All (Nothing)

Cack 'anded (Left-handed or clumsy)
(To bad-mouth someone. Usual pronunciation, rhymes with 'Hall')
(Having a natter, Gossiping. Rhymes with 'Mall')
Chelpin' (Jabbering, talking)
Chuddy (A modern term for Chewing gum)

Chuffed (Pleased)
Claht (Cloth or clothing. "Cast ne'er a claht, till May be out")
Cloth ears (Hard of hearing or tone-deaf)
Chip-oil (Fish and Chip shop)
Coil-oil (Coal cellar or outhouse for coal)

Deed (Dead)
(Sheffield people, reputed to pronounce 'Thee' and 'Tha' as 'Dee' and 'Da')
Dolly Blue (A little porous bag containing blue colouring, used for 'whitening' hand-washed clothes, etc.)
Dolly Peg (Device used to stir up clothing while being hand-washed in a Dolly Tub. Something like a three-legged stool on a long stick)
Dooer 'oil (Doorway)
Don, Doff (Put on 'don' or take off 'doff' shoes or clothes)

Een (Eyes)
Faffing (Dithering or procrastinating - "Stop faffin' abaht")
Fettle (Mend, tidy up)
Flaid (Afraid of)
Flummoxed (Baffled or confused)
Frame (To shape up, as in "Frame thi sen, lad" - Sort yourself out)
Frozzed (Suffering from the cold)

Gawp (To vacantly stare with an open mouth)
Gi' o'er (Pronounced "Gee ower" = "Give up doing that")
Glims (Spectacles)
Goz (saliva)
Goosegogs (Gooseberries)
Growler (Pork pie)
Gumption (Common sense)

Heeard tell (Had heard it said)
(Very tired)
Kali (Sherbet, pronounced as Kay-Lie)
Kecks (Trousers, also 'underkecks' for 'underwear')
Koo (Cow, similar to German 'Kuh')

Laikin' - (Old Norse = Playing. It can also mean skiving off work, with 'playing' as the opposite of working)
Lamp (To hit or assault - "I lamped him one")
Lig (Lay down)
Lip (to answer back)

Maungy ("Morn-jee" = contrary, moody and sullen)
Mardy (Same as "Maungy")
Manky (Dirty or Infected)
Mun ('Must'. "Tha mun get thi sen reight" = "You must get yourself right" = "I hope that your health improves")
Munt ('Mustn't' as above)
Mythering (Harrassing - "Gi o'er mytherin' that dog". Also used as crabby, weepy or cantankerous - "What's that bairn mytherin' about?")

Nark (Annoy)
(Grumble or talk)
(Peak or the front part of a cap)
(Sensitive to the cold. "Tha'r nesh" = "thy are nesh" = "You are sensitive to the cold")
Nipper (Child. "Our nip" might mean "My young brother")
Nobbut (Only. Nothing but)
Nowt ( Naught - Not aught - or Nothing. Rhymes with coat, but with a 'w'. In some northern areas rhymes with 'out' but not around here)

Ocker (Hesitate. "It's ockering to slart" = "It's trying to rain")
(Equine quadruped)
Our lass (Wife or girlfriend - "Ar lass")
Ovver or Ower (Over, O'er)
Owt (From the old word 'Aught' = Anything. Similar pronunciation to 'Nowt')

Parky (Chilly)
(Peas. sounds like 'weighs' with a 'P'. The natural companion for a growler)
Picking up (Improved health after an illness)
Pike (To watch something. In modern usage, 'pikers' observe 'dogging'. That will not be explained here)
Poised (Kicked up - "He poised his dog")
Posser (Device for stirring up clothes being hand-washed, usually in a 'Dolly Tub'. A holed, copper cup on a long stick.)
Pot-shelf (Facial expression of a truculent child, same as "He's got t' lip out")
Puther (smoke or fumes)

Radged (Tired)
Rive (to tear or rip out)
Rooer ('Roar' = tearful cry. "She wa' rooering like a bairn")
Rum 'n (A dubious character)

Sam (Gather. "He sammed up his winnings")
(Self - "Do it thi sen" = "Do it yourself")
Siling (Raining heavily. "It's siling it dahn")
Sithi ("See thee" - take notice)
Skeg (Have a look at)
Slart (Splash. Colloquially - 'rain')
Smidge (Small amount)
Snap (Worker's packed lunch)
Sneck (Catch on a door-latch, colloquially - a nose)

Snotty (A self-important person)
Sod-all (Nothing)
Spanish (Liquorice - from its supposed country of origin)
Spahs (Pronounced like sparse = spice = sweets)
Spugs (Sparrows)
Squitters (Diarroeah)
Stalled (Fed up or disappointed)
Stoup (A post in the ground. Pronounced 'stoop')
Summat (Something)

T'owd lass ('The old lass' = Mother)
Thack (Thatch, with a hard 'th')
Tha (You, "Tha munt do that!", meaning 'You must not do that'. 'Thee' would not work here)
Thee (you, single or plural, as in "What about thee?", 'What about you' but 'What about tha?' might also work)
Thi (Possesive 'Your' such as "Whear's thi coit?" meaning 'Where is your coat?')
Thrang (Busy or Thronged with people)
Threap (Argue)
Throstle (Song thrush)
Twonk (Idiot)
Tyke (Someone from God's Own County)

Umpteen (Many)
(It can mean 'us', 'ours' or 'me'. "What abaht us?" might mean "What about me?")
Utch (Snuggle. "Utch up" = "Snuggle up closer")
War (Worse, '-ar' pronounced as in 'far')

War - ('Worse', as in "War na owt" = "Worse than anything")
Wazzock (Derogitary term for Fool. "Yon's a wazzock")
While ('Until')
Whittle (Kid being mardy)
Wick (Infested with, or as lively as, insects)
Wooden overcoit (Coffin)
Yon (Yonder = over there, such as "Yon bugger")

Page Notes:

For further reading, an interesting, if unfathomable, 'Dialect of the Huddersfield Region' can be found on the Huddersfield Exposed website. It is not quite the dialect of our area but not too far removed. One oddity of Huddersfield people is that they usually pronounce 'Love' as "Lov" rather than "Luv". Also a List of Publications at the same site, some of which are free and can be downloaded, others are links to buy local books.

Our FlagThere was a story in a national newspaper that the word 'while' caused confusion at Barnsley railway crossing.
The sign said: "Do not cross the tracks while the lights are on."
In the Barnsley dialect, it had the opposite meaning: "Do not cross the tracks until the lights are on."

The Yorkshire dialect was strongly influenced by Scandinavian invaders, although it looks to have some similarities with 'Low German' or Friesian. There was an anecdote in The Dalesman magazine about two Yorkshiremen who needed overnight lodgings in a Danish town. They had trouble being understood. When, in exasperation, they lapsed into Yorkshire dialect, they were fully understood. They said that they wanted to 'lig out fo't neet'. Danish people know about 'lig' and 'neet'. In the same magazine there was a photo of a Danish sign near a children's play area. It used a word similar to the Yorkshire 'Laiking' to describe children playing.

A 'Yorkshire' Translator
From: Whoohoo - the Yorkshire 'Chicken Run' one. Not an accurate name, as the Wallace and Gromit cartoons were in Lancashire, not Yorkshire. That was near enough for southerners. The translator is fun but is not accurate. I tried this line from 'Ilkley Moor':

I puts in - "Where have you been since I last saw you?"
I gets out - "Wheear 'ev theur bin sin ah last saw theur?"

It should, of course, have read:
"Wheear as t'a bin sin ah saw thee?" (there are some regional variations in Yorkshire dialect)

Some Yorkshire sayings:

Tha Knows
'Nowt' (from 'naught') is pronounced more like 'knowt' than the usual 'nout' which imitators use. I have never, ever heard 'ee bah gum' said in normal conversation in Yorkshire but we do say ayup ('hey up') at every opportunity. It can be a universal greeting ("Ayup Dave, arrs tha doin?") or a mild exclamation of surprise. Aitches have been proved to be superfluous at the beginning of a word. Trust me ;~)

It is very odd when southern actors doing a Yorkshire accent can't do the glottal stop. They will say "going to pub" rather than "going to't pub", when the same interruption in sound is common in Estuary and Cockney English - "pu' the ke'ew on" or "ave you go' a new mo'ah?"

It crosses my mind how well Yorkshire words would work with text messages. 'Or8' is an accurate way to pronounce 'Alreight' (nobody says alreet). 'Look here' would, of course, be 'Cthi' and 'our lass' = 'Rlass'. The name of singer R Kelly always sounds like someone's sister, as in 'our Kelly'.

The Yorkshire Character
Some interesting remarks about Tykes, from various websites:

The Yorkshireman's Coit o' Arms
as explained by Mr AW Pope in The Spectator:

A Flea, a Fly, a Magpie, an' a Bacon Flitch,
Is t' Yorkshireman's coit-of-arms:
An' t' reason they've choszn these things so rich
Is becoss they hev all speshal charms,
A flea will bite whoivver it can,-
An' soa, my lads, will a Yorkshireman.
A magpie can talk for a terrible span,-
An' soa an' all, can a Yorkshireman.
A flitch is no goid whol it's hung, ye'll agree,-
No more is a Yorkshireman, don't ya see?

From JN Dransfield's 'A History of the Parish of Penistone.

Our FlagA few language and Yorkshire-related links.

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