7 February 2007

Dialect

I am proud to be a Yorkshireman. Last weekend at the Hull City game some of our fans chanted towards the West Brom end - "Yorkshire! Yorkshire!" It's a chant I have heard many times before and one to which I have often happily added my own voice. It's as if to say - we are from Yorkshire and we are proud of it and wherever you come from cannot compare with our marvellous county.
Both sets of grandparents were Yorkshire born and bred, my parents were both Yorkshire born - Mum in the old West Riding, Dad in the North Riding and they spawned me in the heart of the East Riding. Our daughter sometimes bemoans the fact that she has no exotic links like some of her friends but I remind her that she is herself of "mixed race" because I broke the mould by deigning to marry a Lincolnshire lass!

minster

Beverley Minster from The Westwood.

Yorkshire is a big county with numerous discernible accents/dialects. In Sheffield they mock the Barnsley accent and in East Yorkshire they mock the urban drawl of Hull. Up in North Yorkshire there's still a range of accents from the Dales to the coast and up to Teeside and then there's the Bradford accent and the Leeds way of speaking. In my village when I was a boy the farmers spoke in a manner which sometimes harked back to the Danes and Vikings. One word I have always remembered is "yitten" which roughly translated means scared.
So with all this variety, it sometimes seems odd to come across pieces of writing that claim to have been written in THE Yorkshire dialect because there's really no such thing. Such a piece of writing I have pasted below. In it, the speaker or writer advises how to make a good cup of tea in the days before teabags were invented:-
Nah then, tha wants t'empty t'owd watter aht o' kettle and fill 'er up wi' fresh watter afoor tha puts it on t' ob. Get taypot reet nicely warmed and dry insahd, and then get thi tay in. Nah, as soon as t'kettle comes reet on t' boil an' not a second afoor or aftah, get watter pooared in t' pot.

Dooan't furget! Allus tek t' pot to t' kettle and not t' kettle to t'pot. Lerrit mash a fair wahl an' then girrit a stir afoor tha pooars it aht. Nah, thez summas puts milk in fust an' summas put tay in fust . To oor way o' thinkin', t'impooartant thing is to mek certain tha's med plenty fooar secon'elpin's!
I expect that some of my American visitors will be baffled by such a version of English. For me the way I speak is part of my identity and in spite of a university education, travels around the world and a long career in teaching, I am glad that I have hung on to my vowels and the dialect words and Yorkshire undulations that will still tell the sensitive listener almost exactly where I am from. "You're not from Beverley are you?"

16 comments:

  1. Hello! You have a very nice blog! I'm here to share valuable info with you visit my blog,about Mozilla Firefox web browser.

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  2. Dear Maplea9
    You sound like a weirdo to me and there is absolutely no way I would ever visit your blog you disgusting pervert! And please don't leave any more messages in my Comments or I'll be round to get you with the lads!
    Yours
    Mr Y.Pudding

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  3. yp - DW and I both enjoyed your post. Even though he's from Sheffield and returns often, 15 years of traveling, the last 10 spent in Copenhagen have affected his accent.

    I had to laugh though, because when I'm in a particularly bad mood, he makes me laugh by assuming his fictional alter-ego, The Barnsley Pirate.

    It's interesting to listen to the small, but important differences in dialect. Well, I find it interesting at any rate. Sometimes, though, it's odd.

    I'm American, and my kids are American, but DW has had an influence. Yesterday, my daughter came home from school. I said, "hello" and she replied, "All reight!". I asked what she'd done in school and she replied, "Nowt."

    !!!

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  4. I'm always a fan of secon'elpin's o'tay. Sign me up.

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  5. 'be round to get you with the lads'!!! Is that any way to greet a poor, lost wayfarer who happens to have found his/her way to your blog? Is that an example of Yorkshire hospitality, then? Tut, tut, an after school detention, I think!

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  6. I'm glad you shared this Yorkie. It brings many memories back. My grandfather spoke like that before he died. He used to speak so fast I could barely understand what he was saying.

    There were many a time he laughed at the baffled look on my face.

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  7. ecblade.... Nice to know that some Yorkshire culture is spreading to the States. Pity some of it can't infest President Dubya's brain to make him talk straight and honest.
    ALKELDA... You're welcome round at my 'ouse fer a cuppa any time Doris!
    JENNYTA Another after school detention for me! Ooo! I can't wait. Remember the Chanel No.5!DAWNIE You should be talking like your granddad in British Columbia to bring civilisation to those eskimos, gold prospectors and loggers!

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  8. Don't beleive all mr pudding says folks, I tracked his IP adress to radio 3 where he is continuity announcer.

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  9. I suppose that I have an accent. Although living in all parts of the south as well as the west several times, I don't think it's as straight Texas as most. In fact I know it's not. I don't say a lot of words the same as my mom.

    I do NOT sound like dubya. But I'm sure I would sound southern to you Mr. P.

    I do use the term "Fixin". I'm fixin to go to the store, can I pick somethin up for you? Now my students in the New Orleans area, used to say
    "finta" taking fixing and to and putting them together. Some say Fickinta.

    Back to Texas,
    We say shoot as in "Aw shoot!". Dang.
    Then there are the differences in Mexican/Texan and Black/Texan from White/Texan

    Texas talk is way different than New Orleans talk, which is different from Savannah talk. I can't even tell you about the East and North.
    I haven't lived in California in 40 years so I can't tell you about the differences there either.

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  10. I hate to admit this, but I'm slowly but surely losing my broad Yorkshire accent after being in Canada for almost three years.

    According to mom, the dialect is still there to a certain degree, but the accent has definitely mellowed out, and I'm sounding more and more Canadian.

    I'm still not sure if thats a good or a bad thing.

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  11. Reads like Lanky to me, at least the accent I grew up with. I've been told that Northern English is closer to the purest, or original, form of the language, east or west of the Pennines, Liverpool excluded.

    What gets me is the superflous 'arse', as in ba(r)th and pa(r)th. That and the 'oo' and 'uck', like book and 'buck', look (as in Luke) and look (as in luck).

    I'm in danger of straying into pedantic territory. And before you ask, no that has nothing to do with my proclivities.

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  12. When I visited Britian years ago I loved Yorkshire, even though I had serious trouble deciphering what people were saying through all the glottal stops. But then, as an American southerner with roots in the Applachias, who am I to complain?

    Ever read Robert Benchley? He once wrote, in response to a "viewing with alarm" piece in England over the influx of American movies and American accents a very funny retort entitled "The King's English: Not Murder but Suicide about the difficulty he had, as a theater critic, understanding English actors. And he wasn't talking about Cockney or Yorkshire. He was talking about standard British English.

    He included a phonetic rendition of Cusins speech in a production of MAJOR BARBARA he'd seen recently, observing, "I have heard entire scenes played by English actors in which absolutely nothing was distinguishable except a series of musical notes ranging in cadenzas from B to G sharp and back to B again. It is all very pretty, but is it the English language?"

    "Eetsnottth'sao ehvemeh seuhl thett trehbles meh; Eh hevv seuhld et fereh preuhfessorshep. Eh hev seuhld et tescep beinempressoned feh refusin t'peh texes fer hengmen's reuhps end ehnjust wehrs end things thet ehabeheuh..."

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  13. A little song for you:

    I'm a Yorkshireman and I'm okay, I drink all night and I teach all day.
    I grade exams. I drink my tea.
    I write my poetry.
    Each Tuesday night is a trivia night,
    And I win a pound or three.


    Note that I stopped before I got to the parts where you press wild flowers and wear women's clothes.

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  14. ALKELDA - How did you know about the women's clothes? It's the feel of silk against my skin that moves me. Do you by any chance have any spare silk undergarments I could have? Just a thought.

    P.S. Thanks for my song! I will sing it as I slip down the snowy road to the pub tonight!

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  15. Hi! I'm an actor currently studying the Yorkshire (Sheffield) accent for a production of "The History Boys" by Alan Bennett in San Francisco. I must share with you, it's one of the most difficult/fun accents I've studied.... thought I'd share that bit of information. : )

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.