BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014
North YorkshireNorth Yorkshire

BBC Homepage
»BBC Local
North Yorkshire
Things to do
People & Places
Religion & Ethics
Arts and Culture
BBC Introducing
TV & Radio

Sites near york


Related BBC Sites


Contact Us


Yorkshire lad Philip Mellin is the youngest competitor in the county's sheepdog trials
Philip Mellin, the youngest competitor in Yorkshire's sheepdog trials


Yorkshire dialect expert Dr Barrie Rhodes tells us about the fate of dialects and why we speak like we do.

He also recites a poem for us.

Grace Shaw talks to Dr Barrie M Rhodes, published linguist and member of the Yorkshire Dialect Society...

>> A dialect poem and phrases
>> Are dialects dying out?
>> What is Standard English?
>> Influences which change dialects
>> Historical influences which make the Yorkshire dialect what it is
>> Viking-influenced Yorkshire words
>> The Five Mile Rule; spice shops and sweet shops
>> Your comments

Audio links on this page require RealPlayer.
Real player required:
Free Real player

A Yorkshire dialect poem, recited by Barrie
 Listen and try and work out what he's saying! The answer is at the bottom of the page.

Barrie: Right, 'ere it goes…

We're down in't coyle 'oyle
Where't muck slarts on't winders
We've used all us coyle up
And we're rait down't t'cinders,
But if bum bailiff comes
Ee'll nivver findus
Cos we'll be down in't coyle 'oyle
Where't muck slarts on't winders

Grace: I thought you were talking about Carlisle at first - coyle oyle - as in coal hole?!

Barrie: Yes! Now my grandma used to have her own version of this - in the 1940s when we were waiting to be invaded by the Germans.

Her last line used to be, "But if Hitler comes 'e'll never find us/ Cos we'll be down in't coyle 'oyle/ Where't muck slarts on't winders."

>> More Yorkshire dialect words...

Muck slarts
Barrie: Muck slarts is where dirt collects - slart is a grimy, sticky.. well what you'd get in a coal cellar, if you had a window in a coal cellar then it would quickly become begrimed wouldn't it. And dialectally we would say that's where t' muck slarts on't winders.

Now try this one

'Af past ten and ee anna cum aready
Wunna cum afor elem now sure to.

Half past ten and he hasn't come already (still hasn't come)
Won't come before eleven now, for sure.

Grace: So do you think dialects are dying out? Is the English language becoming more standardised?

Barrie: Dialects never die out; they only change. Some people will write about the erosion of dialect or the attrition of dialect - but all language is dialect - even that that we call Standard English. It doesn't die out, it simply changes.

Grace: What do you mean by Standard English?

Barrie: Standard English is nothing more or less than a particular dialect from the South East Midlands, that gained prestige because it was used by the organs of monarchy, government, the only two real universities that existed…

And so it acquired a prestige as the standard form of language. But it is nothing more nor less than one of the many English dialects.

Grace: People have a preconception that Standard English is the 'proper' or 'correct' form, don't they?

Barrie: They tend to do. Because it's the one that's gained prestige. But really, historically, it has no more legitimacy than any other form of English.

Grace: So we've said that dialects are not dying out but they're changing. Why are dialects changing then? What sorts of influences?


Barrie: First of all, and the most obvious one, is education. Teachers generally subscribe themselves to something that is approaching Standard English.

Neighbours: Australian English through the media influences our speech
Neighbours: an Australian English influence on how we speak

What other influences are there?

And so it's inevitable that they try to influence and persuade their pupils to use the same form of language - especially to write in it.

And there's the media of course - very influential in precipitating change in regional language varieties. Listeners and viewers are obviously subjected to a great deal of American English, Australian English, Afro-Caribbean English….

And people being what they are tend to pick up these changes and at the same time they tend to disregard and lose a lot of the speech variety of their own locality.

You've got geographic mobility, you've got occupational mobility - these all play a part obviously. We no longer have communities where a person was born into a village, and married the girl from the next village and stay there for the rest of their lives. People do move around.

Grace: What about the fact that traditional processes are changing?

The Yorkshire accent is a truly great accent; it's warm, friendly and reminds me of such things as the Dales, cricket and good tea.
I am from Yorkshire but have been studying in London and now Berlin - it was very nice to hear the Yorkshire dialect poem via the internet.
David, Berlin

The nicest thing anyone has said to me was by a lady from the Black Country who said that my accent reminded her of a warm coal fire!
Mike, Thirsk

Barrie: Well that's true - particularly if we look at economic activity.

Many regional local language varieties were sustained by the economic activity of the population, the communities.

Agriculture, fishing, textiles…

And because most of the people were engaged in these activities and lived in the same communities, it tended to preserve its own terminologies, which probably became embedded as part of what we now call dialect.

With the demise of such industries - or certainly the contraction of them, then a lot of the local speech varieties eroded along with them.

Grace: Would it be fair to say that maybe some dialects are going to be subject to more change than others - subject to more outside influences than others? A lot of Yorkshire is rural and isolated, so maybe it's been a bit sheltered in comparison with other dialects?

Barrie: We have this particular pride in our region which we think sets us apart, and our particular forms of regional language, or dialect, are part of this and I think perhaps we've been more reluctant to abandon them than some other parts of the country.

Grace: Ok, the Yorkshire dialect in particular: what sorts of influences have there been which make the Yorkshire dialect what it is?


Barrie: Historically, its roots lie in Old English, the Old English of the Angles who came as invaders and settlers in this region, well, from the fifth century onwards.

Vikings: an important influence on our language
Vikings: an important influence on our language

They brought with them a Germanic language which virtually eliminated the Celtic language of the earlier inhabitants, and which is preserved now mainly in the form of Welsh.

And they brought this new language which virtually superseded everything else.

Overlying that you've got a substantial element of the Old Norse of the Vikings, which came about of course because Vikings settled this area quite extensively from the ninth century onwards.

There are little bits of Old French from the Normans, post 1066, and other little influences.

In the main, you're looking at Old English, Old Norse.

>> More on the Scandinavian influence on the Yorkshire dialect

Grace: So we know that there's a big Viking influence, I mean everyone in North Yorkshire's aware of that. Can you give us a couple of examples of some Viking words?

Barrie: Some Viking words… right, let's take the most common one that we tend to see around us, which is 'gate', the Old Norse word 'gata' meaning not something that swings on hinges but it means a way or a street or a road.

York's got loads...

Barrie: I mean, particularly in York, you've got all your gates - Micklegate, is the 'great street' (two Old Norse words combined there)…in Leeds for example you've got Kirgate which is 'Church Street', East Gate which is obviously the east… and so it goes on and on.

You'll find it all over the north of England, in all the towns and cities - and of course you still find it in Scandinavia - if you go to Oslo or Lillestrom or Stockholm you will find that the streets are called 'gatas'.

Modern English, 'gate'; Old Norse, 'gata'
In modern English, a 'gate', in Old Norse, a 'gata'

You'll find them called that in Denmark, you'll find them called that in Norway, you'll find them called that in Iceland.

*note: In the 'Scandinavianised' parts of northern and eastern England a 'gate' (something that swings on hinges) is a called a 'bar' - again, there are loads in York.

Another Old Norse word that we tend to come across is 'lyg' - to lie.

And anyone who's in the building trade will immediately think of the lygger board. A lygger board is particularly used by plasterers and people working in the wet trade.

It's where, after they've made a mix of mortar or plaster, they put it to lyg, or lie, on this board, until they're ready to use it.

Grace: We've talked about whether local dialects are changing, but in the past people used to be able to tell which village somebody came from, from their dialect or accent, couldn't they?

Barrie: Oh yes, yes, yes, some dialectologists will talk about having a Five Mile rule; it's just a rough rule of thumb where traditionally you could say that there was some noticeable change in vocabulary or pronunciation, normally classed as a dialect word.

>> More on local local accents

For example I live in Howden which is really on the boundary of what we would have called the West Riding dialect area and the East Riding dialect area.

A goody shop or a spice shop? It depends on where you come from
A goody shop or a spice shop? It depends on where you're from

As it happens my daughter has a sweet shop in Howden - now, people who have been more subjected to East Riding influences call it a goody shop - people who have been more influenced by West Riding dialect call it a spice shop. And we get these areas of overlap.

But immediately I hear someone say 'spice shop' I ask them where they come from, and the chances are that they've moved in from somewhere like Pontefract or Castleford.

Grace: Can you still tell people's village from how they speak then?

Barrie: Less and less, less and less now, I mean we're undergoing a process of levelling out.

Barrie's poem, the Standard English version

We're down in the cellar
Where the dirt has collected on the windows
We have used up all our coal
And we are now down to the cinders
If the rent man comes
He will never find us
For we will be down in the cellar
Where the dirt has collected on the windows

What do you think about the Yorkshire accent?

If you have a comment, fill in the form below

Mike Fisher
ahm from goldthorpe riginaly but if tha herd me speyk tha'd think ah wuh from barnsley cos that's t'main influence on goldthorpe folk. nathen aslsithi serrih.

Marc Dominic
Born and bred in Scarborough, left for university in Sheffield, then a job in Cirencester (Zoiren! BTW they call ‘scraps’ ‘batter bits’ down there), many times in the US and a year in Strasbourg. Now I’m back in Sheffield and my friends say I speak ‘posh’. Is this my education (PhD), or have I simply lost the Yorkshire accent?I still use rounded vowels, i.e. maaster rather than marster – even when talking about Master Chef… If I do go home, I can clearly understand what locals are saying not just in Scarborough but in the surrounding countryside. Moreover (posh word), I can easily understand the local Sheffielders and the tarns…Mebe av lost it an kant get it back.Agreed, the guttural stop is a silent ‘t’. ‘On the roof’, would be written ‘on’t roof’ but pronounced ‘on roof’ with an emphasis on the ‘on’ before ‘roof’. I think this is how the ‘apostrophe ‘t’ suffice comes in: it really means an emphasis on the ‘on’, no idea why Southerners decided to write it this way though (respect, notice capital ‘S’ for Southerners)…‘Our lass’ is my sister, ‘our kid’ is my brother, ‘tu put wood in ‘ole’ is to close the door, a ‘rum fella’ (or another word that I’ll be banned for) is a person of notoriety for whatever reason…BTW in response to an earlier post the French say au revoir which essentially means until I see you again i.e. ‘see you’ or ‘see you later’…Scarborough fish and chips: you can’t get better (I know the best place but I’m not allowed to advertise)…

I had to do a report for svhool on what broad yorkshire sounds like. It was EXTREMLEY hard.

Also now living in Waitakere, NZ.Having lived in Mytholmroyd,( where Ted Hughes was born), there is an amazing softening of speech, when going a few miles into Todmorden - near where are the most magnificent Fish and Chips at Granny Pollard's!!White Rose for ever!

yorkshire accents are admired across the country so i see no problem with them. i mean im from doncaster in south yorkshire and i always get recognised as a yorkshireman when i leave yorkshire and most people enjoy my accent

Its simple - Yorkshire accents all the way. Get you anywhere in life, everyone loves Yorkshire. To those who are curious the English accent offers up a series of phrazes are are dereived directly from Celtic or English tribal origin - sorry, the Yorkshire accent is the only one that holds them out... because we can.

'Ginnel' (hard 'G') is an example of a West Yorkshire ACCENT - 'Jinnel' (or soft 'G') is the same word in South Yorkshire ACCENT. 'Swaddle yeow' (Swaledale yew or female sheep of the Swaledale strain)is still no more than an example of ACCENT. 'Yan, tan, plethora, methora, min' (one, two, three, four, five) is, on the other hand, an example of DIALECT (there are numerous variants of even these basic words, dependant on location.)The point is that each and every one of us, worldwide, has an accent based upon our upbringing, family background and, to a very great extent, schooling and those with whom we associate during those formative years.'Received pronunciation', 'Queen's English' and 'Standard English' are really no more than attempts by those people without the rich cultural heritage of the Northern Counties to have us conform to their standards. Yet many of those who mock this rich diversity are those who most vociferously defend "our rich and diverse history". Taken to extreme, this could give us such interesting words as "___", where the first letter is the dropped aspirant so beloved in Estuary English, the second an example of elision common throughout the country and the third a glottal stop especially prevalent in the North. The word? HUT.Personally, I believe that those who mock accents (and I mean ANY accents) should learn to talk proper, like what us does.

from dewsbury west yorkshire and i think it is THE best accent in the world but i live in lincoln now :( and my mate thinks lincolnshire is beeter although they don't even have an accent or a dialect

I am from Lancashire now living in Yorkshire. And I remember Amanda's poem 'EE I wud like ta make tha a good cuppa tae' I have been trying to find out who wrote it. Anybody know? I thought it was a Lancashire poem!

eh yup;aw reet then ; dont matter a fig which part of gods own county we come from we all have one thing in common ; we are all yorkshire born and bred and reet proud on it we are ; and allus will be

What about 'e's aboon on't thack' meaning 'he is above on the thatch' or 'up on the roof'. My Gran also used to use the word 'throng' for busy.

what is the northern riding dialect influenced of? East Riding speech has a lot of similarities with the Danish language West Riding speech: The West Riding containing elements of Icelandic, Norman and Saxon..but what about the Northern riding dialect?!?

this is the best article ever! i'm 17 and from Bradfrod researching for an English project and you have no idea how useful everyone's been! just so you know- all you Southerners- we don't say "in t'pub", the 't' is silent! So stop with the rediculous jokes about our glottal stops! Gods on coun'ry so we mus be reet!

Proud to be a Yorkshire Man, Only county to have its own day, also most people I've met that are from Yorkshire will say they Yorkshire before English......How Proud we are.Mum I'm coming home for sum pudding

The Mouse Avenger (a.k.a. Anastasia)
As an American teen who is a HUGE fan of the famed actor (& Leeds native) Malcolm McDowell (who I had the great pleasure of meeting personally in '08, but that's another story...), I have come to adore his adorable Leeds accent (which was even more adorable when he was younger, 'cause now, he sounds more like a Londoner to me, though I love his "new" accent just as much as the "old" one! ^_^), & in turn, I've also come to adore West Yorkshire accents in general, as well as those from the Southern & Northern areas. As an aspiring voice actress who plans on playing a wide variety of characters (including 'Yorkies'--forgive me if I offend anyone by using this term), I imitate Yorkshire accents a lot when I speak (my particular fave impression that I do is of Malcy, tee-hee!), & I've been looking up on every references I can find to get the accent(s) just right. This site happens to be one of the most helpful. :-)

John Stott
I would like to very fie the following Yorkshire saying KEEPING BAND IN'T NICK Which I always thought it meant smoothing thinks over in any relationship, I wondered if it referred to weaving when the looms were driven by a belt made of Band (which we refered to as MILL BAND) and if this band came of off the Pulley the loom would come to a stand still.Any commmentsJohn

Alison from Pudsey
Or should I say 'Putsey'...Born and bred in Leeds and very proud of my flat vowels, it always seems a shame that in the choir I sing with we're told to round them up as it sounds better - anyone fancy starting up a choir that sings with a proper Yorkshire accent?If you want to hear lots of different Yorkshire accents there are some brilliant digital stories from all corners of the county on

I am a yorkshire lass who is concerned that Accent is confused with Dialect. Accent is the rounded and drawn out pronunciation of vowels, whereas dialect is about the local sayings and manner of speech. Am I being nit-picky?? Can anyone explain to me how saying Cheerio/Bye became "See you later", as when growing up that expression was only used when parting from someone you had arranged to meet up with again later that day ??


I love my Yorkshire accent and have been told it is pretty broad as I was brought up in South east Leeds and the accent there is very strong. My mum, born down south hates it and keeps telling me to speak proper english (i'm now 28) so I just say if you don't want us to speak like this she should've brought me up down south instead!!! Not that I'd want to and I've only been south of sheffield once and that was enough!I love Yorkshire and my family have been here for 6+ generations on my dad's side and it is in my bones.

Anne Hayter
The Yorkshire sayings have travelled across the ocean!! Jean Hayter regularly comes out with a Yorkshire expression!!! We have a history in common as well as a family link, though we live 3,000 miles apart!!

What do you you mean with the Viking invasion? Who was being invaded? This is all suspiciósly like we Southerers are the real Anglo-Saxons, and you up North, are some kind of odd mixture.

Hear all, see all, say nowt; drink all, eat all, pay nowt; if thee ever does owt for nowt, do it for thesen

Originally from Bradford, West Yorkshire I now live in Waitakere, New Zealand where I recently saw an interview on local TV with a Yorkshire farmer and they supplied subtitles!! I 'ad to laff.

Nah then, Am reet glad Ah fon this site.Born, bred and buttered in Keighley, West Riding.Ah'v lived i' San Diego fo t'past twenty odd years and although I think Ah'v lost sum o' me accent all it teks is a phone call 'ome to me Mum or our lad or one o' me owd mates an it cums reet back.When me lads were nobut young úns Ah'd put 'em to sleep by singing Ilkla Moor Baht 'at.One day t'eldest sang it at school an' came 'ome wi a note from his Kindergarten teacher askin' what language he was singin' in.I went and explained it all to her and she thowt it were "reet grand".Ye can tek a Tyke out a' Yorkshire, but ya carn't tek Yorkshire out a Tyke.

I'm a brummie, goin out with a yorkshireman, your accent rocks!

Hi Petronella,It was my Gramma's favourite! Eee bu a wud like to mek thee a nice cup'a tey, but tha mun cum a Mundi cos thats my weshing day an al be weshing & weshing al' muck away - ee but a wud like to mek the a nice cup'tey.But tha mun cum a Tuesdi cos that's me irnin day an al be irnin & irnin al' creaases away - ee bu'a wud like to mek thee a nice cup'a tey.But tha mun cum a Wensdi cos thats mi siding day an al by shiftin an sidin al clooes away -ee but a wud like to mek thi a nice cup a tey.But tha mun cum a Thusdi cos that's my cleanin day and sweepin an cleanin al muck away - eee but a wud like to mek thee a nice cup a tey.Bu' tha mun cum a Fridi cos that's my bakin day and al bi bakin and bakin al floour away - ee but a wud like to mek thi a nice cup a tey.But tha mun cum a Satdi cos that's my shoppin day and al by shoppin and spendin all my brass away - eee bu' a wud like to mek thi a nice cup a tey.But tha mun cum a Sundi cos thats mu Chuch day and al singin and prayin all my sins away - EEE BU' A WUD LIKE TO MEK THI A NICE CUP A TEY!Hope I remembered it in the right order, don't know if I writ it right, we had to learn to write English at school. I've been away from Yorkshire for 30 years and me Gramma died about 25 years ago!

Comes for Hull however joined the Navy so lives in Portsmouth, still a Yorkshire lad at heart though. Loves it!!!!

Been brought up in North Yorkshire and joined the Navy so live in Portsmouth now. Still and always will be a Yorkshire through and through though!! Love the place!!!

Now then aw a yer? sinsa bin a bairn ti now av ad mi il farm accent. nowt like it. a get sum rum lerks off folk when as at uni larnin but them folk dernt no proper way t speark!!

My Great Grandfather was born in Southowram Yorkshire in 1875 and played in both the Southowram Brass Band and Brighouse Rastrick Band before he brought his family to America in 1914. He used to recite the following : "Whosa a marley rib de chosa garatees a dem dat slept"Does anyone have any idea of the meaning of this or have any leads on where I might go to find out where this came from ? Thanks !

Sallie Taylor
A wor born on a small tarn in Sarth Yorkshire, many mooerns ago.Wiv lived in't States 34 blummimn years.Its bin a reight grand larf.Av still got mi Barnsley accent , am osteresized for it by Britosh fowk but a no wot the can do.On't other and when a gu back ome fowks se , thaty talks fair posh tha does.Ev a good day iverbody.Sallie.Mi kids ev got a Yorkshire and Southern drawl.

I'm from Donny, South Yorks, and am currently doing an english language degree. This site has been well helpful in researching my dialect but I disagree with what some people have said about the South Yorks accent being the generic Yorkshire that everyone knows. Nobody on my course believes I'm from Yorkshire and have lived there all my life cos I don't have a North Yorkshire accent. I think they expect me to have run away from a sheep farm to come to uni. However I love the Yorkshire accent it is one of the biggest, oldest accents in UK

Helen (From Morley - West Yorks.)
I spent the first three months at university having to 'translate' between accents so my hall of residence flatmates could understand a conversation! 'Translating' Geordie to Yorkshire took some doing!When I was little, my Gran would tell me to 'talk proper, a bit more like the Queen' and then promptly chelp away with the broadest Yorkshire accent I'd ever known! As fas as I'm concerned, it IS talking proper!I'm proud to be a white rose!

'Ow do, Tis well gud ta see oda lads 'n lass' wid da dialect. I T'woz raised up Bev but often go ta 'ull lyke.

Kay Nelson
Small world, I was born in Cottingham and raised in Hull. I thought I'd lost my accent, but people tell me I still have one. It does come back after a visit 'ome

Gillian from California
Born in Cottingham, raised in Hull. Lost most of my accent in the States, but find it cums back when I'm wi'me family back 'ome. I thought this funny on how to speak Hull Yorkshire: What is the "perp"? The head of the Catholic Church.

I am from South Yorkshire and I am researching the origin of the word "nesh". If anyone can help me out I would be extremely grateful

i luv me accent its proper mint i really think its koolies no matter wot peeps say Yorkshire accent is number 1

Americans actually ACKNOWLEDGE this accent?! I'm not from yorkshire, all my family is though. There is only ONE yorkshire, and that's the one in the UK. In answer to theresa's question: no, not anymore it's been wiped out. EY UP means hello, so you know

Americans actually ACKNOWLEDGE

I was born in Hull and lived there 'till I was 13yrs old, then moved to Leicester, East Midlands. I've now been there 43 yrs and still have my Yorkshire accent! I'm proud of being Yorkshire & although my friends & work colleagues make fun of my accent, they love it & wouldn't have me speak any other way, even if I would (which I won't!!) I'd love to go back home (it will always be home to me) & live among kind, generous, friendly people again, I miss it sooooo much. It's God's own country, he put the best of everything there :)

Eh up. Sheffield lad me. tryin to loose me accent but some people like it. Am stood theer thinkin "thas a nutter" but their like "nah i think its reight good"Exapmle of a Yorkshire accent

Yorkshire we do,we love ya Yorkshire we do,o Yorkshire we luv u.Hull born lad...

I'm Yorkshire born and bred and to be honest (and I know this is not going to get me any fans!) I really do not like my accent. So much so that I've been considering lessons to help me lose it. My only fear is that I'll go too much the other way and sound like I've got an upper class accent and I don't want that either! I'd rather have no accent at all thanks.

abbie frum lundwood
eyup i dunt think barnsley shud b dised its got best accent iva! strongest accent is lundwood n grimy n kendry in lundwood cos nubdy cares abart what they seh! so if ther wa a competition i fink tarn shud win! 4 yorkshire! go tarn go!

I love t Yorkshire accent - I think it's reet grand. Born and bred in Sussex but fell in love with Yorkshire first time I laid eyes on t place. Told my accent is mixed up with words coming from all different accents - but if theres one accent I had full-time it would definetley have to be Yorshire! Reet grand chuck!

Proud to be YorkshireI was born in Beverley in 1941, moved to West Yorks 1953. moved to South Yorks 1954, where I still live today, I still have folk asking if I came from Hull area, I am from YORKSHIRE (GODs COUNTRY) So ers ta me an mi wifs husband notforgrin miself, an if eva tha dos owt fa nowt alas doit fa thi self, (Unless) they are from Yorkshire, of cause Tek gud care all ye Yorkies.

Nowt better than bin from Gods Own County. Yorkshire Born Yorkshire Bred.

Luke Varley
i am a gordy

I love me accent to bits, dunt knock it! Am frum tarn, whiz thar frum? Tell thi fatha to pick up his coart frum ar harse

wen a worra nippa a cud manij a two brek baht uncupplin', norenny moor.

my grandad used to say t me n me brother if you dont give up isle seperate you from your breath

oreyt am from barnsley n a dunt fink theres owt rong wi r accent ya might funk its all thee n tha but in it int so gu n tek mick art o sum one elses town!

Does anyone know where the saying "I'll go t'foot of ar stairs!" and what it means? I remember hearing my aunty say it when a were a kid and find myself saying it now but don't know if I'm saying it in the right circumstance. I think it's said almost like a (sarcastic) exclamation to something (not really) shocking. I could be wrong.

Yeeeeh! I'm coming to Yorkshire to work and i hope to come back with the accent!!

Nah then cocka ... a tha dissing r accent..if thy r a might ev t get r lad on thi tha knows

Blahtin or Blartin is crying , as in "what yer blartin for yer morngy bleeder..." And i was brought up in Grimethorpe so guess I should have strongest accent in country!

Jaffa Frum Tarn
barnsley accent has to be the strongest accent in the whole of yorkshire if not the country, the scousers even love our accent and take the mick out of it too.. wer ya frum we say tarn they ask wheres that we say barnsley they go bbarrrrrrnsley tekin mick if tha cum up ere and go to some of the rough areas like grimethorpe lundwood athersly the accent is even stronger cos they dunt care lol

Sussex kiddie
darned if oi can unnerstahn a darn werdovit me ole kiddie, sounds roit daaarft to me bub.

Theresa NYork (USA)
Are there any traces of the ancient tongues still characterizing the Yorkshire dialect(s)?

How about 'mistle' -A milking shed. Thornhill lees Dewsbury

Theresa US
Are there any words and/or phrases in the Yorkshire regions that can be traced back to ancient Celtic languages?

How many words and phrases are still in use from seventy or eighty years ago?

ehup s thi yorkshire accent meks mi laf am furem tarn mi sen lyk but if tha thinks bart it compared to standard english it dunt mek sence ... in a bit...

Dummi Brummi
Oh man! Dieser Dialekt ist ja verdammt noch mal schwer! Zumindest für einen Deutschen, der standart english lernt...

sean .the tyke.senior
ey up just laikin on t coputer seen this site med mi chuckle reet proper.

Patrick Corner-Walker
Robert Mugabe backwards is e ba gum trebor!!!!

what always amazes me is that i use words without even knowing they are dialect, i just assume theyr proper english. you should have seen the looks i got when i went to uni, especially when i said 'the tea's mashing' and 'down the ginnel'

I am from the U.S. Became familiar with the accent from watching All Creatures Great And Small.


Pete Over yonder in Uddersfield.
Ay up ere i am on me tinternet aving a Brew. Ya all right love. E bi gum Ive got a offer you cant rufuse. Go on ter me web space and ill give yer some brass and a free sarnie. Aye up watars great. I were talking ter me lad on the tinternet ealier e said e was aving a cuppa. e lives over yonder in Slawit. Over day we was going t pub so i said to im "Put wood in the ole" So we shut the door and went t pub and ad prk scratings. Shut yer trap you southerners us yorkshire folk are ok yer Know. Im putting me big light on as its getting dark. See ya.

what does "e bar gum" mean

now then comming form bilsdale just going awer the moor you can tell the difference in dialect

i am from cleck (cleckheaton west yorkshire and now live in lichfield staffordshire and have friends here from barnsley but still have to occationaly ask them to repeat because i didnt understand the dialect but we are both yorkshire lasses and reigh praad of i(t)

Does anyone know the poem that starts, 'EE I wud laike to give thee a naice cup o' tea, if tha'd nobbut come on't raight day' ?

im from sheffield born an bred an i lv ma accent to bits.myfavourite fing to se is wen im lookin for ma little sista il ask "wers ar kid" always av dun.jus fort id ad ma 10 peneth.

To Szilvia, I think this means He would ramble (natter) on for ever once he got to his feet to spout(talk)

Anita - i have found the word winter hedge in an inventory from the 17th century [Pontefract Deanery] I believe it was a type of clothes horse for drying clothes in the winter as opposed to on hedges as in summer time!

Maureen Elizabeth Omer
After 40 years of living in Australia, I've still got my Hull accent! It's part of me and most people here love it.My Grandad went to sea for 40 years and always took his "tab nabs" with him to sea. No one I've ever asked seems to know the origin of this word.can any of you lads and lassies help me? Gorra go in kitchin now Ah'm famished and mafted( hot)

karl hemingway
i,m from yorkshire but now live in sunderland to be with my girlfriend but am missing home like mad
Why did you not SING the words to "down in't coyl oyle" Iknow the song !!! We have a YORKSHIRE SOCIETY IN HOUSTON TEXAS USA

I like it, my driving instructor had a brilliant accent, and kevin brown, he's funny.

To Danielle From South Australia – Hi, here’s the line in West Yorkshire – “Beg paardun doktur, Missus Winthropp;s eya” - the letters in bold should be exaggerated, hope this helps. Vicky West Yorkshire

My Mother from Darlington says it should be 'clarts' and not 'slarts' that gets stuck on your winders !

Linda Holland-Toll:'Marrer' or 'Marra' is from London Cockney & indicates that someone is so much a friend of whomever is saying it that he/she is felt to be part of that person's (bone)marrow, or very being. It has become diluted by usage over the years. It came to Yorkshire when the railways were being built in the 19th century - the engineers being Londoner's. Gareth: 'Blahtin' is a corruption of 'blathering', indicating speaking incoherently. Ray: 'Ey up' is a contraction & corruption of 'head up' & is meant as a warning, as in: 'Watch out!'

Ey up! I adore the Yorkshire accent. I live down South but I have a perfect Yorkshire accent, got friends up there and a few relatives. And it helps watching Emmerdale as well! Yorkshire is a beautiful place, amazing scenery, great people, and I especially love the Dales. ;]

Hi. I an a maid and have one line in a play (the beautiful 'Secret Garden') and I need to say it in a Yorkshire accent. Can anyone help me by telling me phoneticelly how one says "Beg pardon, doctor. Mrs Winthrop's here." Thanking you in advance, Danielle, South Australia

Mark from 'Arrogate
Ey UP Gareththas erd blahtin bin explained as bin simlar ta bleetin afor. Like lamba bleetin int spring fort yews. 'Ope that might shed a little light ont subject for thee

Linda Holland-Toll
Does any one know the meaning of the word"marrer"? I t is used in Richard Adams' The Plague Dogs, set in the North Riding, snd seems to have the context od mate or friend.

Szilvia Nemeth
Hello everybody out there! I am desperetely trying to find the meaning of the sentence: He'd ram'mle on for ivver once he got to his feet to spaht. Please help me!! Thanks

ben watson
eyup has many translations and variations . it is mostly used as a greeting similar to hello

Can anyone find a reference for the use of the word "blahtin" - meaning crying :"he's blahin again". I remember this word well, but can't find any dictionary or dialect dictionary definitions. thanks.

Im a Yorkshire lass, born and bred. I am proud of my accent, and the region from which it is derived. In the main i have found that people find it an endearing, friendly accent, and while they often make fun of my "yorkshire phrases" it is clear that they are welcomed with tentative ears, just as i used to enjoy listening to the phrases and sayings of my late uncle. You can take the lass out of Yorkshire but you will never take the Yorkshire out of this las :-)

Peter Dewsnap
I come from Stocksbridge near Sheffield and the song "Dahn in't coyle oyle" is very familiar but we always sang "Cellar oyle". For those who do not know, it is sung to the old German tune, "Ach du lieber Augustine". There are other words to is as follows:- No, yer cahnt put yer much in ahr dustbin, ahr dustbin, ahr dustbin, No yer can't put yer muck in ahr dustbin. Ahr dustbin's full. There's rahd 'uns an square 'uns and square 'uns and rahnd 'uns. But yer cahnt put yer muck in ahr dustbin'cos ahr dustbin's full.

Anita w/yorks
eehh by eckers like what a good read

tha cant gu rong wi ar accent its gud as owt a luv it yorksha fo lyf!

Pam Turner
Has anyone else heard of the word "alch?" as in to alch a scarf, meaning to loop it round the neck?

Eh,up! I'm from the states,but i LOVE the britcom "last of the summer wine." compo will always be my favorite character may he rest merrily in peace.If i could've picked my granda i'd've chosen him straight off!i liked the thee's & thou's and the slang.i even talk like that now,& people ask 'what?'someday i am gonna go to holmfirth ipromise.

Brought up in Wensleydale and went on a course for Barclays Bank in London and will never forget the looks of amazement on the other girls faces at our first evening meal when I blurted out "Pass us t'taties wilter"....I had not been beyond Northallerton until then!!

originally from easingwold but now living in scotland i love my accent and try hard to keep it! people do think it a warm friendly accent. like me!!

Jean Hayter
My Grandmother - long gone I'm afraid came from Yorkshire - never lost all her accent despite living in America for over 40 years! She was a lovely lady

What is the translation of "EY UP". Where does it come from?

i feel that the yorkshire accent is one that if you are around people who speak it it is not noticed but as soon as you go out of the area everyone notices it and it draws attention to itself

I was born in Leeds and moved down to London three years ago to mix it up a little. I'm so proud to be from Yorkshire, people have a pop down here but its all friendly jealousy

evil betty
whatsthy all on abart, t'accent up ere is't way it orrrta bi sither! *ahem* i have a barnsley accent, and love it! everyone i meet thinks its great, and its particularly useful for confusing southerners *evil laugh*!!

kathy robson australia
I love the yorkshie accent.i live in australia and have befriended a couple of people on the net from yorkshire and they are the funniest people and have the kindest of hearts. I love them all dearly.

"Lake" meaning play was once common in Yorkshire. In Sweden it's "lek" and "leg" in Danish. That's where the name for Lego comes from.

The Yorkshire accent is so awesome! I've always lived in Birmingham but, since i travelled to Yorkshire on holiday, i've just fallen in love with the place-the people, the accent and ,of course, the beautiful scenery- perhaps that's because we dont get to see much of that here in Brum!I met my long term boyfriend in Barnsley and one of the most attractive things about him is his accent! though, occasionally it takes a while to understand him sometimes! It is definitely an accent to be proud of!

Rose Berl
My mother`s family had lived in York for generations.My grandfather used to speak in dialect to some extent: `Thou`s a right grand lass`still sounds beautiful to my ears.

Gerry Taylor
I was born in Hull, grew to my teens in Selby, and moved to Canada. When I visit Yorkshire and pop into my local, I usually get the remark, "Hey up, the Yank's back..." In Canada I am the limey. I'm confused..... ;-)

Well i'm technically a Yorkshire man but i feel no strong allegiences to the accent. I've lived in Sheffield for most of my life, and i've worked in Barnsley and Huddersfield. So i am fully aware of the differences between West and South Yorkshire accents. I like the accents okay but i do try to vary my own as much as possible (because i like talking in different accents, i love doing the Brum and West Country accents!). Most people in Yorkshire (and also an American) said i had an 'English' accent, not one that could be pinned down. Several reasons; my earliest days i lived in Nottinghamshire and more recently i've been ironing out the Yorkshire to try and make it sound less localised. Basically because i generally prefer the sound of South East accents (i like the clarity) and i want to be easily understood when i go outside of Yorkshire. Not that i've got anything against a Yorkshire accent as i'll quite happily slip into West Yorkshire on cue or even better the Royston Twang Barnsley accent. (Which i refer to as Dod'orthian) typified by the following; Do = Duwe, you = yuwe, through = thruwe, and the classic Rome = Rowme. So i like the accent but i like to be able to turn it on and off at will.

I was born and raised in Yorkshire.. Having the accent was being part of the "moors" and "Yorkshire Pudding" until you step out of the fern and try to have a conversation with other folk. I have lived in the States for 25 years and at first americans found it a cute novelty until they realized they hadn;t the dickens what was being said. I am proud to be Yorkshire, you can take the lass away from Yorkshire but never the Yorkshire away from the lass.

I was brought up in all three Ridings;Hunmanby, East; Bradford,west; Staithes,(Steers)north. I now live in Guisborough North Yorkshire, Not many people can pin down where I come from, many make the insulting comment that I must be a Geordie, I soon disabuse them of this impression, as i am proud to be Yorkshire through and through. After all I have got a triple dose of the condition.

I live in Brisbane Australia, but brought up in Dewsbury, I am proud of my Yorkshire accent, and never moderate it in front of Australians, which can cause some repetitions, but that's their problem. Any road am banner off t' pub nah!

I know I am going to cause offence by saying this but I don't see why Yorkshire people are so proud of the way they speak. I am in contact with many people who harbour this accent and although I wouldn't discriminate against them, I do understand why people make it a subject of ridicule as it does sound rather odd, sometimes even immature and I also occasionally fall into the trap of believing the person I am speaking to has a mental handicap! Sorry Yorkshire. Don't stop your accent on my account but that's just the way things are.

The yorkshire accent is the best accent, I was born in north yorkshire, in wensleydale. I miss the area alot, living on a "rock" off france- Guernsey.They take the mick of my broad yorks accent.... BUT I AM PROUD OF IT!!! I would hate to loose it!!!!!

Pam N' Yorks
I think that we all use the same language from the borders to Hull.I don't think that dilect is used as much today as our area is so multi cultural. But I love listening to old dilects.

I spent two and a half years in York in the late eighties, then I returned to Australia. I was accused of having an York accent! But how I do miss hearing that lovely Yorkie accent! Sof and warm and just right! I think my own Australian accent is harsh in comparison! thanks for this site! Is is loovely!

June Lewis
I don't have a flat cap or a wippet and I don't tend sheep on top'ill as our Southern cousins would have everyone believe. My Husband's from London and I talk to him about how proud I am to be part of my home county - 'My North Yorkshire' (I love it with a passion).

I'm really glad that this subject has come up, because I think it's really important. Mind you, I don't like the way that the researchers have been using slang words as if they have the same value as genuine dialect. There is a big difference between the two: dialect is like a language in its own right which has developed organically over many centuries. Slang is just made up words which go in and out of fashion (such as 'bling'). There is also a difference between accent (the way you pronounce words) and dialect (the words that you use), although they are often related to eachother. By the way, did you know that 'dropping your aitches' (eg. saying 'elp instead of help) is a habit which started in the south-east of England and gradually spread northwards? This means that if you come from Yorkshire, you don't *have* to drop your aitches to remain faithful to the accent!

Wat a reet grand idea. Must gan an shut yat to keep renard uut.

I'm from North Yorkshire and proud of my North Yorskshire accent. What annoys me is that people's idea of a 'Yorkshire accent' is generally a South Yorkshire one. Personally, I don't like the South Yorkshire accent at all and get extremely annoyed when people say I haven't got a Yorkshire accent simply because to them, it doesn't sound like the stereotypical one they associate with the whole of Yorkshire, I.E. the South Yorkshire accent.

I am from cumbria and have lived in west yorkshire for 4 1/2 years now, and whenever I go back everyone tells me what a real yorkshire accent i'm getting. south cumbria has just a northern accent, non distinguishable to area, so I am now proud of my yorkshire accent!! i'll sithee

Sue Oates
I absolutely love the Yorkshire accent - mum came from Barnsley and moved to Hampshire when she married. She spent most of her life trying to get rid of what I thought was a great accent. I am now in contact with my cousin who lives in North Yorkshire and he speaks with a definate,old Yorkshire dialect. He doesn't try to moderate it at all, and why should he. When we first discovered each other, via the internet whilst researching the family tree, I could barely understand most of his words, but now I very rarely have to ask for translation! By the way, he is only in his forties, so it's great to know the good old Yorkshire dialect is not dying out!

I am from west yorks, and my mum used to call a clothes horse a winter hedge, and christmas baubles were wessley bobs, does anyonne know these words? She used to say to my daughter as a child "tha nooan baan ter rooar atta?" which translates tha [your] nooan[not] banna[gonna] rooar [cry] atta [are you]?

David Green
As a boy in the 40's I'd hear a boy ask at our door "Is thoo cumin oot tee lark?" meaning Are you coming out to play?

Lynsey O´Donnell
I was born and bred, in Acomb on the outskirts of York. I never really though i had much of an accent. However, i now live in Portugal with a family who were brought up in Wilberfoss and Stamford Bridge and i noticed a slight difference. But the shock really came when i started my new job as a telemarketer for a property company. I talk to people with different accents all day long, and often people can tell me instantly where i am from. It is nice to listen to hear what people have to say about York and the surrounding areas. So many people like the area. I also think it is safe to say, that i didnt realise how nice York was until i Moved away.

Si Hudson
How about the Accent from the Northallerton area of North Yorkshire? We seem to have a strange mixture of accents there - are we classed as having a Yorkshire accent? personally i dont believe so...

Jack Briggs
I once read that a pair of Yorkshire lads were having trouble making themselves understood whilst visiting Denmark. They were about to give up asking for a room for the night, when one of them lapsed into his native tongue and said that he wanted to 'lig aht fo't neet'. He was plainly understood and they obtained a room. Another Danish connection I have heard of is a warning sign about a children's play area, which used the word 'laik' - A common Yorkshire word.

Im from York and am dead proud to be broad yorkshire! us northerners will talk to anyone and everyone and i reckon that our accent helps us with that. Our accent makes us everyones friend.

i've just come from yorkshire and i really liked their accent. i'm from malta.

I couldn't be more proud of being from Yorkshire, and more importantly, South Yorkshire. I have made no attempt whilst growing up, to drop my accent infact I've probably got much broader as I have got older. However, I do not approve of the stylised assumptions made from some Southerns that we all wear flat caps, keep whippets and eat beef dripping. My home town of Doncaster is one of the top spots for Night Life in England and the Horse Racing is hardly attended by flat cap wearing men in wax jackets with whippets is it?!

Ilike the Yorkshire accent for many reasons like at first I were born in Birmingham but moved ter Yokshire in 2001

I love the Yorkshire accent. i myself am from Yorkshire although i moved to Australia when i was only a bairn! But i am fiercly proud of being english and even more so of being from yorkshire. at the moment i am teaching myself the yorkshire dialect. I'm from yorkshire and watch a lot of BBC tv over ere but i cant do a english accent i can after watching BBC but not really but these pages have helped me and im working on it. IM DYING TO GO BACK TO ENGLAND! *Beautiful Yorkshire, always in my heart* it is the best and most warm and friendly ive heard.

i've had a couple of negative experiences, which have caused me to question my accent. It doesn't feel at all comfortable, but more and more these days, I find myself choosing to 'speyk proper'. I feel I am cutting my roots whenever I do, yet feel 'judged' if I don't. What an unfortunate state of affairs!

I live in America and I'm reading "The Secret Garden" aloud to my daughter. I wanted to try to get the Yorkshire accent right. I know people from Birmingham and Manchester, but no one from Yorkshire. This website was a big help. Thanks.

I av a classic west yorkshire accent en mi mam keeps telin mi off cos a dunt se mi words proper. When a see mi famliy in new zealand the never know wot am sayin, a tel em that the ort to lisen to this Barnsley lass who a wek wi, nar thats ard to undastand. Am recognised as a yorkshire lass whereva a gu an am proud, a wunt change it fer owt.

re Matt's comments: 'Ladgin' means embarrased, 'weeny ladgin' means very embarrased. What about Bimff? That means cold and 'Bimff as' means very cold.

Charles Alexander
What a delightful article. it took me back some sixty odd years when I was a teenager and lived in Hull. I now live in America and have done so for 51 years but I could still translate most of the expressions and really impressed my wife. After the war I worked on a farm in Garton for almost two years, and that was where I got my real education.

I've often wondered why we Yorkshire folk when not in Yorkshire try to moderate our speech so that we might be better understood.One never hears the Scots, Irish or Welsh do this so why do we? Even moderated, the accent is still there and lots of people like it so we should rightly be proud of our origins and Yak away to our hearts content.We do lose a bit of our accent when away from home over a long period. When I came home on leave in the second world war, my relations would call out to one another, "Eh, cum an lissen to our 'arry talking posh." When in India during the same war my mates were short of something read so all I had was the local newspaper sent out to me, so I lent them this.Soon after, a shout was heard, "What the 'ell is this.?" Two or three Scotsmen had come across an article in Yorkshire dialect. It was 'Buxom Betty' in the Bradford Telgraph and Argus Saturday's edition. They brought the article to me for translation and had me speak slowly so they could compare my words to the printed word. They eagerly awaited all future editions. They said they didn't know that the English had dialects and after ever that treated me a bit different, as in "He's more like us and not a bit like the other English." Comoing from the North of England they must have thought, "Well, he's almost Scottish anyway." So lets not broaden our accent to emphasise our origins but at the same time lets not painfully try to translate it into pure English.Another thing has just come to mind, radio messages during atmospheric interferences can legible when passed by someone with a Yorkshire accent.As a well known comedian used to say "Not a lot of people know that." I'm now going to look for me owd cloth cap and wear it forever.

I tink the yorkshire accents is classic but irish is cool too but notin and i mean notin can beat the yorshire one I was born up norht and everyone in at haute Vallee in jersey laugh at me because of my accents when i told ma mam she just said speack to sister and the only sister i ave is a bairn so i told ma mam at tea and she just said see how it goes so i did and it got better

I think every accent is brll but Irish is a class act one an im from jersey we dont have an accent but id luv 2 ave 1 ure lukcy i guess

I recently moved to the south but im from good old up north!! My friends at school make fun of my accent but i will always say the Northerners are better than the southerners!!!

Stu M
I've a couple of friends from the dales who, on first hearing them, I couldn't understand a word. And I'm on the edge of the dales myself. The variety of accents within our county is astounding - I've friends in Hull who sound totally different. In fact the Hull accent is one of the funniest - literally - I've ever heard; I'm surprised it's not sent up more (in a nice way, of course)!

I'm from Thirsk and very proud of the varied and colourful Yorkhire accents.The nicest thing anyone as said to me was by a lady from the Black Country who said that my ac cent reminded her of a warm coal fire!

yorkshire born, yorkshire bred,strong of arm and good in bed!

I am from Harrogate area and say "spice" for sweets and we don't have much in common with Ponte or Cas - yes, old West Riding but rural, not industrial!

Northern England without Yorkshire's ethnic Danish speech? Why subordinate it to Anglo-Saxon or Norman? We did not voluntarily give up our legitimacy for political correctness, as it was forced upon us...Even if the Danelaw was made by BOTH of our kings for PEACEFUL ends. Who conveniently forgets this and the Sveinsen dynasty? Apparently, Forkbeard was descended from our king at Lejre in Zealand--Ragnar Lodbrog, the father of the dynasty of kings who ruled jointly in York with Dublin and Man...Why be ashamed and awkward over a dialect formerly spoken at King's Square for royal functions?

I think the Yorkshire accent is a truly great accent, its warm, friendly and reminds me of such things as dales, cricket and good tea. I am from Yorkshire though have been studying in London and now Berlin and it was very nice to hear that poem via the internet

The Yorkshire accent is one of the nicest sounding accents in the country. I don't really mind people taking the mickey out of it, because it shows that people notice it and it's got character.

At school I'd hear things like "That Ladgin Buewer chored me packup" meaning "That unattractive girl I don't like very much has stolen my packed lunch"



Go to the top of the page

How do you speak? How do you speak?
Audio links on this page require RealPlayer
AudioYorkshire abroad!
AudioSun, moon & morning star
AudioActing up in York
From the horse's mouth...
Read and listen to an interview with Yorkshire dialect expert Dr Barrie Rhodes
Interview with Yorkshire dialect expert Dr Barrie Rhodes
Message Board - do you like your accent?
Play the game

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy