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24 September 2014
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Yo’am alwright, aer kid
Students talking
Students talking
Dialect is a very important part of Black Country life. But one thing you can be sure of, nowhere else in the world speaks quite like Black Country folk.

Click here for the dialect dictionary
audioAynuk and Ayli's comedy routine and interview (28k)
audioHear, BBC WM, Tony Butler's views (28k)
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Black Country dialect vocabulary

Black Country jokes

About the Black Country

2006 update:
click here to add your dialect comments

'Ow we spake' - More Black Country dialect and sayings
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- The Black Country covers Walsall, Wolverhampton, Dudley and Sandwell.

- The name Black Country, comes from the industrial history of the area.

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People often mix up the Birmingham and Black Country accents. Over the years the two have almost merged. The overall sing-song quality and word pronunciation make the two accents very similar.

People that live in the Black Country are very proud of the way they speak. They have their own dialect and vocabulary as opposed to just being a different accent.

One of the most famous features is the
'yam yam' sound when saying certain phrases. 'You are' is pronounced yo'am and 'are you' is pronounced 'am ya'.

Vowels are also often changed. When people greet each other they use the phrase 'Yow awight' meaning 'you alright'.

Here are a few other examples of vocabulary and pronunciations:

Black Country word
It ayIt isn't
Alf baerkedStupid
Argy- bargyfight
BostinVery Good

More words and phrases>>
Click here for the dialect dictionary

Lenny Henry
Lenny Henry

Among the celebrities from the area who speak with the Broad Black Country accent are, funnyman Lenny Henry and ex-slade frontman Noddy Holder. Aynuk and Ayli comedy duo are Black Country fictional characters who often comment on current events or everyday life in the local dialect.

A strong regional accent can sometimes convey a negative impression and can also be considered as a drawback in business. Tony Butler, BBC WM presenter, was born in Wolverhampton and worked in Birmingham all his life. Listen to the experiences he had when it came to getting his job in local radio.( Download Real Player )

User Comments

2006 update:
Find out more about the dialect and add your comments

Just a quick note to say that 'ark' as in 'ark at im' tends to mean 'listen' (from hark) not 'look' as in the table. Also missed from the list is 'Snap', meaning food / packed lunch. Ta, and ta-ra-a-bit!!
Fiona - UK

Here's another item for your Black Country phrasebook - " gone bad ways" - meaning a wound has gone septic or pus-filled.
Anne and David - UK

Now I have read this - I may venture further north than the Watford Gap.
Tom - London

Love the website, very funny to a cornish girl from a family of black country-ers whom i can never understand!

Katie Pearson

Being an exile i love to hear that singing lilt I can pick it out anywhere even in a room full of people I think accents should be a subject studdied in our schools as they are historically interesting as well as vocally facinating

Trevor Taylor - Northampton

Ourer accent is sound as a pound. It al the other soft cows accents that's the darwback.

Ray - Walsall

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