There’s nowt so queer as folk

Today’s blog comes from our fantastic competition winner Emma Wilberforce.

Yorkshire. God’s Own County. Those who live there love it. Those who visit love it too. It’s a great place to be but then again I’m probably biased, having been brought up there.

One of the things that continues to fascinate me about thearea, even more so as a Linguistics student, is the array of accents you hear across the county. Maybe because it is such a large county, divided into several regions, that there is plenty of room for variation. Someone from York doesn’t necessarily sound the same as someone from Leeds, despite being half an hour’s train ride apart.

Mixture of dialects

University provides a great mixture of accents and dialects from all over the county as well as further afield but often not everyone understands what everybody else is saying…

My housemate is seeing a friend of mine who is from Wakefield in West Yorkshire and comes out with some particularly Yorkshire phrases, which my housemate sometimes finds it hard to get her head around. It made me wonder what it was that caused her to struggle to understand these interesting phrases. My first thought was that she’s not from Yorkshire, which may explain it, although having lived in York for the past three years I was determined that this wasn’t the only reason.

The second explanation I came up with was that I have known him for longer and, often, the longer you know someone, the better you understand their accent. Another reason I found was that we’re both from The Shire, as it’s fondly known, and therefore there could be some mutual intelligibility found amongst the regions of Yorkshire and between fellow Yorkshire folk. Maybe it’s a Northerner thing? People from The North have no problem understanding each other. Whatever it is, my housemate will just have to work at it because those Yorkshire-isms aren’t going to disappear!

Some things which I’ve picked up on which I feel are very much synonymous with Yorkshire and maybe exclusive to certain parts of the county are listed below; contextualised and translated into Standard English:


I’m working 10 while 4 = I’m working from 10 until 4

You don’t get owt for nowt = You don’t get anything for nothing

Summat’s going on = Something’s going on

Y‘reight? = Are you alright? / How are you?

I’m going t’pub = I’m going to the pub

If that isn’t reason enough to visit Yorkshire, I don’t know what is!