Embracing the Quirky Language of Yorkshire Expressions and Phrases


Yorkshire’s a diverse region with a long history. As well as being known for sport, music, stunning landscapes and vibrant culture, it has one of the most recognisable accents in the country.
Yorkshire dialect is a dying vocabulary. However, we’re here to try to keep it alive by sharing our very own Yorkshire dictionary, which will help you converse with those of us who still use Yorkshire expressions.
I have a relatively soft Yorkshire accent (I’m from Bradford in West Yorkshire.) As a result, I’m easily understood by other English speakers in most regions without much trouble. I’ve rarely had to alter my accent in the various places I’ve travelled.
However, sometimes, people need to understand where I’m from. For instance, whilst travelling in Southern USA, it was common for people to ask which part of Australia I was from or what the weather was like in Scotland.
Granted, The accents are different; it’s just not very common to hear Yorkshire folk in the mainstream media in the US. Fair play to them.
Game of Thrones gave the accent more exposure than ever on the global stage. A number of the main characters speak with a Yorkshire accent, and the first season (sorry for the spoiler if you’ve not watched it yet) stars Sean Bean with his authentic Sheffield accent.
The most recognisable feature of a Yorkshire accent is how we drop the “H” sound in most instances. This is something that exists in a few different UK accents as well. Falling sounds like this is known as a Glottal Stop.
For example, “How are you” is “‘how are you” in Yorkshire.

A Linguistic Journey through the County

Another common characteristic is that we hate saying “The.” It’ll almost always be replaced with “T” (more efficiently if you ask me).
“I’m going to the pub” is transformed into “Am goin’ pub.”
We also disdain the word “with,” preferring to shorten it to “wi'”. For example, “Am off shop wi’ Dave.” In the same vein, we also don’t enjoy pronouncing “ing” at the end of words. Opting to drop the G. Further, we like to merge words wherever possible – “Avin’ a gooden” = “Having a good one.”
Some southern comedians like to poke fun at the Yorkshire accent and dialect by portraying it as a lazy and somewhat stupid variation of the Queens English.
However, this is far from the reality of the situation. The Yorkshire tongue has a rich history and dates back to the Viking invasion of England. This means that it’s less a variation of “Proper” English but an evolution of the language in its own right. So there.
Unfortunately, “proper” Yorkshire accents have become less common, and to find it in its purest form, your best bet is to travel to some of the region’s more rural areas.
Yorkshire men and women are some of the proudest you’ll find, and more people are embracing their heritage by speaking the Yorkshire tongue proudly.
The Yorkshire accent is a beautiful thing and can be confusing to outsiders. You could spend years in a town, and then when you move a few miles down the road, you’ll find that these Yorkshire folk use a whole host of different phrases to describe where you’ve just been. There are some similarities between Yorkshire accents across the west, south, north and east of God’s Own Country, but the language is just as beautiful despite the differences. With that in mind, Yorkshire slang is a hard thing to define.

Definitions of Local Terminology

The strongest accent has to be in the South of Yorkshire, especially Barnsley, which has many words that other parts of Yorkshire don’t use. We asked our wonderful readers what words and phrases are most Yorkshire and aimed to create the ultimate guide of Yorkshire words and phrases to make this the top place for all things Yorkshire. Let us know if you’ve got any more that need to be on our list!
The word was used to describe something of excellent quality or rather unusual. For example, you might say, “Eee, it’s a right, Bramah.” I have heard the phrase and wonder if it is still displayed. Someone reading this can enlighten me.
The word’s origin is likely from a South Yorkshire man named Joseph Bramah, who was born a farmer’s boy near Barnsley in 1748. He fattens up to be an abnormal inventor and engineer, most famed for his locks, the first of which was patented in 1784.
Bramah was noted for his near attention to detail and understood precision’s importance in engineering. His locks earned a reputation for being exceedingly secure and of a high standard, and people with property and valuables worth saving found themselves worrying less if a Bramah lock secured them. They crop up in works by Charles Dickens, George Bernard Shaw and Frederick Forsyth, and according to Peter Wright, who wrote the disputed book ‘Spycatcher’, Bramah locks were used for diamond safes and were by far the hardest to break and practically impossible to pick.

About the author

Olivia Wilson
By Olivia Wilson


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