Wednesday, 26 December 2012

East Yorkshire dialect

I have always enjoyed listening to those people I know who still use out local dialect quite naturally. And having been brought up in the area around Howden I too still use some dialect expressions myself - although unless someone tells you that you are doing so how do you know?

One expression commonly used in our family is  'all taffled up' when describing maybe a ball of string or recently the heap of cable and Christmas lights we had pulled out of a cardboard box. It is a version of tangled up and is apparently peculiar to Yorkshire. I am not sure even if  it is only used in East Yorkshire.

Another discussion I had recently, after looking at the weather,  was about words meaning raining. I said 'it's teeming down' which I do not think is East Yorkshire dialect but then someone else used the phrase 'siling down' which I think is.

A sile is  derived from the Scandinavian word for a sieve and a local farmer's wife once told me that it was used of a particular type of sieve in a dairy where the milk ran straight through - hence it's raining heavily.

I could probably think of many more but here are just  a few phrases and words which I know, some of which are from my childhood but many of which I have heard used in the last few months - can you add any more?

it's slape - slippery

that fire is up to the galleybokes [one of my father's from Driffield, describing a fire piled with coal almost up to the gallows balk, which was what a hook hung on and from which a pot hung]

it's wick - meaning alive, often with fleas although a visitor once asked me if a particular cable was wick [live - ie had power through it]

goodies - sweets, although people from West Yorkshire often refer instead to 'spice'

drinkins - the drink taken out to farm workers in mid morning, sometimes also called 'lowance'

flitting - moving house

bairns - children

I will finish with what is supposedly a true story about Yorkshire road and rail signs. I will leave readers to check how true it is!

Several road signs had to be changed after Yorkshire people were  very confused by those at bridges and rail crossings which read 'Do not cross while lights are flashing'. Locally the word 'while' means until - e.g. 'wait there while I come back'.

Meanwhile I will take Molly out for a walk across the claggy field, returning all clarty having walked through countless slop holes but grateful that at least it is now a cockstride lighter.

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