Language Fun!

A Simple Word-Recognition Experiment

The following dialect words are known to be in contemporary use in parts of Yorkshire, but they may not all feature in your particular area. It might be interesting to present them (or a selection) to your class in order to see what they recognise. DO NOT GIVE THE DEFINITIONS AT FIRST ... find out if the children understand them or use them at home, or know other people, such as relatives, who do.

They may be familiar with some of them without necessarily knowing what they mean. Alternatively, they may give different (but equally valid) definitions. You may have children in your class who have moved into the area from other parts of the county (or country!). Explore the differences and similarities ... but always stress that no accent or dialect is in any way superior or inferior to any other.

Ask them if they know any other local words not in the list. Look them up in a dialect dictionary.

Addle: (verb) to earn. Old English via Old Norse
’Appen: perhaps (happen)
Attercop: (noun) spider. Old English "poisonous spider” cf Adder
Baht: (Adjective/ preposition) without. As in "On Ilkla Moor baht 'at". Old English
Backend / Backendish: (noun / adjective) Autumn / Autumnal....self-explanatory!
Blain / Blen: (noun) sore, swelling or boil. Old English
Cat Hawed: (adjective) drunk - pronounced "cattored"
Creel: (noun) bench for killing pigs. One of the very few Celtic words still used in Yorkshire
Kelter / Kelterment: (noun) Junk, rubbish, litter
Lap: (verb) to cover or wrap up
Laik: (verb) to play, or laze around. Old Norse
Lowance: (noun) a packed lunch; from "allowance”
Lug: (noun) ear
Mafted: (verb) to feel very hot or breathless – “Ahm reet mafted!”
Mash: (verb) to brew, as in tea
Nesh: (adjective) weak, feeble. Feels the cold. Old English
Nithered: (verb) to shiver with cold. Old Norse
Nowt: (noun) nothing. Rhymes with "stout" or "coat", Literally Naught
Ovver / Ower: (preposition or intensifier) over. Rhymes with "hower", "hour” or "sower"
Owt: (noun) anything. Rhymes with "stout". Literally Aught. NB “Owt or nowt?" Anything or nothing?
Piking off: (verb) to leave without paying. Probably related to turnpike. A pikey spent a lot of time on the road. A tramp etc
Putten: past tense of the verb to put. Cf gotten - associated with American English but surviving jn parts of Yorkshire from original standard usage
Puther: (verb) to make clouds of smoke or dust, eg "Yoon's putherin’ toneet!” The oven's smoking tonight!
Rick / Rigg: (noun) haystack, back or ridge. Almost any ridge-like feature
Rigwelted: (verb) on its back and unable to move (of an animal)
Rive: (verb) to tear or rip out
Sile / siling: (vert)) to rain heavily
Skell: (verb) To tip or spill. Old Norse. A sower skells the seed
Skeltered: (adjective) crooked
Slape: (adjective) slippery
Sock: (noun) a ploughshare. Another very rare Celtic survival ... possibly reintroduced via Cumbria by Vikings who had previously settled in Ireland
Tagareen: (noun) junk, rope, marine stones, bits and pieces etc. A coastal term, thought to be of Irish or even Midle Eastern origin, but seemingly limited to Yorkshire and Northumberland
Theak: (verb) to thatch - hence surname Theaker. Old Norse
Thoil / Thole: (verb) to tolerate, put up with, stand or bear. Old English
Thrang / Throng: (Adjective) crowded, busy
’Ug: (verb) from "hug". Always used to mean lift or carry, not to embrace in the standard sense
Urchin: (noun) hedgehog
Varmint: (noun) vermin. Old form surviving in America and Yorkshire
Wick: (noun / adjective) small insect, especially a lively one. Relates to quick -originally meaning alive. Eg "as wick as a lop." - "As lively as a flea." Old English
Yam: (noun) home
Yat: (noun) gate
Yatstead: (noun) Threshold - ie the space covered by the swing of an opening yat
Yoon: (noun) oven

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