An Index of the Contents of the Transactions for the Years 1897-1910

A characteristic of these earliest issues, perhaps, is the large size of the individual articles (often referred to as “Papers”), and a tendency to deal with the English language in general, in its etymological and historical aspects, as if dialect study requires the respectability of being part of a larger “science” of language development. As with most branches of knowledge, the bolder statements of over 100 years ago, and the agendas they sought to address, often appear inadequate. The compiler has attempted where appropriate to direct the attention of readers to these points, a task made easier by his abiding interest in the earlier forms of the English language, and the accompanying scholarship. He hopes that the editorial interference does not prove excessive or distract from the Transactions themselves, and that readers and researchers may feel free to disagree with it wherever necessary.

Addy, S.O., The Collection of English Dialect. “When a man has once become known as a collector of dialect, friends and acquaintances will send him things which they hear. But it is a bad plan to publish without verification.” December 1906 {Part VIII} pp 23-33.

ADLINGTON DIALECT. See 1904 {Part VI} pp 3-4. 1908 {Part X Volume II}. pp 5-16.

ALMONDBURY DIALECT – see Taylor, Rev. R.V.

BAILDON DIALECT. 1904 {Part VI} pp 32-43.

Balance Sheet 1899-1900. £34, no shillings, and 3 pence in the kitty! 1901 {Part III} page 122.

BARKSTON WAPENTAKE – see Cole, Rev. E. Maule.

BRADFORD DIALECT. July 1898 {Part I} pp 18-25.

Bradley, Henry, Dialect and Etymology. “The scientific etymologist must be prepared to meet with a great deal of incredulity as to the validity of his results (and sometimes with good reason – calling a discipline a “science” does not make it infallible – Compiler) … Only in local dialects [are] the laws (sic) of phonetic change …exhibited in all their simplicity…Disturbing (for whom?) influences of dialectal admixture and of literary culture … The minute study of dialect phonology is not…mere aimless triviality. Tharf-cake or tharth-cake, coarse gingerbread also called parkin [is claimed to be] from the Old English theorf, unleavened….An early importation from…Old Irish, brat, a child’s pinafore (sic)…Nobody uses it in the south of England (but it was found in South Pembrokeshire English and in North Staffordshire, and is probably simply archaic: the word might have been introduced by, say, a domestic servant from Ireland at any date – hardly inevitably by St. Aidan in the 7th century! – Compiler). … The duty of the student of etymology is…to abstain from mere random guesses.” 1908 {Part X Volume II} pp 17-34.

BRONTË, CHARLOTTE and EMILY – see Federer, Charles A.

CAEDMON (PSEUDO-CAEDMON?) – see 1902 {Part IV} pp 24-40.

Chadwick, H. Munro, Early Inscriptions in the North of England. Useful account of runic and other inscriptions of non-Viking origin. Photographs of two stones at Thornhill, one at Kirkheaton, page 78. 1901 {Part III} pp 78-85.

Clarke, Rev. Thomas, Anglo-Saxon as an Aid to the Study of Dialects. Words from Bradford dialect that have such roots include:
hooin – to ill-use, from A.S. hienan, henan, hynan
thoyl – to put up with, endure from A.S. tholian
laak – to play from A.S. lācan
leet on – meet with from A.S. alihtan, to alight
July 1898 {Part I} pp 18-25.

Clarke, Rev. Thomas, The Importance of Phonology in the Study of Popular Speech. Trevisa (1385): “Alle the langages of the Northumbres, and specially at Yorke, is so scharp slittinge and frotynge (grating) and unschape, that we southeren men may that langage unnethe (scarcely) onderstande.” The rhyme indicating the closeness of English to Frisian,
Gûd butter en gûd tshîs (cheese)
Is gûd english en gûd fries
(various spellings), is here assigned to Halifax:
Goo-yd breud butor and cheees
Is goo-yd Alifeks un goo-yd Freez.
1903 {Part V} pp 32-47.

Clarke, Thomas – also see Unwin, S. Philip.

Cole, Rev. E. Maule, Vicar of Wetwang, Ancient Danish “Mensnames” in Yorkshire. Quotes an article apparently by Prof. George Stephens of Copenhagen in turn quoting a page of the early 11th century added to the c.950 Lay Folks Mass Book that contains c. 75 apparently Danish names, such as Merleswain, and the Barkeston and Sirack wapentakes place-names Barnby, Brayton, Brotherton, Car, Kereby, Ho and Hillam. Merleswain also occurs in Gaimar’s Estorie des Engles:
Marleswain aveit a non,
Daneis esteit, riche e baron,
and in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. So, despite the Anglo-Saxon language of the document, does it represent a list of Yorkshire Danes from the “wiking” (sic) period? February 1906 {Part VII} pp 43-49.

Craven, S.K., Hon. Secretary, Report (on the foundation of the Society). Professor Joseph Wright appealed for the formation of a committee to collect further Yorkshire material for the English Dialect Dictionary: this was formed in October 1894, and provided over 35,000 words and phrases. Apparently feeling that this work was “done”, the committee was dissolved on 19th February 1897, but the chairman and secretary appealed for help in continuing, and hence the Yorkshire Dialect Society came into existence at its General Meeting of 2nd July 1897 (But the adjoining List of Members is headed “Founded March 1897”.) July 1898 {Part I} page 41.

Crossland, Charles, The Vowel Sounds and Substitutions of the Halifax Dialect. Mentions smaller local differences, e.g. between Ovenden and Heptonstall, etc. 1899 {Part II} pp 49-53.

Crossland, C., Some Place Names in the Parish of Halifax. Does justice to more local terms, such as nab, scout, carr, syke, graining, lumb, den and dean. 1902 {Part IV} pp 3-23.

Cursor Mundi – see 1902 {Part IV} pp 24-40.


EAST RIDING (WOLDS) DIALECT. 1910 {Part XI Volume II} pp 5-35.

Editor, Report on Annual Meeting, Saturday October 15th 1904 at the Town Hall, Keighley. Transactions of 1903 have “excited considerable interest”. Meeting approved the promotion of Scholarships / Prizes for Dialect study in one of the Northern Universities. At Intermediate Meeting, 28th May 1904, at Ripon, Mr A. Hargreaves read a Paper, The Lancashire Dialect, with special reference to Adlington. 1904 {Part VI} pp 3-4.

Federer, C.A., The Danish Element in the Northern Folk Speech. July 1898 {Part I} pp 7-11.

Federer, Charles A., A Bibliography of Yorkshire Dialect Literature. A very interesting, and now historical, list: sections for glossaries and works written entirely or mainly in the dialect (176 items), for works containing definite portions of dialect matter (101 items), and for some works containing “sporadic dialectic fragments” (75 items). The items are also distinguished for locality, viz. Y. Yorkshire General, N.E. North East Yorkshire, N.W. North West Yorkshire, N. Nidderdale, V. Vale of York, E. East Riding, C. Craven, B. Bradford District and Lower Airedale, D. Dewsbury and Wakefield District, H. Halifax and Huddersfield district, L. Leeds District, and S. Sheffield and South Yorkshire. Charlotte and Emily Brontë both mentioned in the third section. 1901 {Part III} pp 86-114.

Felon Sewe of Rokeby – see 1902 {Part IV} pp 24-40.

Financial Statement 1906-1907. Balance stood at £32, 15 shillings and thrupence (3d) ! 1907 {Part IX Volume II} page 40.

Foster, T. Gregory, Some Considerations relating to the Study of Old English Poetry. Recommends the study of Anglo-Saxon (= “Old English”), but extrapolates from Tacitus’s Germania a developed paganism, seeing, in the manner of the time, the Anglo-Saxon poetry as a manifestation of a “non-Christian” heroic fatalism utterly disconnected from such possible Mediterranean sources as the books of Scripture or contemporary Latinity. 1910 {Part XI Volume II} pp 36-44.

GAIMAR, Estorie des Engles – see Cole, Rev. E. Maule.

Green, Rev. J. Hanson, Yorkshire Dialect, as spoken in the West Riding during the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, Illustrated from the Towneley Mysteries and Modern Dialectic Literature.
What shall I to his moder say?
Ffor “Where is he?” tyte will she spyr.
1899 {Part II} pp 54-68.

GEORDIE BURR – as part of Northumberland Dialect. 1903 {Part V} pp 7-31.

Green, Rev. J.H., The Yorkshire Dialect and its Place in English Literature. Yorkshire Speaker of Parliament temp. Mary Tudor sounded to one listener like an “ale-house tale”. Author sees a “Golden Age” in “Northumbrian speech”, from c.1200 to c.1550. Quotes Caedmon (or Pseudo-Caedmon: Satan: Habbath me swa hearde helle clomas faeste befangen: “Hell’s chains have held me so hard.”), the Northumbrian glosses, St. Godric of Finchale, died 1174 (Sainte Marie Cristes bur, Maidenes clenhad, moderes flur), the Cursor Mundi, Richard Rolle, the Mystery Plays, the mock-heroic Felon Sewe of Rokeby (Scho bound her boldly to abyde, To Peter of Dale scho cam aside, Wyth mony a hideous yelle). 1902 {Part IV} pp 24-40.

Green, Rev. J. Hanson, A Handful of Derivations. After condemning “etymological quacks” he derives 12 Yorkshire dialect words from “Celtic” (11 of which Welsh, and probably themselves from English) and quotes the Welsh-looking sheep-counting rigmaroles. Usefully points to consonant and other permutations: e.g. tlik for “click”, dlas for “glass”, pattren for “pattern”. Many dialect words and phrases listed throughout. February 1906 {Part VII} pp 25-42.

HALIFAX DIALECT. 1899 {Part II} pp 49-53. passim in 1903 {Part V} pp 32-47.

HALIFAX PLACE-NAMES. 1902 {Part IV} pp 3-23.

Heslop, R. Oliver, Dialect Notes from Northernmost England. Map of Northumberland, showing subdivisions of the dialect (North Northumberland, South Northumberland, West Tyne and Tyneside) and the limit (less than the county, but including Gateshead and Berwick) of the “burr” (distinctive “Geordie” r-sound), page 9 . Daniel Defoe mentioned the “Shibboleth upon their Tongues in pronouncing the letter R.” Map of the Viking Settlements, showing none north of the Tees, pp 28-29. The “living tongue of Teviotdale” is claimed to be the same as Northumberland dialect, though classified as Scottish. Burn used for beck. (Cf. lough used for lakes near Housesteads – Compiler). Landlord (finding poacher with a gun): Don’t you know there’s no shooting here, my man? Poacher/pitman: Shootin’ (shouting), sor? Aa’s nivver oppened my mooth! 1903 {Part V} pp 7-31.

Hirst, T.O., Some Features of Interest in the Phonology of the North, Midland and West-Northern Dialects. Direct comparisons between words in Windhill, Oldham, Adlington and Kendal pronunciations. 1908 {Part X Volume II}. pp 5-16.


KENDAL DIALECT. 1908 {Part X Volume II}. pp 5-16.

Kirkby, Councillor B., of Batley, Jottings from the Leaves of a Dialect Collector’s Note Books. “The disputing person can prove [this] by trying to carry the six volumes [of the English Dialect Dictionary] and if he succeed … he will have considerably more dialect in his arms than any but one man had in his head” Attempts to connect Westmorland gunner insult-word for a one-eyed person with Gunnar of Njálssaga, and ooin (“badly treated”, as in: Th’art sadly ooin’d, mah bonny bairn.) with the father of Andvari the dwarf in William Morris’s Story of the Volsungs.(!) Other attempts to retrieve the origin of dialect words from folkloric sources – e.g. swearing By Goi from some pagan deity or month-name rather than the Christian’s avoidance of misusing the Lord’s name. Assumes Scandinavian origin for sea-terms used by landlubbers – as if the Anglo-Saxons themselves did not arrive by water! Lists presumably obsolete and unexplained derision terms page 16, and mentions other dialect words – generally unexplained – passim. 1907 {Part IX Volume II} pp 5-21.

Lay Folks Mass Book (c.950) – see Cole, Rev. E. Maule.

List of Members:
July 1898 {Part I} pp 42-48 .
1899 {Part II} pp 69-76.
1901 {Part III} pp 115-121.
1902 {Part IV} pp 45-50.
1903 {Part V} pp 49-54.
1904 {Part VI} pp 45-50.
February 1906 {Part VII} pp 51-56.
December 1906 {Part VIII} pp 35-39.
1907 {Part IX Volume II} pp 35-39.
1908 {Part X Volume II} pp 35-39.
1910 {Part XI Volume II} pp 45-49.

Mawer, Allen, Language and Dialect. “The determination of dialect areas is almost entirely arbitrary … a definitio nominis and not a definitio rei…The national speech [i.e. Standard English] is …that speech which has freed itself from all peculiarities which will prevent its being understood in different districts [a definition owing to] Jespersen, Phonetische Grundfragen, chapter 3…The old local dialects are fast tending to disappear … which makes the work of the Yorkshire Dialect Society so valuable … before it is too late.” 1907 {Part IX Volume II} pp 22-33.

Metcalfe, John (Editor or author?), Sol, A Farce in the Baildon Dialect. “I wor just singin to keep mi pluck up. Brass left? I wish tha’d guessed reight, owd lad, bud ther’s no sich luck.” 1904 {Part VI} pp 32-43.

Moorman, F.W., The Wakefield Miracle Plays. “The ruthless bully, Caiaphas, is very different from the law-abiding Annas, who endeavours to restrain the savagery of his colleague by reminding him that he is a man of holy kyrk,
Ye shuld be oure techer mekenes to wyrk.”
February 1906 {Part VII} pp 5-24.

Morris, Rev. M.C.F., Rector of Nunburnholme, The Treasures of Dialect, with Illustrations from the Folk-Speech of the Woldsman. Derives whin = gorse from the Welsh chwyn, weeds, claims kinship for the “Danske Sprog” formerly in Angel at Flensborg Fjord, ignoring North Frisian on the opposite coast and the Slavonic place-names of the area: cites H.F.Feilberg’s Jutlandic Dictionary (Ordbog over Jydske Almuesmål) as a “storehouse of learning” for Jutland and Slesvig local speeches – but which are “Anglian” and which Danish? But the question is fudged by proceeding straight to the 9th century Scandinavian settlement – especially as East Riding Wolds dialect is claimed to “represent the old Norse tongue” (It is not Norse but Anglo-Saxon in type – if it were Norse, the problems of origin would present fewer enigmas, perhaps – Compiler). Interesting snippets on the sounds, phraseology of Wolds dialect as observed in his day. Welcomes the development of the study of English at Oxford, etc. but deplores any neglect of the Classical languages. 1910 {Part XI Volume II} pp 5-35.

MYSTERY PLAYS – see 1902 {Part IV} pp 24-40.

NATTERIN’ NAN (= BEN PRESTON). 1902 {Part IV} pp 41-43.

NJÁLSSAGA – see Kirkby, Councillor B.

NORTHUMBERLAND DIALECT. 1903 {Part V} pp 7-31.

NUNBURNHOLME DIALECT. 1910 {Part XI Volume II} pp 5-35.

OLDHAM DIALECT. 1908 {Part X Volume II}. pp 5-16.

Peacock, E. On the Word “Osmond”. Quoting many sources, the author concludes that osmund was a fine variety of iron from Sweden used for such work as arrow heads, and processed from the sponge-like brown deposits of bog-iron. July 1898 {Part I} pp 11-17.

PRESTON, BEN, dialect writer. 1902 {Part IV} pp 41-43.

Ripon, Marquis of, President of the Yorkshire Dialect Society, Inaugural Address. “Dialects have not altogether departed from us yet. There are amongst us, at all events in the dales of Yorkshire, many persons who speak a language which persons from the South find it still by no means easy to understand.” July 1898 {Part I} pp 3-6.

ROLLE, RICHARD – see 1902 {Part IV} pp 24-40.

ST. GODRIC OF FINCHALE – see 1902 {Part IV} pp 24-40.

SCOTS, including SCOTS LITERATURE – see Taylor, Rev. R.V.

Scruton, William (Baildon), Ben Preston. Tribute on the death of “Natterin’ Nan”, author of The Dialect Poems of Benjamin Preston (1867), “witness of glaring evils that stirred his soul to its depths until he could hold his tongue no longer.” 1902 {Part IV} pp 41-43.

SIRACK (Skyrack? near Otley and Horsforth) WAPENTAKE – see Cole, Rev. E. Maule.

SOL, A FARCE (in dialect). 1904 {Part VI} pp 32-43.

Stead, Richard, The Two Yorkshire Dialects. Deals with the distinction between “Northern” and “Midland” dialects – the latter in West Riding south of Harrogate and Pateley Bridge, according to the map on pp 20-21. Map of “the 4 prime English dialect divisions” on page 9 – viz. “Lowland Scotch” (undifferentiated) , “Northern”, “Midland”, and “Southern” – rather broad and generic, placing Tennyson’s “Northern Farmer” (S. Lindsey) in the Midlands, completely obliterating Wessex dialects, and creating a blank west of Worcester! “An array of 20 dialectal varieties in the single county of Yorkshire, 11 in the Northern, and 9 in the Midland division.” December 1906 {Part VIII} pp 5-22.

STEPHENS, GEORGE – see Cole, Rev. E. Maule.

Taylor, Rev. R.V., On the Yorkshire Dialects. Mentions a Mr Easther’s compilation, A Glossary of the Dialect of Almondbury and Huddersfield. Advocates learning Scots in order to enjoy Scots literature. “The late Poet Laureate (Lord Tennyson) did not deem his native Lincolnshire dialect beneath his muse.” July 1898 {Part I} pp 26-33.

Turner, J. Horsfall, Some Work for the Society. An ambitious suggested programme requiring refined investigative skills and unbounded leisure. “Confine your researches to one of the Ancient Parishes with which you are well acquainted. If the Parish be too large… select such Township in it as you best know, and, that there may be no overlapping, please make your offer known at once to the Secretary who will keep a register”(!) July 1898 {Part I} pp 34-40.

Unwin, S. Philip & Clarke, Thomas, Report. “The following resolution was unanimously passed: The Yorkshire Dialect Society desires to offer its hearty and appreciative congratulations to Professor Joseph Wright…on the punctual completion of his monumental work, The English Dialect Dictionary, and also on the issue with equal punctuality of his English Dialect Grammar.” February 1906 {Part VII} pp 3-4.

Unwin, S. Philip & Clarke, Thomas, Report. “Dr. Wright[’s English Dialect Dictionary] was undertaken only just in time. Before many years have passed, much of the material, of the oral tradition…will have disappeared…” 1903 {Part V} pp 3-5.

Unwin, S. Philip & Clarke, Thomas, Report for 1907. “The Council has not lost sight of the proposal to establish one or more Scholarships for the special study of Dialect at one of the Universities … The matter has until now remained in abeyance. They trust that before long they may be able to report further progress.” 1907 {Part IX Volume II} page 3.

VOLSUNGS – see Kirkby, Councillor B.

WINDHILL DIALECT. 1908 {Part X Volume II}. pp 5-16.

WOLDS DIALECT. 1910 {Part XI Volume II} pp 5-35.

Wyld, H.C. (apparently – not given with the article, but the “great authority on the English language” mentioned in the Editor’s Report), The Study of Living Popular Dialects and its Place in the Modern Science of Language. “The older school of dialect students…[assert] either the great beauty, or the great primitiveness of their dialect, or both.” Before 1878, the writer asserts that “the centre and chief aim…had been the reconstruction of the Aryan Mother Tongue” which was considered “uncorrupted” (and identified too readily with Sanskrit). “Most of the…developments in the vowels of the modern English dialects are not of earlier origin than the 16th century.” 1904 {Part VI} pp 5-31.

YORKSHIRE WOLDS DIALECT. 1910 {Part XI Volume II} pp 5-35.

Visit our Facebook page

Follow us on Twitter