Relics of the Ancient Mother Tongue

"Buildings crumble with the centuries, words survive"

A collection of phrases and sayings from about 1918 that indicate the origins of the Yorkshire dialect as being of Danish dialect origin. Pure dialect is seen as being a relic of the Dalesman's Mother tongue. About 3/4 of  the Yorkshire dialect is seen as being of Danish origin. The Norse or Northmen brought with them place names such as Thorpe, By, Carr, Rigg, Dyke, Beck and Ings, but many Danish words  in everyday language have been retained.

Yorkshire became part of the Danelaw when Danes overan the eastern part of England. They appear to have occupied the less fertile land which was already occupied by settled Anglian villages. However the Danes took on the social position of the elite until intermarriage broke down the barriers, the Danish readily accepted christianity and retained positions as 'Sokemen".

It has been recorded that Danish people visiting Flamborough Head could be understood by locals because of the similarity of dialects & Visitors from the Dales have been half understood by Scandinavian people.
     Yorkshire dialect phrase          "Interpretation"   Danish
Is ter bahn w'hom? Are you bound home
Lig thi dahn, lad lie down lad                      Ligge = lie
I think this bagend will be cold (back end being  last part of the year)                                         Baggende= hind part
                                        Forrende= front part
ter brek it tu to break into two              At brekke i tu
at his band end
at his far end
run out of patience
think me on about that asking to be reminded of something
getten across quarrelled
at home with that familiar with something
they can't do owt wi' 'im beyond guidance
owt anything
e.g there's nivver nowt but there's summat
as soon as one problem is finished there is another.
allus always
nobbut only
nivver never
onneygait anyhow
termorn tomorrow
he did an all he did indeed
ger away getaway, disbelief
sitha see there, look.
I'm stalled fedup
tak up weather going to brighten or "get up"
he drove like all that fast
chunter complaining
clag to stick, heavy bread could be claggy to eat.
faff to trifle with something
flay to scare "E were fair flaid"
fratch quarrel
marlacking larking around at a loose end when bored
sleck slake, put out a fire
not tek on so fret about something
side the pots away remove the tea things
I'll warm thee to scold
I'll warm thee jacket to scold or spank
sneck door latch
ginnel or snicket narrow passage
a wick one lively person
brussen swelling due to over eating
he might as well lap up to stop doing it
he is fair tewed troubled and over tired.

                                  How Yorkie wer spoke
he doesn't frame  does not do things correctly
kist chest
fotty forty
mud e.g. tha mud as well go might
ta'en taken
fowt fought
feyght fight
threng or throng busy
slack not enough employment
moidering something worrying
near a stingy person
onny a bit like barely tolerable
peff* cough
scratting fussing over domestic details   Kratte=to scratch
segs hard skin on the hands and feet
skep (skip* beyond Skipton) basket
starkle e.g. don't drink cold water after chips it will starkle the fat.
starken (E. Yorks.)
to stiffen
threap beat someone down by stubborn arguement
wisht* be quiet
twilt on the lug* smack on the ear
brass money
muckment rubbish
pobbies bread in milk
tallacky messy
thoil e.g. he can't thoil to lend a penny begrudge
yonderly vague
bethowt remembered
bensilled thrashed
sackless lazy
addle earn
backen to retard
bass matting
cawfead silly person
fast e.g. fast for bricks held up for supplies
brazzend no sense of shame
brat pinafore
cap e.g. it will cap everything surprise
reesty rancid
rife ready for
hands turn e.g. he never gives a hands turn help
hig take offence
hasky rough
sadly e.g. I'm afraid he's sadly these days not so well
want  do these letters want posting

The Dialect Society has been busy collecting the variances of dialect throughout the U.K.

*Yorkshire-Lancashire border rather than Dales dialect.

Modified with additions from Tom Hey, The Dalesman December 1976 p 711

Yorkshire Dialect Prayer
Taken from Arnold Kelletts Book retold by Gillian Nixon via Yorksgen mailing list.

Ahr Fatther, 'oo art in 'Eaven,
Let thy name bi shown respect,
Let thy Kingdom come abaht
An' what tha wants doin', Lord let it bi done
'Ere on earth
Same as up yonder;
Gi'e us each day
Summat to eyt an' sup;
An' let us off, Lord,
If we've offended Thee bi doin' owt wrong
An' 'elp us nut to 'od grudges
Agen other fowk
If thev'e done owt to offend us
An' keep us aht o' t' rooad o' temptation,
An' aht o' t' clutches of Owd Nick,
Fer it's all thine is t' Kingdom, Lord,
An' all t' Pahr an' all t' Glooary
Fer ivver an' ivver
Aye It is that!

Tales and Ballads in the Yorkshire Dialect


Copyright ©  Tim Midgley 1999, modified  26th September 2010.