There is a saying outside of Yorkshire along the lines of; ‘Tha can aluz tell a Yorkshire man (or woman) – but tha cannot tell ‘im (or ‘er) much!’ Folk from the rest of the UK mostly take a dim view of Yorkshireites – they are perceived as loud, assertive, overly friendly, obsessive about the superiority of Yorkshire cricket, and pedantic to the point of insanity! They also speak a totally alien language from the rest of the UK – apart from those from Newcastle where, not only is the language alien, it couldn’t be deciphered even if you had the Rosetta Stone!
Coming, as I did, from the South, all Yorkshireites consider my accent ‘plummy’ and I am therefore labelled a SNOB in big letters! Yorkshire people have an opinion about everything because they know everything there is to know and they don’t mind letting everyone within earshot know that they know. Pendantry was conceived and birthed in Yorkshire.
J is a Yorkshireman (or woman)!
It therefore follows that she can be somewhat pedantic ( I know – I’m soft-peddling, but J will read this at some stage and Yorkies are feared and fearless terriers), although having been around me for many a year, she has mellowed a tadge.
As evidence of Yorkshire pedantry, I offer the following from the letters pages of the renowned UK publication ‘Private Eye’.
Eye 1289 Pseudo Names:
. . . I’ve just come back from ‘t field and a dog’s been at the sheep – it’s a blood bath.
Farmer Geddon (geddit?)
Eye 1290 Pedantry Corner:
. . . Farmer Geddon should at least try to follow the basic rules of grammar when he next attempts to take the piss out of North Country patois. He should understand that the purpose of an apostrophe is to fill the place of missing letters, so his phrase: “I’ve just got back from ‘t field” is nonsense. It should, of course, read: “I’ve just got back from t’ field”.
Eye 1291 Pedantry Corner:
Farmer Geddon is arguably more correct than Peter Sharples in placing the apostrophe before the “t” in north country dialect “t” for “the”, this being derived from the neuter form of “the” in Anglo-Saxon (theet). Compare Dutch “het” (masculine “de”).
(The form ‘t is Yorkshire dialect, whereas Lancashire is generally th’).
Eye 1293 Pedantry Corner:
To Farmer Geddon, Peter Sharples and Charles Warwick I am obliged to say “Nay lad!”.
Being South Yorkshire born and bred, (although now away many decades), in our area the ‘the’ was never a ‘t’ at all. The ‘the’ was and is an almost imperceptible hiatus between two words. The nearest I can come to writing it is “trouble at ‘ mill” – the ‘ in place of the three missing letters of ‘the’. Or, a longer example, “Down ‘ Wicker weer ‘ watter runs ovver ‘ weir” (three missing thes).
The important thing to remember is that to really represent the accent accurately you must definitely sound these examples out loud wherever you are.
I especially fondly recall ” ‘t i’n’t in ‘ tin” (only one the here).
Yours for ‘ Society o’ ‘ Preservation o’ Regional Accents,
Janet Surman. (for it is, indeed, she)
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü
ps I wish to emphasize that the above are not typos – they actually speak like that up there!