Yorkshire Words Of The Week

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From: WH Bradley, Woodthorpe, York.

When I was entering teen years (many, many years ago) my father used to tell me that I was a “hobble-di-hoy, neither a man nor a boy”. I have never heard anyone else use this term, but as he was brought up in Worcestershire and moved to Yorkshire via Lancashire it might not be a Yorkshire dialect word, but I do wonder if anybody else has ever heard it.

One Yorkshire word I have not seen mentioned (although I may have missed it) is “stalled” as in “I’m stalled” meaning either “I’m tired” or “I’m bored”.

I went to school in Keighley and remember how you could distinguish whether a boy came from “Cobbydale” (Silsden area) or “Brontëland” (Worth Valley) on either side of the town by listening to their accents. I don’t think they used different words, it was more the pronunciation and intonation that was different.

I noticed a difference in pronunciation when I moved to the Huddersfield area where they pronounced the “o” in the word “love” as it is spoken in the word “off” whereas in the Keighley area it was spoken as “luv”.

Another expression I have not heard since I was at school is a straw hat referred to as a “straw benji”. Again I do not know if this is a dialect word or a word made up by school children.

From: John Fall, Bedale.

As a boy growing up during the war, I am reminded of a rather churlish old fellow who always seemed to be hard up, a condition he called “financial cramp” and his advice for getting by was “do somebody before they do you.” He couldn’t put up with children who wouldn’t do as they were told, which prompted him to say “by, some folks have some orkered bairns”. A poor marksman with a gun he said “couldn’t hit a barn door if he was sat on’t sneck” whilst a person with a big appetite he dubbed a “double kiter”.

From: Leonard Abel, Kirkby Road, Ripon.

Here’s some dialect from pig killing days at our Lawns Farm, Snape. We killed three 20 stone plus pigs every year only when there was an R in the month. Our pigs ran in the Castle Fold yards to clean up the slather of chopped turnips, linseed and cotton cake from the mangers and tumbrills to collect swill and food waste, plus a shovel full of coal slack on the fold yard causeway for vitamins. A pole axe, legal in those days, was used to stun the pig.

Once dead it was lifted onto a creel, then scalding water in a laidin tin from the copper was poured over the pig to loosen the skin and hair which was scraped off with metal candlesticks.

The carcass was hung for three days then cut up into bacon sides, hams and spare ribs. Leaves of fat were rendered into cooking oil and crappins, dry curing lasted for three weeks using saltpetre, crushed rock salt and Demerara sugar.

Our old butcher needed an egg cup full of whisky before he started.

From: Mary Dutton, Langcliffe Avenue, Harrogate.

WHEN I was young, living in Hull at busy times (perhaps spring cleaning) when too busy to stop for a meal, we had a “biting on”, perhaps a piece of cake, to keep us going. When in a fish and chip shop one would ask for a “two and one” or ‘fish and a pennuth’, both meaning a tuppenny fish or a pennyworth of chips.