Babbel Logo

Speak a new language with confidence. Try Babbel for free!

The School Of British Accents – Learn The Yorkshire Accent

Yorkshire is home to one of the UK’s most-loved accents, but mastering it is no mean feat for native Brits and non-natives alike! Here’s how you can master the local lingo and blend in with the locals without arousing any suspicions…
Author's Avatar

Yorkshire: a place where your mush can be reight mardy (translation: your friend can be in a bit of a bad mood). As with all English dialects, the origins of this particular one can be traced back to the Saxon Era. However, as a dialect from the North of England, there was also considerable influence from the Vikings, who settled heavily in this region, incorporating the area that constitutes modern-day Yorkshire into the Danish-ruled region Danelaw.

The Yorkshire dialect arguably contains some of the most obvious traces of Old English out of any British dialect. Anyone not familiar with it might be rather confused by two words which crop up frequently – owt and nowt. No, these aren’t noises you make when you accidentally walk into a door on your way out of the pub, rather the Yorkshire variants of “anything” and “nothing” respectively. Seems a bit, well, foreign? Not when you compare them with the Old English a wiht and ne wiht

Want To Speak Like A Yorkshire Native?

The first thing you should work on is how to pronounce the vowel A. Rather than the long A sound common in Southern England, pronounced as if it were followed by an R, if you want to sound like a proper Yorkshire native, then you should opt for a short and sweet A sound, and practise saying “bath” and “grass” until you’ve perfected it. Next, chuck “the” out of your vocabulary – no more definite articles! “The” is often shortened to simply T, essentially becoming a glottal stop. For example, if you were really proud of yourself, then rather than saying “I’m very proud of myself”, you could instead employ the Yorkshire phrase “I’m chuffed t’bits!” (notice how the word “to” has been shortened to ‘t’).

Yorkshire Phrases (For A Night Out In Leeds)

  • Yorkshire: “How do?”
  • Standard English: “How are you?”

When to use it: This is the perfect phrase to use when you enter a pub and are desperate to make a great first impression on the barman in order that he A, serves you quickly, and, B, lets you sit in “old Jack’s seat” next to the fire.

  • Yorkshire: “Put wood in’t hole!”
  • Standard English: “Slam the door on them!”

When to use it: When someone mocks your excellent Yorkshire pudding making skills and/or accuses you of being from Lancashire.

  • Yorkshire: “Everyone’s been faffing me around.”
  • Standard English: “Everyone has been messing me around”.

When to use it: When your mates turn up late to meet you, can’t decide on which pub to go to, and then spend 10 minutes at the bar “hmmmming” and “arggghing” and trying to decide which drink they want!

Which Famous Folk Speak Yorkshire?

Popular culture is peppered with examples of Yorkshire-accented speakers, a famous example being the band Arctic Monkeys (who hail from Sheffield). But, if you’re looking for more light-hearted examples of authentic Yorkshire-speak, then you can’t go wrong with the famous Monty Python The Four Yorkshiremen sketch or this over-the-top homage to the Yorkshire dialect from Michael McIntyre.

By 'eck! I want to perfect my English so I can travel to Yorkshire and chat to the locals!

'Ow do?

Recommended Articles

The Royal Family Of British Accents — The Amazing Variety Of Accents Across The British Isles

The Royal Family Of British Accents — The Amazing Variety Of Accents Across The British Isles

What does a “British accent” sound like? It depends who you’re asking and where you are in the British Isles. Here’s an overview of 7 regional varieties of British English.
School of British Accents – Learn The Geordie Accent

School of British Accents – Learn The Geordie Accent

Fancy learning more about the distinctive Geordie accent? Or maybe you’re even feeling brave enough to attempt some Geordie phrases for yourself? Read on to find out just what makes this distinctive accent from Newcastle tick.
The School of British Accents — Learn The Scouse Accent

The School of British Accents — Learn The Scouse Accent

The Scouse accent is one of the most recognisable accents in the UK – there’s seriously nothing else like it! But do you think that you can speak Scouse?
Author Headshot
David Sumner
David Sumner hails from a small seaside town in Devon (the part of England that's so rural it puts Tolkien's Shire to shame), and he's been living in Berlin since 2010. After completing a Master's Degree in Politics at the University of Potsdam he got the itch to join Babbel and share his insights into learning languages. When he's not living the kebab-fueled Berlin dream he's rocking out to Icelandic keyboard rock, playing the drums, and escaping to the Alps every chance he gets.
David Sumner hails from a small seaside town in Devon (the part of England that's so rural it puts Tolkien's Shire to shame), and he's been living in Berlin since 2010. After completing a Master's Degree in Politics at the University of Potsdam he got the itch to join Babbel and share his insights into learning languages. When he's not living the kebab-fueled Berlin dream he's rocking out to Icelandic keyboard rock, playing the drums, and escaping to the Alps every chance he gets.

Which language do you want to speak?