If you follow BritWordaDay on social media, chances are you’ve seen these Ulster English posts. It was part of our March Madness social media campaign. Also, to honour of our Irish friends of Northern Ireland, from which this dialect hails.
So, I was curious how much our followers were actually seeing these posts. Also, I thought a quiz might be a good way to assess our teaching progress as well as the absorption of our supporters. In other words, is BritWordaDay adding value? Are you learning this British dialect?
Do You Know These Ulster English Words?
Below is our quiz on this particular dialect. I’ve used common British words to give you hints as to the meaning of these Ulster English words. Best of British to you, mates!
When something is ready for the knackered yard, one would say it is banjaxed, as well.
Blokes, if you’re chatting up a bird, then you are also chatting up a blade.
A general term for a more mature bird, but don’t call your gran a carlin, ok?
Caught in an argy-bargy or a row? Then you might be feeling carnaptious.
Drawkywould often describe Old Blighty which would require a brolly.
When you’re feeling parky or it is quite Baltic, then you’ll be foundered, too, I’d expect.
Something wee bairns often do, keenin’ for their mummies to wipe those bums of poo.
The opposite of a boiler would be a munyabird, a top totty.
Take a holiday to the seaside where you buy a poke for 99p, perhaps for a bit more.
Whisht would be the same as simply saying oi! or belt up!
Where to Find the Answers
BritWordaDay has Facebook albums, many of British words. If you’re curious as to the answers, for our quiz, view our Facebook albums and see if you can find which album contains these Ulster English words. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your answers.
If you answer all 10 of these quiz questions correctly, we will send you a special prize for the winners!
Each Northern English region has its unique pronunciations of common words and local expressions. To speak like a Northern Brit is more than just an accent; it’s about using the colloquial speech in the proper context. Many Britons outside the northern regions find some of these dialects difficult to understand. Truly, it’s like speaking another language. In my book, there is an entire chapter devoted to these dialects called Regional Dialects of the North. There is also a section in the back called Glossary of UK Words by Region and it has the main dialects of Northern England.
Yes, I am a British Word Nerd
I must confess that I was in word nerd heaven as I studied these northern dialects. I even searched YouTube for videos on northern speakers so I could hear how the various British dialects sounded. As I’ve mentioned in my Brummie post, I love imitating British accents and have a good ear for them. I will perfect these dialects so I can video myself demonstrating them in the near future.
Below, I’ve broken these dialects into 2 regions: the North West and North East.
Spoken in the county of Cumbria and is similar to the Lancashire accent. This dialect is not to be confused with the Celtic dialect of Cumbric spoke in the Early Middle ages.
Be reet – It’ll be all right
Garn’t bog – I’m going to the toilet
Garn yam – I’m going home
Hoo’doo – How are you doing?
Whut yer djarn? – What are you doing?
Once inclusive of what are now Greater Manchester, Merseyside, and Cumbria, there is some cross-pollination of this dialect with those of Manc, Scouse, and Cumbrian.
Legit – Run
Muppet – you silly thing
Maun’t – must not
Oookin – jolly good
Trollied – drunk
This Manchester dialect is said to have influenced other regions of England via TV shows like Coronation Street and rock bands such as Oasis, Joy Division and The Stone Roses.
Antwacky – Old-fashioned, no longer in style
Bins – Spectacles or sunglasses
Devoed – Generic proclamation of negativity, derived from devastated
Fettled – Fixed, repaired or mended
Give your ‘ead a wobble – To have a rethink about something
Also called the Liverpool dialect or Merseyside English, this is the home and speech of those famous lads known as the Beatles. These speakers are called Scousers. The word “scouser” comes from the shortened form of “lobscouse” which is a meat stew eaten by sailors in the 19th century.
Beaut – idiot
Bevied Up – drunk
Deffo – definitely
Sack It La – stop that or don’t do it
Sozz – Sorry
Geordie is the nickname for residents of the Tyneside region and has its roots in the Anglo-Saxon language. The name “Geordie” comes from the miner’s safety lamp, invented in 1815 by George Stephenson’s called the “Georgie Lamp”.
Clamming – starving
Deek – a quick peek
Doylem – idiot
Gadgie – an adult male human
Giz a bag o’ crisps – no, I don’t fancy him/her
Colloquially known as “Yakka”, it’s the primary dialect of the counties of Durham and parts of Northumberland. It evolved as a distinct dialect from both Northumbrian and Geordie partly due to the specialized terms used by mine workers in the local coal pits.
Gansey – have a go/turn
Nee way – no way, disbelief
Owt Else – anything else
Top House – public house (pub) at the top of the main street
Why Aye – yes, please
The term Mackem originates from ship workers on the River Tyne who say that people on the River Wear (Mackems) “Tak’em jobs off us (Geordies) and mak’em (make them – i.e. ships)
Bait – food taken to work (lunch)
Divvent dee that – do not do that
Hinny – honey, a term of endearment
Man – often used at the end of a sentence even when talking to women: Howay, man – Come on, man
Why-Aye – Why of course
This dialect comes mainly from Middleborough and is known chiefly as a “Smoggy or Smoggie”, a contraction of ‘smog monster’. This refers to the pollution once allegedly produced by the local petrochemical industry.
Come ‘ere, yer little get – Come over here, you rascal
Ee-ya mate – excuse me
Pretty Canny – quite good
What’s the matta with yer? – What is the matter with you?
Yerjokinarnyer? – You are joking, aren’t you?
This dialect is close cousins to its Geordie and Scottish neighbors. As a result, there are similar pronunciation of words and some shared vocabulary as well.
Belta – really good
Boule Aboot – mess around
Hairn (or Hen) – honey, a term of endearment
Nettie – toilet
What are the’ deein’? – What are they doing?
Most people are familiar with Yorkshire because of the popular TV series Downton Abbey. When I was listening to Yorkshire accents via YouTube, I could clearly hear the voice of Paul Copley aka Mr. Mason in my head. He has the most classic Yorkshire accent, the one coveted by non-Yorkshire actors. No surprise as he is from Denby Dale of West Yorkshire so it only makes sense that he would nail it!
Cack-handed – clumsy
Daft as a brush – stupid
Flaggin’ – tired, worn out
Good ‘un – good one
Maffin’ – hot and clammy weather
Did you learn something about Northern British Accents? How did you like these quirky words and sayings? Login to post your comments. Download this companion infographic: 30 FUN NORTHERN BRITISH WORDS on your laptop, smartphone or tablet.
Anglophenia Does British Accents
Check out this YouTube video below to hear the lovely Siobhan Thompson amaze you with her British dialect skills. There are definitely northern ones included!