Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lost in translation


My mum (or mam as we say "oop North") has been staying for the past week and in that time I've heard the Teens ask her :-

"What's poompwatta?" Pump water

"What's dooityersen?" Do it yourself

"What does nesh mean?" Nippy "What's nippee?" Chilly "Chilli that you eat?" Cold for...heaven's sake. It means COLD

"What's a barmpot?" A silly person. One who doesn't know what "chilly" means, for instance

"What's an a'peth? As in, you daft a'peth?" Erm, a half-penny worth. A silly person.

"What's bawk mean?" To gag, or heave

"What's a bonnybairn?" An attractive child

"What's cackanded?" Clumsy

"What's bagsey?" (Bagsey me first) I want to go first.

Her answers were generally followed by a cry of, 'well why didn't you just say that in the first place??' Closely followed by them talking in cod Northern accents and rolling around in fits of hysterical laughter. I don't think they completely understand the intricacies of dialect, but it did make me think that there may be a gap in the market for a book translating Yorkshire into English.

One thing they DON'T say in Scarborough though, as far as I can remember, is the oft mis-quoted, "eeh bah gum."

But don't quote me on that. I'm "as daft as a brush I'll 'ave thee know."

18 comments:

Paul Capewell said...

That's brilliant! I had an American over recently and was trying to teach her some Scottish phrases and words, but there's just as many regional English ones too!

I'm going to come a cropper in Manchester I just know it! But I also have a very chameleon accent so I'll be saying aye by the end of week one.

Lane said...

Gawd I wish I had an accent! I had a deprived childhood and was born without one;-)

I've been called cack handed though. Oh yes! Was you mam talking about you?:-)

Yvonne said...

My fella is from Birmingham and he uses a lot of those phrases (a'peth and bagsey especially) but my Northern Irish friends use bawk, bonnybairn and cackanded all the time. Isn't English a gorgeous language?

Annie Bright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Annie Bright said...

What a great idea for a book - shall you go for it?I have no accent, but have always wanted one!  When I'm with those with an accent, I will copy it -because I want it! I now have no friends, but I do have a multitude of voices for every occasion ;-)p.s. sorry about the delete!  I keep doing that to everyone.  I'm so indecisive!

TOM FOOLERY said...

A talking book? Hmmm, could have possibilities methinks."eeh bah gum." :) TFx

JJ said...

Cackhanded is one of my favourite words. It so precisely describes what it means!

There's not a trace of Ooop North in me, apart of what I might have absorbed at University there, and yet I grew up with quite a few of those phrases!

Anna said...

I remember reading The Secret Garden as a kid, and not getting it at all...

but after 11 years there, it makes more sense. :)))

HelenMH said...

I love 'daft a'peth'. When I was very small I thought it was something to do with apes.

Tam said...

I'm a bit of a mimic (not intentionally!) so tend to pick up the accent of wherever I am. Ecky thump!

Debs said...

I'm definately cackhanded but I haven't heard of some of the other sayings. I can't think of any from here, doesn't mean there aren't any though, just means that I'm a bit switched off.

Ernest de Cugnac said...

so when did you become genteel? and how and why?

Faye said...

Same problem on this side of the pond. My friends often say they need an old English dictionary to interpret the expressions I learned as a child from my Scots-Irish-English family tree. Why I used to be "plagued"(embarrassed) by this, but not any more.

Dumdad said...

As my dad was a Yorkshireman and as I lived in Leeds for some years, this is all sounds quite normal. There's nowt as queer as folk.

For being cold, you might have mentioned starved, as in "I'm starving to death out here!", meaning being very cold.

Any road up, thanks for taking me down memory Lane....

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Love the richness of our language. My favourite Glaswegian phrase is 'ahm urney gonnay dae rat' means ‘I am not going to do that!

Good read catching up with you again. Haven't been posting much as believe it or not I followed a great bit of advice that you posted some time back. That was the first time I came across your blog and you made such good sense. It was the post where you said that when you counted up the amount of words you wrote commenting on blogs and writing posts you realised that you had written so much that it could have contributed towards your novel instead! So given that I am stretched for time until I get into a routine with my new job – posting takes a back seat until I make a dent in my book! Thanks Karen for such sage advice to a newbie writer. Hope yours is going well too. x

Lily Sheehan said...

What's poompwatta?" Pump water - lol that made me spit out my yoghurt for laughing. I wrote a short story in northern dialect (My family are from Leeds) and the editor chose to omit it. I was v. gutted. Maybe i should have included a few more words like that. v hilarious.

Kerry said...

Ohh lots of these are often used in scotland too especially barmpot which was used much about me in my childhood :)sadly not so much bonnybairn!

KAREN said...

paul - It's surprising how many there are - even I'd forgotten most of them!

lane - I lost my accent not long after I moved away and don't know what it is now. And yes, me mam was talking about me. Apparently I still wash the dishes the wrong way round?!?

yvonne - I don't know about gorgeous, but it's blummin' peculiar at times :o)

annie bright - I'm sure it's already been done actually! You can borrow my old accent if you like, but stop deleting yourself. It makes me wonder if you accidentally said something rude the first time :o)

tommo - A talking book would be good, but if it was a Yorkshire one it would never shut up!

jj - I think some of the phrases are more universal than I thought. I love "cackhanded," which is just as well seeing as I am!

anna - It can be very confusing - my children found it hilarious!

helenmh - There're a few sayings I've only quite recently understood!!

tam - I tend to do that too. If I'd moved to Scotland I'd be och aye the noo-ing all over the place!

debs - I must admit I can't think of any that are local to where we live now.

ernest - The minute I left Yorkshire. Only kidding. I was always that way inside ;o) Not that I'm ashamed of my roots, but I used to wonder when my 'real' family was going to come and get me!

faye - That's quite a family tree :o) I think there's some Irish on my maternal grandfather's side, but nothing obvious!

dumdad - I've never heard that one! Brass monkey weather my gran called it, but I've heard that said down here too.

mob - I worked with a Scot many years ago and I never understood a single word he said! He must have thought I was deaf I said 'pardon' so often.

Really glad my blog inspired you to get writing - wish it had the same effect on me. No, actually I'm doing quite well at the moment :o)

lily - It was my daughter who said it, and I couldn't speak for about an hour I was laughing so much. She made it sound like a German word! I think editors find dialect quite hard to read, which is a shame.

kerry - I'm not sure I was ever a bonny bairn, but definitely a barmpot! And cackhanded...

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