This blog gets a lot of North American readers, for which we thank you all and ask you to forward us $100 for no reason. We’re an English site, though, so we figured we’d get all didactic for you and teach you all a thing or two about how to speak proper English. Northern English, to be precise, the North West region where Manchester, Greater Manchester, and Lancashire reside whilst populated by cheeky sorts who like a cuppa, drunken football riot, and speaking in garbled English which (eventually) becomes endearing.
How to Speak Northern English
For further clarity, in case you’re a bit dumb, below are a selection of regular phrases used in the aforementioned regions of England. Please feel free to print this list off and refer to it should you be passing through the North West.
The quintessential Northern opener. “Y’oreet!?” will get you everywhere here. You can even have entire conversations just grunting this term, and the one below, back and forth. Pronunciation: “Yoh-reet?” but you can really hang on to the “e” bit so it goes “Y’oreeeeet?” and the “t” is usually a silent “t” so it’s really only “Yoh-ree?” – we didn’t indicate this was going to make much sense when we started, so please calm down. English vernacular isn’t that scary.
Oh yes, this, incidentally, means “Are you all right?”, so at some stage this must have morphed from that to “You all right?” and then this cannibalised itself so we ended up with what is, essentially, garbled nonsense only one region of England can understand.
For those even lazier, you can drop the “Yoh” bit our and just plump for plain old “O’reet”. Pronunciation: “Oh-reet?” Don’t for the life of you say “All right?” to anyone as they’ll think you’re probably French, or something.
This can be bellowed at, seemingly, inappropriate moments and no one will bat an eyelid. It is pronounced thusly: “e-HUH”. It means this – “what?” but is just a shortened version of that as, why not? Use it wisely, non-English folk, as in Chorley, Lancashire, you may be able to get away with roaring it whilst on the tinned goods aisle of Morrisons, but in New York you’d be arrested within five minutes.
More complicated than it looks, this means “thanks” or “thank you” but the complexity arrives with how long you hold onto the “a” for. You can just drop a one second “Ta” in, but you can also drag the “a” a bit further if you want, so you get “Taaaaa!” but this should, most certainly, never go beyond three seconds for health and safety reasons.
Conversely, if you wish for someone to refrain from further discourse with your person, you can land this behemoth. This actually complicates matters as “shut up” is a relatively easy term to reel off, but you’ll find by merging the words together the magnificent flow of “r”s is a magnified way of getting someone to shut their face.
With no pauses in the flow of dialogue, it also ensures fast talking Northerners can’t get any quips in between the “shut” and “up” bit. Believe us, if you were to land “shut”, battle-hardened Mancs, in particular, would be able to land a volley of vitriol before you’ve even gotten to “up”. Thusly, “shurrup” maintains your place as speaker in the conversation.
This was traditionally used between men to indicate there’s a friendship there, or something along those terms, but it’s fine between women and men these days as well. Pronunciation is easy: “mate”. Combine this as a suffix to many of the terms mentioned here and you can wrap up a sentence effectively.
It’s Pissin’ it Down
This means, in no uncertain terms, the steady downpour of rainfall is extensive. As it rains a lot in Northern England, drop this one into polite conversation as often as possible to fit in.
Now you know the fundamentals, here’s an example of how a conversation could go during your stay in Northern England – pay attention, as this combines many of the lessons above so you can hold coherent chit-chat. Please note, for the sake of this example imagine you are in Manchester and it is raining – you duck under a bus stop and a battle-hardened Northerner in a Man Utd t-shirt eyes you up warily.
- Battle-Hardened Northerner (BHN): Y’oreet?
- You: O’reet, mate?
- BHN: It’s pissin’ it down.
- You: [Nodding politely]
- BHN: [Confused silence]
- You: [Awkward glances towards BHN]
- BHN: Whereaya goin’ f’ t’ reet down bairn f’ t’ fuckin’ ‘eard it, like? Yer ‘angin’ daft ‘apeth, mate, not ‘avin a strop, like, but mint it ain’t.
- You: Er… taaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! [5 seconds lingering on “a”]
- BHN: EH!? Shurrup!
Note in the above example where you went wrong. Not only did you drop in an irrelevant “ta” you held onto the “a” beyond the recommended health and safety point, confusing the local and forcing out of him/her a spot of belligerence. Raining or not, drop in a quick “y’oreet” and head off back out into the wilderness. Better luck next time!