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There is no denying that Yorkshire Slang makes for an interesting conversational cornerstone when travelling through the UK’s largest county. However, it is not so easy to learn and understand Yorkshire Slang as you might think. It has taken many people years to master the art of Yorkshire dialect, but fortunately, there are now self-defence and everyday classes available. A quick online search for “Yorkshire slang” will reveal what we mean when we say it – a list including words such as “arse”, “bloody”, “bastard”, “cunt”, “dud”, and more. There is a lot to be said for learning to speak correctly in a foreign language, but you can also have fun while learning!
One of the things that make Yorkshire slang so enjoyable is the colourful way in which it is spoken. The words that sound as weird (and some do, actually) are usually used with a lot of force, and their meanings are never clear. Instead, we get lots of guesswork, a few of which are usually quite accurate. For example, one of our very popular words is “ow.” This stands for “old,” but is usually used to refer to something that is no longer young (for example, “the dog is nearly as old as me. “).
Another popular word that you might hear spoken these days is “sarnie.” This word is a corruption of the older word “sarn, Rottie,” and means “a fool.” However, when used in a Yorkshire context, “sarnie” means “a male fool.” The origin of this word is almost as fascinating as understanding how it came to be!
Another great way to enjoy the colourful nature of Yorkshire slang is to make yourself a bit of a character. If you want to impress someone, you might try asking them if they are a “real Yorkshire broad.” If they are, then you can tell them that you are not, and then explain that you are from Liverpool. If they respond in a negative manner, you can then explain that you are from Yorkshire and that you are looking for a “real Yorkshire broad.”
A good example of using Yorkshire slang in a positive way would be to describe yourself as “a burly guy.” “A burly guy?” Now this may seem like a funny way to say that you are a guy, but if you say it with the proper Yorkshire accent, it can take on a life of its own. If you have ever seen somebody wearing a suit, you will notice that a suit makes some people feel more comfortable. If you are trying to fit into that “suit” wearing a Yorkshire accent, then you will know just what I am talking about.
One of the best examples of “real” Yorkshire slang is when you see somebody with a Yorkshire twang. When you hear someone say, “I’m a man who wears his pants so high,” this means that they have come a long way from the “manky.” Nowadays most men do wear their pants very high up, but if you were to look back in time, you would see a man in his teens or younger who would probably wear his pants very low. “Manky” is a younger version of “man.” So if we are calling a man a manky, it is pretty close to calling him a Yorkshire gent.
The Yorkshire dialect is known for its great use of contractions, which can make everything sound pretty much like an insult. For instance, when somebody was told that he was “coming late to town,” he could be taken to be saying that he was “coming to town and wasting his time.” But if he instead says that he is “coming to town” and then contractions, “ta ra reyt,” which means “through the woods.” You might think that he is saying, “I’m going through the woods.”
Bagsy is a term for somebody who is gay, or at least someone who likes to sit around and talk to people who are gay. It started in the United Kingdom but has now spread all over the world. In the United States, the origin of the word is “bag-seer” or “bagsy bow.” It is considered a highly acceptable alternative to fags and niggles, so long as it is not used in an offensive way. One example of the use of bagsy in this context is the phrase: “Bagsy just hit the road for a gay cruise.”