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Lancashire (pronounced "Lankisher") is a county in North Western England. Currently (post-1964) it is everything from the top end of Manchester to just south of Barrow in Furness however, previously, it included Manchester (but due to the latter's growth that has its own dialect and traditions) and the towns of Stockport and Warrington, which are both now in Cheshire. The Lancashire dialect is that spoken by people from this area.

If you ask a person from London to speak like someone from oop north he'll probably attempt to impersonate Lancashire dialect. Badly. He'll then probably reckon he's speaking like someone from Yorkshite, sorry, Yorkshire. There are differences but the trained ear can pick them out. However, for reasons that will not be gone into here, this is Really Big Deal, and asking a person from Lancashire what it was like to grow up in Barnsley will get you looked at funny. This is not uncommon amongst provincial English folk. Asking a Lancashire person what it was like in Yorkshire is almost as threatening to your health as being unable to properly discern Geordie, Mackem, Smoggie, and Pitmatic.

Right. Here's some common Lancashire expressions. Sources are mainly my family, who were from St Helens (pronounced "Sant Ellins") and environs. People from Owdem, Blackpewl, Burnley, Mosstun, and other towns may use slight differences.

  • aye - yes.
  • by eck - intensifier, general. "Chester City? We thrashed 'em, by eck!"
  • Boddies - Boddingtons bitter. Brewed in Manchester.
  • fer't - Contraction of the archaic English "for to," as in the Lay of Mattie Groves, "the gospel for to hear," or more recently, the Lancashire Hotpots' "He's Turned Emo" - "Tha needs fer't eat a chippy tea, ye great big bluddy girl!"
  • champion - very good.
  • borsant - Bit obscure this. If one is borsant then you're rather belligerent feeling or angry about something. Aeriated, if you will. Also used in Stoke on Trent where allegedly it means bored.
  • Skrike - to scream. From the Old Norse "skrae," to scream.
  • Bass - A bag or similar made of mesh or netting.
  • Mash t'tea - To make a pot of tea.
  • Brew - A cup of tea.
  • Ale - Beer. Bitter or Real Ale only, thanks.
  • Eh up - Hello, watch out, what's this, many other uses. From Old Norse "se upp."
  • Crop - Hairdo.
  • Nesh - A person who is nesh is generally pusillanimous and lacking in spirit or daring. Also can be described as wet or a big girl's blouse. For instance, "What do you mean, is there a bridge? Don't be so nesh, it's only a ten-foot jump o'er a crocodile infested river."
  • Trouble at t'mill - General disagreement. The North West is an industrial area, and cotton and silk mills shot up in many towns due to the proximity to the docks at Liverpool and the Wirral and also the Manchester Ship Canal where raw cotton was shipped back from the southern United States and the West Indies. If there was some sort of dispute therein, there was trouble at the mill. This must have subsequently expanded to mean a general disagreement or unpleasantness.
  • Owt - Anything.
  • Nowt - Nothing.
  • Chuck - Chicken, though used entirely as a term of endearment. "See thi latter, chuck."
  • Cocker - Mate, pal, my friend, etc.
  • Reet - From standard English "right" but only a particular sense. If someone's "not reet" then they might be somehow mentally impaired. A place that isn't "reet" is probably dirty, messy, or otherwise in disarray. If something is "reet," though, then it might be very good indeed. As the song goes - "On Oldham edge, the grass is green. Reetest sight that ever that's seen. If that gets on top an' tha looks about, nowt but mills wi' their chimneys out."
  • Mither - to cajole, bother, and generally annoy.
  • Us (nouns) - Pronounced "uz," not "uss" as Southerners do it. Our (noun.) "I'll go mek us us breakfasts."
  • Us - Me, when requesting something. "Mek us a brew, love."
  • Wrong side o't'Pennines - Yorkshire.
  • Ta-ra - Bye!

There's probably more, but that's all the specific dialect words I can think of right now.

(IRON NODER 8, 1 of 30)

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