Opinion: Joke falls flat on regional dialects

Ant and Dec.
Ant and Dec.

We are two ‘Wezzies’ and a ‘S’uth’ner’ who, with our spouses (one sadly recently departed), have chosen to spend our retirement and await our impending dotage in wonderful Pocklington town.

Peter, Paul and I meet once a week in one or another of the town’s hostelries and attempt to put the world to rights.

When we aren’t doing that we discuss various topics, ranging from the activities of the local bowling club to something as diverse as the credibility of the moon landing.

Our venue recenlty was the Cross Keys where, among other things, we aired our views on the imminent four per cent rate increase and the obscene wages of Premiership footballers.

It was after Peter had queried the purpose of Ant and Dec that Paul brought up the subject of regional dialects.

We agreed that the Liverpool accent, as well as being easy on the ear, was a decided asset to aspiring singers and comedians.

We couldn’t contemplate Fred from Birmingham singing ‘Imagine’ or a Glaswegian calling somebody ‘tatty-head’ and getting away with it.

I don’t usually have trouble understanding people from south of the Yorkshire border – unless of course it’s Fred and his mates. Surprisingly, Paul who hails from Berkshire, doesn’t have much of a problem with the East Yorkshire accent.

‘Leek gi’en as a posser yed’ had him flummoxed for a while, as did ‘azanyonyeranyonyer’, but apart from that he copes quite well.

The examples quoted originated in West Yorkshire.

I was born and bred in Slawit, five miles west of Huddersfield.

Peter is from the Leeds area and, according to Paul, our dialects have a marked difference.

I don’t notice it myself, until Peter refers to his home city as ‘Leyds’.

In Slawit we say it t’right way – as it’s spelt – with extended vowels of course.

A few pints later, with the subject exhausted, the toilet lights extinguished and the barman yawning, we figured it was time to go.

As a parting shot I told my two mates a joke I had recently heard. Unfortunately, unlike and in spite of the excellent beer we had imbibed, the joke fell flat.

• Got something to say? We are inviting you to be part of the Pocklington Post and to give your views on any topic you want – local or national – in a guest column.

It would be your personal view, not necessarily related to your line of work or main activity.

Hopefully your column will spark some debate or raise aspects that swim against the tide of general opinion.

It would comprise up to 500 words. We would need a picture of you (just a headshot) as well as your piece.

Please email your column to news@pocklingtontoday.co.uk marking the email ‘Columnist’ or get in touch to run an idea past us.

We also welcome articles from readers on local events, reports from local clubs and groups, and details of upcoming events.