The Northerners are friendly; even if they can’t speak properly.

Anybody who lives outside of England will tell you what a tiny country it is and they will probably scoff at the idea that there are any massive regional differences. As a Southerner, I can tell you that they would be very wrong. England has massive regional differences, including, but not limited to our accents, language and number of Greggs per square mile.

Since I moved away to university, I have been slowly going further and further north to the point I am now so far up the country, I might as well be living half way across the world from Brighton. No… Seriously…. It will take me longer to get home on the train than it took me to fly to Tenerife. Anyway, that is a moan for another day. I don’t think many people would say Nottingham is really far north (being in the Midlands), but Leeds is so far North that it is pretty much a different country. I back this point up with the fact that one of my colleagues keeps telling me my visa is going to run out and I will be deported back down south. At least, I think that is what he said. I spend about 20% of the time trying to decipher what he is saying and the other 80% trying to pretend I haven’t heard him. He is a moron. I don’t feel bad ignoring him.

Accents are not really the big difference here. They play quite well into the point of language though. One thing I will say about the accents: Northerners can’t say glass right. Or brass. Or grass. Or anything with an ass in it. That’s what she said… Quite a few times at work now, we have started to have conversations about Northern slang. And when I say conversation, I use the term lightly since the ‘conversations’ normally have the following structure:

O: Hey, Charlotte, do you know what ___________ means?
C: No. *You can pretty much guarantee it is always going to be no with Northern slang*
C: No…. I really don’t.

He normally takes about 10 minutes to tell me whatever the word means too. I think he feels superior to me when he knows a regional word that I don’t. I normally follow this up with something like:

C: So how many files have you actually completed?
O: Go away.

I always feel at a slight disadvantage with regional slang because I cannot think of a single southern slang word. This might have something to do with the fact I rarely socialise with people who actually use slang. My English is long winded and unnecessarily fancy when I can make it so.

I think the best way of talking about the slang is to actually put a few examples and we will see who knows what they are. This obviously works better with people from the South of England but seeing if Northerners can guess them all would be pretty cool too. *This does need active participation, so please comment etc.*

Charlotte’s Slang Test

  • Bobby dazzler
  • Buggerlugs
  • Ginnel
  • Spice (Personally, I think this one is just ON making something up since nobody else seems to know what he is talking about. I think it makes him sound like a drug dealer when he is like: Want some spice?)
  • (This one isn’t really slang, but I had to include it anyway) Monday while Tuesday

There are a few other things I have noticed. I am using my colleague as my model for speech since he is the Northerner I interact with the most. One thing I pick up on every time is that he drops the ‘the’ in a lot of things. Example: “Pirates of t’Carribbean.” <—- Direct quote. I die a little inside each time he does it and what really kills me is that I had a northern slip the other day. I had to go wash my mouth out with some soap before launching into a long Southern-sounding monologue. One thing you will rarely here a southerner say in the middle of a sentence is ‘were’. For example: “It were a really nice day yesterday.” To a Southerner (or maybe just to me), that is a horrific sentence. It makes me cringe when I see or hear it. And I said it. Not that exactly, but something equally offensive to my English.

C: I finally got that éclair yesterday.
L: How long ago were that?
C: That were…. *Visible cringe* That was about a month ago I said I was going to get one.

The transformation is beginning. The Northern is infecting me. SOMEONE COME AND CLEANSE ME OF THIS PLAGUE.

I am going to say one nice thing about the north; despite their frankly ghastly grasp of the English language, they are friendly buggers up here… I don’t like it. LEAVE ME TO MY ANGRY SOUTHERN  SENSIBILITIES!

And now I am going to go and disable my caps lock. If anybody can think of any Northern (or Southern) slang, or maybe any slang from other countries, drop a comment below and I will try to guess. Word of warning: I suck at this game. Chances are I will be wrong until I Google it. Also, if you want to try to guess the words above, please do. I would be curious to see if it is just me not knowing or whether other Southerners are just as confused by them as me.



Edit: I had to add this video since a friend mentioned black pudding and it came right back into my head. Plus, nancy is one of my favourite ridiculous insults so a song that contains it is just awesome.


6 thoughts on “The Northerners are friendly; even if they can’t speak properly.

  1. I may know more slang than this but I rarely use it or hear other people use it. Anyway, try guessing these: (They’re from different places, most of which I do not know)
    Nuts ‘n’ berries

    1. Duck- I refuse to even try to guess this once since it is actually a proper word with meanings (that and I haven’t the foggiest what it means XD)
      Cray- Cray cray… I use that sometimes to call people crazy. Chances are that is off. Err… Yeah. I’mna stick with crazy
      Blik- It sounds like some sort of disgusted noise. Like: “Oh blik… Do you see that dog poop over there?” Something akin to blech. Sounds like onomatopoeia rather than slang. Or sounds like an Aussie trying to say black.
      Wastecadet- Waste…. Cadet….. Is this even real English… No… No…Your face is a waste cadet… :I I have no clue. TO THE URBAN DICTIONARY! (Once I finish obviously.)
      Wastefellow- I like the fellow part of this. Sounds nice and southernly and wholesome. No clue what it means in the slang lingo though. PASS.
      Busta- Err… Something you would call a guy. “Hey busta… Wanna go to da club tonite?” *shudders* Even writing like that kills me a little inside.
      Nuts ‘n’ berries- All I can think of is part of a man’s anatomy… A part that women don’t have. I think this says something about me since I thought twitten was also something dirty.
      Grebo- Hobo.
      Greb- Hobo’s dog. Or maybe Greb is a hobo and Grebo his dog. I am so on this shiz.

      1. I like your guesses, they made me laugh 🙂 I’m not completely sure if these do mean what I think they do. As far as I know:
        Duck – The same as calling someone ‘friend’ ‘love’ or ‘mate’. Most commonly heard in the phrase: “Hey up, me duck”. It’s a Nottingham/Derby thing I believe, mainly said by middle age+ people (as far as I’m aware).
        Cray – Correct, cray is short for ‘crazy’.
        Blik – Blacker than black. “That car’s so blik”.
        Wastecadet – Same as ‘wasteman’, someone who is a ‘waste of space’ or does nothing with their life. ‘Cadet’ may add a slightly different meaning to this but I was only told it meant ‘wasteman’.
        Wastefellow – Same as above.
        Busta – I learnt this from GTA San Andreas 😀 An insult from one homie to another, mainly in regards to them not having their back, running away from trouble or selling them out to the po po. “CJ, you a busta!” 😀
        Nuts ‘n’ berries – Money, the delightful chav folk used to sometimes go around my school demanding nuts ‘n’ berries from fellow pupils. I do wish I decided in my mind they were actually referring to part of a man’s anatomy as you said. That would have made many conversations highly amusing.
        Grebo – Someone in between a ‘goth’ and a ‘skater’. It was mainly a 90s/early 00s thing, and more towards the south, I can’t be sure where but I do know one of the places was Hertfordshire.
        Greb – Same as above but more a midlands term.
        I don’t think I’ve heard any of the words you listed above before, well, aside from Spice and ‘bobby dazzler’ does sound familiar. I’ve been to Leeds a few times before, I can’t recall any slang though.

  2. A bobby-dazzler is either a very attractive person, or more generally something rate grand. A bugger-lugs is a grumpperson, a ginnel’s like a twitten as we would call them down south, spice is sweets, while ‘while’ is how folk say to or through. ‘ey up.

    1. What the hell is a twitten? Sounds like some sort of bird call or something you might call your privates if you were going to the doctor. “Hey doctor, I have a funny green patch on my twitten.” … “Drop your pants and we will have a look.”

      1. The word twitten is slang specific to Sussex, so it’s a touch ironic you don’t get that when mentioning all the northern jabberin’ you don’t get xD

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