Durham & Tyneside Dialect Group / Word Lists /


For the North-East, recognition began with the publication of a small number of Yorkshire dialect texts in the 17th century e.g. George Meriton's A Yorkshire Dialogue (1683). Perhaps these reflected the growing status and awareness of Yorkshire gentry in the 17th century; they also probably symbolised a rejection of the London standard and an assertion of regional identity. In some way they may have been responses to new theories about language like that ennunciated by Thomas Sprat, Secretary of the Royal Society, in 1667, who recommended "a close, naked, natural way of speaking - positive expressions, clear sense, a native easiness, bringing all things as near the mathematical plainness as they can, and prefering the language of artisans, countrymen, and merchants before wits and scholars."
Meriton lived 1634-1711, in Northallerton, and printed not only short dialect texts (which might have appealed to a purely local audience) but added his own glossary, implying that he was aware of outside scholastic interest. From this glossary the following items are selected for their relevance to the North-East (his explanations are abbreviated or paraphrased):

arfe - afraid
awd - old

beestling - rich milk

cawd - cold
clim - climb
crawe/creake - crow

deau - do
deaun - done
dee - die
dike - pond
ding - hit
don - to put on
dree - to endure

een - eyes

feaul - fool
flee - to fly
fra - from

geay/gang - go
git - get
gitten - got
greet - weep

haud/hawd - hold
haver - oats
hing - hang

ive our stable - in our stable
Ise - I am

keauks - cooks
kend - known
kites - bellies
kittle - tickle
knawe - know
kye - cows

lang - long
leauke - look
leet - to alight
ligg - to lie
lows - to loosen

macks - makes
mawks - maggots
mell - meddle
mickle - much
monny - many
mun - must

neane - no one
newke - nook
neem/eam - uncle
nut - not

onny - any
ore - over
owght - aught
owse - ox

pokes - sacks, bags
put - to butt, push with the horns

rame - to roam
reek - to smoke
rencky - large and well-made
rive - to tear
rowt - to bellow

sall - shall
sarke - shirt
seeay - so
selld - sold
sike - such
sine - since
slocken - to quench [thirst]
snawke - inhale
sneck - latch
snithe - cold, piercing
snurles - nostrils
speer - find out by enquiring
stee - ladder
stob - thorn

tack - take
tawk - talk
telld - told
tite - neat, tidy
tweay - two

wad - would
wark - work, fuss
warse - worse
weaud - mad
weel - well
weese - we are, we will
wheay - who
wheesht! - hush!
whope - to hope

yawd - horse
yeaud - to go.