Aye Up! A guide to the Yorkshire language for students

If you’ve spent very little time in Yorkshire and will be heading to either Leeds, Sheffield, Bradford or Hull, you might be imagining the locals to be flat-capped clad, tea-drinking folk with incredibly hard to understand dialects.

Yorkshire is one of the most beautiful counties in all of England, with stunning dales, medieval ruins and a strong and proud heritage of trade and commerce that dates back centuries. The people of Yorkshire are equally fascinating, and their warm and welcoming personalities are to be found everywhere from its bustling cities to lush and green countryside.

However, if you’ve never encountered anyone from Yorkshire in real life, then getting to grips with their dialects, customs and colloquialisms can prove to be a little tricky at first. That’s why we’ve created a brief guide to help you get to grips with a few Yorkshire sayings, phrases and customs that should help you get through your first few weeks at Uni.


Owt or Nowt?

Two commonplace words you’ll soon become used to, owt generally means ‘something’ with nowt meaning ‘nothing’. If you hear the expression ‘you won’t get owt for nowt’, this translates into you won’t get something for nothing, just to put the expression into context.


Aye Up!

A typical Yorkshire greeting, aye up is the less formal way of saying hello in Yorkshire. You might also bump into friends greeting with the phrase ‘Nah then, ow do?’ which is a more friendly way of asking a friend or close acquaintance how they are.

If you hear the response ‘fair t’ middlin’ then this generally means ‘not bad’ or could be worse.


‘Appen it might be a nice day tomorrow!

Another widespread expression that you’ll no doubt here during your time studying at one of the many universities in Yorkshire is ‘appen. This means possibly or perhaps, so to give you a better idea of its use, you could use the word to express your belief that rain could be possible during the day:

‘appen we might get rain today.

Plus, if you ever hear someone from Yorkshire mention that they are feeling ‘nesh’ then it must be chilly indeed as nesh is a way of saying cold or referring to someone who easily feels the cold as in the sentence ‘she’s very nesh’.


I’m off t’ lecture

If you’re lucky enough to be studying alongside a Yorkshire bred lad or lass, then you might hear them utter that they are off t’ pub, lecture, bed etc.

This is just another way of saying that they are going somewhere as they often drop the ‘to the’ in favour of just ‘t’, which can be a little confusing to those who haven’t quite become accustomed to the Yorkshire dialect just yet.


Eating – Yorkshire Style

One of the best things about studying in Yorkshire is the food. True comfort food at its finest, Yorkshire fayre is something that many of us may have already have enjoyed back at home. Wensleydale cheese made famous by cartoon characters Wallace and Grommit or the traditional Yorkshire pudding are all stand out stars of Yorkshire cuisine, but now that you’re about to become embroiled in authentic Yorkshire culture, here are a few other delights that you should definitely be on the lookout for.


Henderson’s Relish

Affectionately known as Hendo’s Relish, this spicy and fruity condiment can be found in restaurants, cafes and even bars all over the county.

With a similar appearance to the famous Worcester Sauce, Henderson’s Relish doesn’t include anchovies in its recipe, making it ideal for vegans. Great with cheese on toast or even in a punchy bloody mary, you can’t stay long in Yorkshire without trying some Hendo’s for yourself.



If you’re ordering a bacon sandwich from a local café after a heavy night out, then don’t be surprised if you’re offered your filling of choice in a breadcake. Nope, this isn’t some strange sweet accompaniment to your order but is, in fact, just a bread roll or bap.



If you’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth, now’s your chance to try a Yorkshire speciality! Parkin is an age-old recipe which uses honey, flour, oats, butter, treacle and ginger to create a deliciously sweet and moist cake, served in slices.

Traditionally served around bonfire night, you can find parkin sold in most bakeries and cafes, so don’t miss out on your opportunity to indulge in one of Yorkshire’s most delectable sweet treats.



Tags: Yorkshire dialect, Yorkshire food, Yorkshire customs

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