Talkin’ Tyke!

28th May 2023 Progressive Players News
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Marian Walker, Progressive Players member and proud Yorkshire lass, explains some of the intricacies of the Yorkshire accent.

It’s a strange thing to pick up the phone and hear the voice at the other end say, “Fratchin’???! What does it mean?”. Or to be met in the corridor with, “Quick… say ‘walking and talking’ for me, will you?”. But this is what happens when you’re doing vocal and dialect coaching for a Yorkshire play. J.B. Priestley’s classic comedy When we are Married is set in the fictional town of Clecklewyke in the West Riding of Yorkshire, so, being a Leeds Loiner myself, born and bred, I was delighted to be asked to teach the cast to “talk Tyke”.

The Leeds/Bradford accent is much flatter than that of the North East of England – it’s lazy and slack jawed. No one ever puts an ‘h’ at the beginning of words that should have one, or a ‘g’ at the end; so ‘helping’ becomes ‘‘elpin’’ and ‘hopping’ becomes ‘‘oppin’’, and so on. Maybe it’s because Yorkshire folks (noted for their economical outlook, shall we say!) work on the principle of ‘why bother pronouncing seven letters when five will do’!

A big challenge for the cast was the glottal stop. This is where the word ‘the’ is run into the following word with a swallowed ‘t’ sound, so we get things like ‘on t’bus’, ‘into t’kitchen’ or ‘fetch t’whiskey’. It’s a similar sound to the double ‘t’ in the word ‘bottle’ when spoken in a Geordie accent, but it’s not easy. However, I must say, the cast are doing brilliantly!

After our first coaching session together, I left the cast with some words and sentences to practise. Why not try them for yourself, and be talkin’ Tyke for your visit to see this wonderful show?

Tyke: I allus mek mi dinner fo’ wun o’clock.
Translation: I always have my dinner at one o’clock.

Tyke: ‘E were that tight, ‘e wunt gi ‘er owt t’wards ‘ousekeepin’.
Translation: He was so stingy that he wouldn’t pay anything towards looking after the house.

Tyke: Ey up lass, tha’s reet gradely!
Translation: Hello young lady, you’re very good looking!



When We Are Married by J.B. Priestley, to be presented by the Progressive Players at The Little Theatre Gateshead, 12 to 17 June 2023.