Can You Speak With a Potteries Dialect?
Do you know where a Potteries dialect is spoken?
Ask anyone in the UK which area of the country speaks with a Scouse, Geordie or Cockney accent and most people will have no problem giving the correct answer, but try asking where the Potteries dialect is spoken and most people will draw a blank.
So where are the Potteries?
If you have read my Visit Staffordshire article, then you will already know that the Potteries is the colloquial term for Stoke on Trent, and the six towns that make up the city: Longton, Fenton, Stoke, Hanley, Burslem and Tunstall.
The area acquired its nickname of The Potteries from the large number of factories that historically produced pottery, the most famous being Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Spode and Portmerion. Today, most of the pottery industry had disappeared but the name remains as a reminder of Stoke on Trent's industrial heritage.
The Potteries dialect was traditionally spoken here and the surrounding areas such as Cheadle and Biddulph. Once you head further east in Staffordshire, towards Uttoxeter the accent changes to one similar to Derby and once you get south of Stafford it takes on a Brummy (Birmingham) drawl.
Accent or Dialect?
You might wonder if there is a difference between an accent and a dialect?
Accents are differences in the way that the English words are spoken whilst a dialect has words that are unique to a particular geographical area.
In other words, people from Liverpool have a Scouse accent but different areas of the city might have different dialects, i.e use different words for the same thing!
The Potteries Dialect
Fred Leigh gives an insight into the dialect that is peculiar to the North Staffordshire area.
He uses local stories and phrases to illustrate how to speak like a true Potter.
There is also a list of Potteries words to help you to understand what the locals are saying.
This book was originally written in 1996 and is still in print today, and is also available in a digital kindle edition.
Ay up duck! So, ast redy ter learn ow ter spayk lark a potter?— any self respecting potter
Ow ter spayk like a Stokey or how to speak like a Stoke person!
A term of endearment
how are you?
Ow ter talk Potteries! - How to speak with a Potteries dialect!
- 'Ah do, ow at, at owe rate?' - "Hello, how are you? Are you alright?"
- 'Dust want a paynt?' - "Do you want a pint of beer?"
- 'Ast got thee Oatckes?' - "Have you got your oatcakes?"
- 'Way anner!' - We have not!
- Cost kick a bow agen' a woe, an y'ed it til it bosts?' "Can you kick a ball against a wall and head it until it bursts?"
- 'Ast goin up Anley Duck?' - Are you going to Hanley dear?
- 'Ast bin owready' - I've been already"
- 'Ast chewin th fat owd un?' - "Are you moaning my friend?"
- 'Thay't a narky wench!' - "You're a miserable young woman!"
- 'Mar lady is a rayt nosey parker!' - my wife is really nosey!"
Poetry with a Potteries Dialect twist
This is a digital edition of a book of poems that William Steele wrote, describing his life in the Potteries at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.
It is told in Potteries dialect, and includes such gems as "The Longton Park", "Countrymans visit to Longton Show" and "The Courtin Neght".
What are you views on accents and dialects?
Do you prefer to hear local dialects and accents or properly pronounced Queen's English?
May un Mar Lady - Me and my wife
May un Mar Lady was created by Dave Follows and appears in the local North Staffordshire newspaper, The Sentinel.
It is written in the local dialect, and depicts a humorous look at the life of a Potteries couple.
Listen to an animated reproduction of it below.
So......cost spayk layk a Stokey now?