Pronunciation



When visiting the Halifax and Calderdale area, you will encounter local variants of standard English words and linguistic forms. See also the entry for Dialect.

As with most regional dialects, the local forms are more likely to be used by the older population, whilst the young adopt the received forms from radio, television and popular culture. The well-tuned ear might detect some variation in the pronunciation – and the dialect – in the various parts of Calderdale, but what follows will suffice on first contact.

Some of the notable features of the local pronunciation and accent include:

The neutral schwa vowel

In the imitated pronunciation used in Malcolm Bull's Calderdale Companion, the schwa vowel which is shown as

 ə

is the indistinct sound heard as the first syllable in the standard English pronunciation of words such as

 about
 above
 around

and as the final syllable in words such as

 mother
 bother
 rather

and so on

The & the glottal stop

The glottal stop is frequently substituted for the definite article, the

Local formReceived English
I'm going t?shopI'm going to the shop
Come in out o?coldCome in out of the cold
See you in?morningI'll see you in the morning

The reduction of the to t' is less common in the Calderdale area:

Local formReceived English
I'm going t' t'shopI'm going to the shop
Come in out o' t'coldCome in out of the cold
See you in t'morningI'll see you in the morning

Modified vowels

Many vowels sounds are modified, lengthened and shortened

Local formReceived English
AbahtAbout
AllusAlways
AwkerdAwkward
BowtBought
BrekBreak
Brok, brokkenBroken
CoilCoal
CoitCoat
CowdCold
DeeDie
Dee-adDead
EytEat
FeytFight
Freeten, freytenFrighten
FrozzenFrozen, cold
Goo-inGoing
HoilHole
MekMake
NowtNothing
MeytMeat
OkkerdAwkward
OwdOld
Oer
Ovver
Over
OwtAnything
ReytRight
ShekShake
SpeykSpeak
Tee-aTea
TekTake
ThowtThought

Owt & Nowt

The local pronunciation of owt and nowt – and similar words – is quite different from that represented by most stereotypical TV-northern accents.

The words do not rhyme with gout.

In both cases, the o is like that in standard hot, and the w has its usual sound. There is no equivalent sound in received English

Feyt & Meyt

In the local pronunciation, words such as feyt [fight] and meyt [meat] – and similar words – rhyme with the received pronunciation of eight not ate

Local formReceived English
EytEat
FeytFight
MeytMeat; this is not used for Meet
ReytRight
SpeykSpeak

This is extended to the present participles:

Local formReceived English
EytingEating
FeytingFighting
SpeykingSpeaking

Mek & Tek

In the local pronunciation, words such as mek [make] and tek [take] – and similar words – rhyme with the received pronunciation of deck

Local formReceived English
BrekBreak
MekMake
ShekShake
TekTake
WekWake

This is extended to the present participles:

Local formReceived English
BrekkinBreaking
MekkinMaking
ShekkinShaking
TekkinTaking
WekkinWaking

This vowel-change is not universally applied to the long a sound, so you are unlikely to find:

Local formReceived English
Bek*Bake
Cek*Cake
Fek*Fake
Flek*Flake
Slek*Slake
Rek*Rake

Could it be because these are weak regular verbs?



© Malcolm Bull 2018
Revised 08:54 /5th March 2018 / html / 13867

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