January 2010

This page is the idea of my son, Stuart, who suggested that it might be a good idea, in view of the time span involved in the construction of new pages, to produce a regular update on the progress being made. He also proposed the inclusion of other available information which might be of interest to devotees of Yorkshire dialect.


Sad news in 2009

I am greatly saddened to hear of the deaths of Arnold Kellet and Stanley Ellis.

Arnold was born above his parents’ sweet shop in Wibsey, Bradford in the West Riding. He attended Carlton grammar school but his education was interrupted by the war when, at age 18, he was enrolled into the Intelligence Corps. In 1948 he received his discharge from the army and went on to study at both the University of Liverpool and the Sorbonne. He graduated in 1952 having achieved a first class honours degree in French Language and Literature. Thereafter he entered the educationasl system as a teacher of modern languages. He retired in 1983 and was subsequently a PhD by the University of lLeeds.

Arnold was the author of several books and articles, a number of which dealt with Yorkshire dialect. From 1991 to 20001 he was the honourable editor of Transactions the yearly publication of the Yorkshire Dialect Society.

Arnold Died on 25th of June, 2009 aged 83.(Source: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/obituaries/Arnold-Kellett.5454315.jp ).


Stanley was born, the son of a of Bradford wool overlooker, on the 18 th of February 1926 and was educated at the Grange grammar school from whence he won a scholarship to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He subsequently served as a navigator in the RAF after which he went on to study for a post graduate MA at the University of Leeds. The basis of his thesis was Lincolnshire dialect. In 1952 he became the principal field worker of the 11 recruited by Harold Orton for the Survey of English dialects. After two years of being on the road conducting many interviews, mainly with the rural population, he took up the post of lecturer in English Language at the University of Leeds. He also played his part editing Transactions.

In 1957 he tookearly retirement and thereafter devoted himself to the study of forensic voice recognition, a study which he had begun earlier in the 1960s. In 2004 he received an honorary life Membership of the International Association for Forensics, Phonetics and Acoustics. Many of his recordings are held in the Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture.

Stanley died on the 31 st of October, 2009 aged 83.(Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/culture-obituaries/tv-radio-obituaries/6608130/Stanley-Ellis.html . 19 th of November, 2009)


Website development

Dialect words

The dialect glossary has recently been expanded to include many more words, The glossary can be accessed through the "Description" page or by clicking here. Only words whose etymologies have been investigated are contained in these pages. There is still a largish number whose origins are yet to be explored and these will be added in due course. It is also proposed to set up a page dealing with Yorkshire idioms and sayings.

Old Norse

Research into Old Norse and its impact on the dialect has recently been completed and it is proposed to have some new pages on the subject up and running some time this year



Work has also commenced to gather more information about Yorkshire itself with a view to setting up a page devoted to its history, geography etc.

Sound files

Sound files based on SED recordings of mid-20th century Yorkshire dialect have now been acquired. Permission for their use has kindly been granted by Dr Clive Upton of the University of Leeds and The Curator of the Collect Britain website, Jonathan Robinson.


Definite Article Reduction

Laura Rupp of the Department of English Language and Culture, Vrije University, Amsterdam has recently supplied me with a paper on Definite Article Reduction details of which are to be added this site in due course.


Yorkshire Dialect Society
The Society’s website recently expired and a new one is currently under construction. The new address is www.yorkshiredialectsociety.org.uk.

Diary dates

Saturday, 24 th April 2010: AGM, Evans Room, Victoria Hall, Saltaire. There will be two guest speakers.

Saturday, 26 th June 2010: Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton le Hole. Dialect as used in the north Riding.

Saturday, 31 st July 2010: Yorkshire Day Celebrations in Pocklington. Event organised by the East Riding Dialect Society.

December: The Christmas Crack featuring seasonal dialect from the three Ridings. The date and venue are still to be confirmed.


All meetings are to begin at 2 p.m. and the entrance fee at each venue will be £2.00


The Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture
The Leeds Archive has now developed its own website which contains, among other things, details of the project's progress, information relating to the nature of the contents and how to make contact. To access the site please click here .


Proposed developments
Material is constantly being collected in relation to various aspects of Yorkshire dialect for use in future projects or to supplement material already contained in the existing web pages. The following outlines proposed future developments (not in order of priority):

Urban Dialects
Dr Sali Tagliamonte (York University) has recently e-mailed me more linguistic material for inclusion on the site.

The Normans
More needs to be said about this group, especially in relation to their influence on Yorkshire dialect.

The Great Vowel Shift
It is proposed to set up a page dealing with this phenomenon as soon as more material on the Yorkshire aspect is to hand.

Historical Settlement of Yorkshire
It is intended to expand the section devoted to the Historical Settlement of Yorkshire. The aim is to provide an etymology for every place-name in the county. As with the proposed word glossary, this project will be completed in the fullness of time.