"The use of DAR [definite article reduction] as a stereotypical indicator of northern speech in numerous representations in various media shows clearly that it is perceived as a regionally restricted phenomenon. No other region of the English-speaking world possesses this identifying characteristic." (Jones, 2002: 327)


This curtailed form of the definite article (e.g. t' car ) is probably one of the most recognisable features of northern English, particularly with regard to Yorkshire dialect speech. However, linguistic investigation of this feature appears to have been remarkably neglected. Accordingly, there is a relative paucity of written material on the subject and the information in the following pages is drawn from only four sources: Barry (1972) and Jones (1998, 2002 and 2004)

In relation to the examples and citations given in the following pages it should be noted the vast majority are attributable to these two authors.

Within this section a number of linguistic terms are employed and, on first appearance, are shown in red characters. In each case a definition of the word can be obtained by pointing to the red typeface with your mouse.



Barry, M. V. (1972) The Morphemic Distribution of the Definite Article in Contemporary Regional English. In M. F. Wakelin (Ed) Patterns in the Folk Speech of the British Isles, (1972) London: The Athlone Press.

Jones, M. J. (1998) The Phonology of Definite Article Reduction. In Clive Upton and Katie Wales (eds), Dialectal Variation in English: Proceedings of the Harold Orton Centenary Conference 1998, Leeds Studies in English, XXX: 103-122.

Jones, M. J. (2002) The origin of Definite Article Reduction in northern English dialects: evidence from dialect allomorphy. English Language and Linguistics 6.2: 325-345.

Jones, Mark J. (2004). The phonetics and phonology of Definite Article Reduction in northern English dialects. Unpublished PhD dissertation, University of Cambridge