The Yorkshireman's Creed (Yorkshire dialect)

Not open for further replies.


Senior Member
England, English
From time to time, my students ask me for examples of English dialects. I usually respond with a few lines from 'The Yorkshireman's Creed', such as 'Hear all, see all, say nowt' or, 'If tha' ever does owt for nowt, allus make sure tha does it for tha sen' (= If you ever do anything for nothing, always make sure that you do it for yourself).

However, I would like to know what the other lines of the 'creed' are, or if anyone has more information on the subject. For example, who wrote the creed? When did it first appear? And what do people from Yorkshire think about it?
  • Aupick

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    There's one missing line I can think of 'Eat all, sup all, pay nowt'.

    Growing up, my family had a plaque of this on the wall in the toilet. It was called the Yorkshire Tyke's Motto. I can't think of any more lines, but there may not be any more.

    I'm afraid I have no idea about its origins.


    Senior Member
    Taiwan /Traditional Chinese
    If I am not misunderstand, Yorkshire has its own language--a dialect, which means its spoken language is different from the usual English we hear.

    That's not difficult to understand, because China and Taiwan have many dialects. But, are those Yorkshire terms (words) written languages? Does Yourshire has its own written language? Or they are just symbols that represent the pronunciation?

    China have had lots of different dialects for thousands of years, but have had only one written language. People have spoken different dialects have used the same written language, that's why our history maintains record . A few races seems to have their own written system, but most of them are lost or just being known to a small group of people.

    To take Taiwan for example, we have three main spoken languages but using the written language that has been used for thousands of years.
    People have tried to record other dialects by using symbols to present the pronunciation since recent decades, to preserve our cultural heritage and prevent it from extinction.

    I am just curious if the Yorkshire terms/words is their written language?


    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Hello Yang

    Yorkshire speech isn't used in official documents, contracts, local government records, etc.

    But it can be represented (if the writer wishes) in the written language, in letters, emails, novels, plays, poems, etc.



    Senior Member
    Australia English
    Aupick said:
    This page might be of interest to those new to the Yorkshire dialect.
    Some of those words are standard English.
    dale (valley)
    midden (rubbish heap)
    delve (dig)
    nous nouse:cross: (sense)
    pudgy (short & plump)

    Lots more are well known elsewhere.
    gear (items, things)
    bog (toilet)
    famished (hungry)
    chuffed (pleased)
    chippy (fish & chip shop)
    sprog (child)
    strand (shore)
    arse over tit
    couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery


    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I suspect that a dialect map would show that many (not all) of the words in the Yorkshire dialect are shared across Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A lot of the words are of Scandinavian origin. Their pronunciation is, of course, very distinctively Yorkshire.

    I pick one random example just for fun.

    Bap - meaning a bread roll/bun - is very familiar here both in this meaning, for which the immortal advertising slogan "Barney's Baps are Best" always comes to mind, and as a local term for head.

    In this sense, the archetypical example is "Eezaffeezbap", which simplifies to "He is off his head", meaning he has lost contact with reality.

    Bap gets this definition in the OED:
    A small loaf or ‘roll’ of bakers' bread, made of various sizes and shapes in different parts of Scotland.


    Senior Member
    England, English
    Thanks for all the replies!

    So, what have we got so far?

    'Eat all, sup all, pay nowt'
    'Hear all, see all, say nowt'
    'If tha' ever does owt for nowt, allus make sure tha does it for tha sen'

    I once saw a much longer list than this - which was printed on a teatowel in a tourist office in Ilkley, Yorkshire (believe it or not!) Does anyone know the other lines?


    Senior Member
    UK - English
    Commonly said "of" Yorkshiremen in adjacent counties...........

    "Yorkshire born, Yorkshire bred;
    Strong in the arm,
    but weak in the head"


    " You can tell a Yorkshireman -
    But not much"

    ( For non-native speakers, the second is a pun on "tell" which can mean both "inform" and "recognise" ) ;-)


    Senior Member
    Australia English
    panjandrum said:
    Bap gets this definition in the OED:
    A small loaf or ‘roll’ of bakers' bread, made of various sizes and shapes in different parts of Scotland.
    Down here in the backwoods of Adelaide we have a chain of bakeries, called Baker's Delight. Baps are among the products they purvey.


    Occasional Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Also known as the Yorkshire Motto, this is the most I can find:)

    Ear all, see all, say nowt.
    Eat all, sup all, pay nowt.
    And if tha does owt fer nowt, allus do it for thissen.
    And finally,
    here’s to mi mother’s son,
    mi wife’s ‘usband
    and not forgettin’ missen.


    Senior Member
    English, Hodgepodge
    If the originator of this post would like examples outside of the Yorkshireman's Creed, it seems like Wuthering Heights was set in Yorkshire, and there are passages in dialect.



    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    There's a whole lot of AE colloquial terms that would seem to be Yorkish in origin. I excised a list from the two sites linked to. I can't imagine a number of these aren't in general use in BE, though-- if so, could somebody check them off for me?

    It's of interest to me that they seem common in two widely-different dialect zones-- down east and Appalachia. Of course there's a commonplace notion that the Yorkshireman is the original model of the Yankee, in the original sense of a New Englander. But I was surprised to see a number of hillbillyisms.

    Abide... Bear, or Suffer
    bad 'un ... no good
    badly ... not in a good state of health
    beefing ... complaining
    Bleb ... Blister
    blubbering... crying
    bracken... ferns
    Britches... Trousers
    by gum ... by gum
    Cadger ... Borrower
    chuckin your guts up ... getting sick
    dale ... valley
    delve ... dig
    Dassent... Dare not
    Doff ... Take off
    Don ... Put on (clothes)
    fair t' middlin
    famished... hungry, starving
    fast ... stuck
    flagging ... tired, worn out
    flummoxed... confused
    fowl ...bird
    Gaffer ...Boss, Foreman
    gear ...items, things
    goodies ... sweets
    good 'un ... good one
    gonna ... going to
    Gumption ... Common Sense
    have a gander ...look at
    hell fire! ...goodness me!
    Jamb ...Door post
    kidding ...joking
    Lap ...To drink
    Luggin ...Carrying
    Mash ...Brew
    midden ...trash heap
    Middlin ...Moderate, Fair
    Natter ...Grumble
    Ninny ...Idiot
    pack it in... stop it
    Pine ... Yearn
    pop ...fizzy drink
    pudgy ...fat or chubby
    reeks ...smells horrible
    Summat ...Something
    Taw ...Marble
    vexed ...angry
    yonder ...over there

    Also, any AE speakers puzzled by the choices? Bleb and flummoxed are very solidly in my vocabulary, but I get funny looks when I use them sometimes. I imagine any American would recognize middlin as a word, even if they might not use it-- meaning so-so, slightly different from "fair to middling." But summat is strongly dialectical and might be strange to someone who hasn't lived where they say "they staowmpt him summat awful" as a matter of course.

    And of course words like kidding are so American I'm surprised they even have an origin.
    English US
    I am 72 and have never been to Yorkshire. I learned the Yorkshireman's Creed at my English born father's knee many years ago. I am no longer certain of the order. Here it is as I learned it (or remember it): Not sure of the spelling

    See ah say nowt
    Sup ah pay nowt
    Tay ah gie nowt
    An' if tha do owt for nowt, do it for tha sen
    English US
    I think the TV comedy series from the BBC "The last of the Summer Wine" is set in Yorkshire somewhere. Lots of thee's and Tha's and Dust's in the speech.

    George French

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    There's a whole lot of AE colloquial terms that would seem to be Yorkish in origin. I excised a list from the two sites linked to. I can't imagine a number of these aren't in general use in BE,
    I'm from the South Western parts of the UK. Just about all of your Yorkshire list are used there. Most of them were definitely used in the bits of Yorkshire I have been in.

    English US
    As regards the "list': I was Raised in Florida from about age 8. POP is a term everyone used in Ohio and nobody uses in Florida. Here it is "coldrink" or "soft drink" or the generic "coke". When Coca cola actually was derived from a south american plant it was often called "a dope" But that term is no longer in use. Though I have read it in the literature of the '20s I have never encountered it in any current usage.

    English is a language who's meaning is derived from the order in which the words are placed in the sentence. The words do not have to be altered in form for the user to decipher which word modifies which other word in the sentence, and the consequent thought conveyed by the sentence.

    Context then, is all important and it is nearly always pretty clear what a word means from it's position in the sentence. Given sufficient process time in an exchange, nearly any English speaker can puzzle out what another English speaker is saying if the speaker is enunciating plainly. It is even more obvious when the words are written.

    " Taw" is a word that I have never previously encountered and without context it would have no meaning. however if I wer in achurch and someone said to me I love the color and texture of the taw. Don't you? I would soon figure it out.
    Not open for further replies.