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I was passing through the hamlet of Chop Gate (in North Yorkshire) the other day, and heard it referred to as "chop yat" (tʃɒp yæt). This source here concurs with that pronunciation.

Does anyone know why it is pronounced in that way (or, alternatively, why it is spelt that way)?

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  • 1
    Interesting question (I gave you +1)... Is there an audio available to hear it? First thing that comes to my mind could be the last remnants of some old pronunciation?
    – Alenanno
    Apr 9, 2011 at 10:07
  • @Alenanno, not so far as I know. I've done the best I can with spelling and IPA, but really it needs to be spoken with a Yorkshire accent. Apr 9, 2011 at 10:13
  • Is that /tʃɒp yæt/ or /tʃɒp jæt/? /tʃɒp yæt/ (loosely, chahp ee-at) would be very strange for that spelling.
    – Charles
    Apr 10, 2011 at 20:12
  • @Charles, I pinched the y from yacht, here... merriam-webster.com/dictionary/yacht which has it \ˈyät\. But Collins has it as /jɒt/. So I have to say, I'm confused. But y as in yacht, yellow, year, is what I meant. Apr 11, 2011 at 5:38
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    M-W is respelling and Collins is using IPA.
    – Charles
    Apr 11, 2011 at 13:16

3 Answers 3

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It may be because the g in Old English could be pronounced like a y when followed by an e or ea diphthong. For example, middangeard, the term used to refer to "this place right here where people live" (literally "middle earth" — so you can see where Tolkien got the term) was pronounced middahnyaird. The North Yorkshire accent may retain some vestiges of Old English pronunciation.

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    He really took the term from that? Very interesting!
    – Alenanno
    Apr 10, 2011 at 11:23
  • Actually, geard in the OE is 'literally' an enclosure, which survives in some dialects as garth but elsewhere evolves into ModE yard. It was not until middangeard passed into ME that it was 'folk-etymologized' into middle earth Aug 14, 2012 at 12:10
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Maps aren't written by locals.

For example "Pately Bridge" is known locally as "Pately Brig". Brig being norse for a large rock outcrop - no bridge involved. But some map maker came from the south, asked a local what the place was called and misunderstood the answer.

It's not that "gate" is necessarily pronounced 'yat' - the 'yat' pronunciation is possibly from some totally unrelated earlier word and "gate" is the nearest the official surveyor could come to it (edit apparently in this case yat = gate)

Yorkshire has a wide variety of place names, from early celtic (Pen-y-ghent), mostly Norse, a few anglo-saxon and a scattering of modern Norman places.

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  • There's a place in Derbyshire called Cowers Lane, which is said to be the mapmaker's interpretation of Cowhouse Lane (Cow 'us in the local dialect). Mar 18, 2017 at 9:57
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Chop Gate is pronounced Chop Yat. It is Old Norse for Pedlar's Way with the "Yat" being an old Norse word for route or gate.

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  • and if you had a reference, this could be the best answer.
    – GEdgar
    Aug 14, 2012 at 14:50

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