I grew up in Driffield, East Yorkshire, England, in the 1950s, and I seem to remember that my older relatives spoke a variety of English far removed from the general notion of Yorkshire English. It included unusual vowels (‘look’ pronounced /le:k/, ‘ford’ pronounced /fu:ᵊd/, ‘old’ pronounced [a:d]), and odd forms of prepositions, such as ‘to’ with a suffixed V before a vowel (/tɪvɪt/ for ‘to it’), and plain /ɪ/ for ‘in’. The definite article was ‘d’ before a vowel, and absent otherwise (‘he’s in the pub’ pronounced /ɪzɪpʊb/) I’ve never seen this described anywhere - books on Yorkshire dialect seems to be mainly about whimsical vocabulary - and I’m beginning to doubt my memory. Could anyone verify any of this?

  • Have you looked for resources on the Internet? – Edwin Ashworth Dec 10 '14 at 0:54
  • Yes, every time I've looked I find either references to general Yorkshire pronunciation or the same whimsy that I've seen in books such as "Teach Thissen Tyke". – David Garner Dec 10 '14 at 13:34
  • Your query is very specialist. If you're really interested, you could contact some of the references given in works / articles dealing with general Yorkshire pronunciation, and ask the people involved if they can suggest hyper-specialists you could then contact. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 10 '14 at 20:28
  • David, don't doubt your memory just because it's not yet on the internet! Regional variations are legion, especially further back in time before we all became homogenised through modern media. I'm from Leeds, 1960s, and I'm sure your memory is correct, though I'm not familiar enough with IPA to 'hear' what you're saying. And the 'Teach Thissen Tyke' books are really annoying. – Mynamite Dec 17 '14 at 18:34
  • Thank-you, Mynamite. Putting IPA aside, my old grandma would say 'look' rather like W.Yorkshire 'lake', and 'ford' something like foo-ud. But those extra Vs ['tivit' for 'to it' and 'fruv ull' for 'from Hull' baffle me! – David Garner Dec 17 '14 at 20:54

[ʋ] (bilabial approximate), which sounds similar to [v], is a common pronunciation for /r/ in the Yorkshire dialect. The "extra Vs" you heard were likely an instance of the "linking R" present in many English dialects, where the "linking R" was pronounced [ʋ ~ v].

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  • user1569339, I'd never even considered R as a factor - thank-you. – David Garner Jan 8 '15 at 10:30

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