ELHAS Meeting Report - February 2013

Meeting Report - February 2013

In February we were delighted to welcome Eric Scaife with a talk entitled 'Tyke Talk' an interesting talk on the Yorkshire dialect combining history and humour. Eric, a former joiner, is an enthusiastic member of both the Yorkshire Dialect Society and the Yorkshire Ridings Society. Both of which he promotes whole heartedly.

He began the talk by stating that contrary to common perception the Yorkshire dialect is not an example of slang or lazy speech but a living language which he and many others are working hard to keep alive. He told us that prior to the coming of the Anglo Saxons the languages spoken in Britain were mainly French, Gaelic, Celtic and a smattering of Latin. The Anglo Saxons brought with them a language of Germanic origin which combined with Viking influences eventually morphed into the Yorkshire dialect, with many words still recognisable in everyday speech and place names.

Eric explained that the East Riding dialect is the most pure version, it being softer and less guttural that that spoken in the North and West Ridings. He was at pains to point out the nuances and different pronunciation of words throughout the region, and the audience were encouraged to join in by attempting to correctly speak in the dialect appropriate for the different ridings.

Eric continued the entertainment by regaling us with poems and stories told in the Yorkshire dialect. Whilst some of them may not have been entirely politically correct, and the ones about the fairer sex had Eric looking for an escape route, none the less they were amusing and thoroughly enjoyed by his audience.

Towards the end of his talk Eric demonstrated the correct way of flying the Yorkshire flag depending on where in Yorkshire you lived- one petal at the top for North and West Riding and two at the top for East Riding. He also informed us that the Yorkshire flag is the only English flag which still retains the light blue background of the English flag before the Norman invasion.

According to the College of Heralds, the heraldic rose can be used with a petal at the top or with a sepal at the top.
In Yorkshire there is a tradition of using the rose with a petal at the top in the North Riding and the West Riding but with a sepal at the top in the East Riding.

He concluded the evening with a rousing rendition of a Yorkshire flag poem, accompanied by enthusiastic waving of said flag. His final words were to exhort us to keep using the dialect and always address our mail West Riding not West Yorkshire - an aberration brought about by politicians during the 1974 boundary changes.

The next meeting on Monday 25th March 2013 will be an illustrated talk by Jacki and Bob Lawrence entitled 'A History of Austhorpe'.