I was watching a programme on television the other day called Come Dine With Me. In case you haven’t seen it, it involves a group of strangers being brought together and over the course of a week they each take it in turn to cook dinner. The guests award points at the end of the evening and the host with the highest score wins one thousand pounds.
Anyway, the episode I was watching was set in Yorkshire. When the first host opened his door to guest number one, he uttered the immortal words, “Hey up!” Roughly translated it means, Hello. Lovely to see you. Welcome. and it’s the perfect example of how we use English in a way that often confuses people from other parts of the world.
Have you ever commented that you’re spitting feathers when you’re really thirsty? Or replied to an enquiry after your health that you’re fair to middling? I know I have, and I’ve never given it a second thought either. But how confusing it must be to someone who doesn’t come from your particular area.
I love local sayings and think they are something we should cherish. In Liverpool, for instance, we might describe something good as being “boss”, while in another part of the country they might describe it as “wicked”. Then there’s all the local endearments: love, duck, hen, cock, my lover – the list is endless yet they are all terms of affection.
In Lancashire where I live, the standard reply to how are you is Oh, just keeping goin’ with me ‘ead down. Taken at face value, the words barely make sense but used in this fashion they perfectly describe someone who is well enough to be getting on with his life.
So, do you have any sayings particular to the part of the world where you live? When you open your door to your guests, how do you greet them? I’d love to hear them so I can add them to my collection!