As I’ve mentioned in a previous post (click here if you haven’t read it yet), I recently had the accent equivalent of an existential crisis. Essentially, what’s happened is I am technically northern, having never lived outside of the North, but as my parents are both southern I’ve ended up sounding exactly like them. Northern by nature, Southern by nurture.
My friend Beth, who has spent recent weeks calling me out on certain “southernisms” of mine including sticking one’s pinky out when taking a drink (I thought that was normal. Apparently not.), has decided to “help” me to become more northern.
Apparently, the best way of doing so is through an 8-step program that she’s devised especially for me, imaginatively titled “ANNA’S PROGRAM FOR NORTHERN-NESS” or “The Watford Gap Initiation”.
- Watch Sean Bean, playing Sean Bean in any Sean Bean movie of your choice for at least five minutes every day.
- Repeat key phrases such as “WINTER IS COMING”, “ONE DOES NOT SIMPLY WALK INTO MORDOR” and “O2 SIM PACKAGES”.
- Remember: You are Sean Bean.
- Increase consumption of tea.
- Specifically, “Yorkshire Gold” and “Tetley”.
- Expand your northern vocabulary. Try one of these words in a sentence every day:
- ee by gum
- ecky thump
- tha (in place of “you”)
- sen (in place of “self”)
- In addition, don’t forget to replace “the” with a ” t’ ” sound.
- Example: “Goin’ t’shop.”
- Listen to one or more of the following bands:
- The Arctic Monkeys
- Heaven 17
- The Human League
- Def Leppard
- Northern Soul
- Buy a flatcap and wear it proudly when bounding around Ikley Moor.
- Take it off, if you wish to go “bar t’at.”
- Learn all the landmarks of Yorkshire:
- The M1
- The Parsonage (where the Brontës lived)
- The Rivers
- The village in “Heartbeat”.
- Kelham Island
- There is no step seven.
- You have come this far, so be proud and confident in the knowledge that you can now legitimately join the cast of Emmerdale.
- CAUTION: This step is advanced Northern-ness, and is only for the most dedicated flat-cap-wearing BAMFs.
- Translate the well-known, smash Yorkshire hit “On Ilkely Moor bar t’at” into standard pronunciation.
- Good luck.
If anyone finds this useful, I’d be more than happy to trade stories of progress down the path to Northern-ness. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch some clips of Sean Bean.