The Definitive Guide to Becoming Northern

one does not simply become northernAs 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”.

Step One.

  • Watch Sean Bean, playing Sean Bean in any Sean Bean movie of your choice for at least five minutes every day.
    • Remember: You are Sean Bean.

Step Two.

  • Increase consumption of tea.
    • Specifically, “Yorkshire Gold” and “Tetley”.

Step Three.

  • Expand your northern vocabulary. Try one of these words in a sentence every day:
    • ee by gum
    • ecky thump
    • rayt
    • nowt
    • nesh
    • mardy
    • ginnel
    • 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.”

Step Four.

  • Listen to one or more of the following bands:
    • The Arctic Monkeys
    • Heaven 17
    • The Human League
    • Def Leppard
    • Northern Soul

Step Five.

  • Buy a flatcap and wear it proudly when bounding around Ikley Moor.
    • Take it off, if you wish to go “bar t’at.”

Step Six.

  • Learn all the landmarks of Yorkshire:
    • The M1
    • The Parsonage (where the Brontës lived)
    • Chatsworth
    • The Rivers
      • Don
      • Loxley
      • Porter
    • The village in “Heartbeat”.
    • Kelham Island
    • Leeds

Step Seven.

  • 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.

Step Eight.

  • 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.

one does not simply become northern

– Anna


2 responses to “The Definitive Guide to Becoming Northern

    • It means that you’re too sensitive to the cold, that you’re a wuss when it comes to the outdoors. For instance, I always want the doors shut because I get too cold in my kitchen, so I’m always called “nesh” whenever someone leaves the outside door open and I complain about it. There’s probably a better definition somewhere, but that’s what it means for me (being from Sheffield and all 😉 )


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