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窶連VE A WORD

the Survival Guide to Manchester Slang


“Make a brew our kid, I’m right nesh!”

‘AVE A WORD with Manchester If you were new to Manchester, would you be confused? Many refugees and asylum seekers arriving in the region most certainly are. In fact, many native English speakers would be quite confused too!

This dictionary aims to bring together some of the most common words and phrases of the region, as well as other useful slang from around the country. With a better understanding of the local language, we hope new arrivals to the area will find it easier to become part of their local communities…

Manchester


ing d n ta s der n u is m n ia Mancun

I had only been in Manchester for a few months when I went to a local social event. When I arrived, I was asked ‘Do you want a brew?’ It was eleven o’clock in the morning so I was surprised to be offered a beer at this time and politely declined. I looked around and saw people drinking teas and coffees and so I asked if I could have a cup of tea, not realising that this is what I had been offered in the first place!

I was very embarrassed, but now, whenever anyone comes to visit me, I always offer them a ‘brew’!


Accents across the Greater Manchester region vary greatly — someone from Salford will sound different from someone from Wigan (and both would claim not to be Mancunian!) These notes are therefore a guide only, and may not be true for all people from the region.

GUIDE to Mancunian pronunciation The letters ‘t’ and ‘g’ at the end of words are often not pronounced. i.e. ‘alright’ is pronounced ‘alrigh’’; ‘chilling’ is pronounced ‘chillin’’ The letter ‘h’ at the beginning of words is often not pronounced. i.e. ‘hello’ is pronounced ‘’ello’

‘t’s in the middle of words are often replaced with a glottal stop (in effect they are also not pronounced). i.e. ‘letter’ is pronounced ‘le’er’; ‘sorted’ becomes ‘sor’ed’ Vowels sounds are often longer in Mancunian, especially in ‘-er’ endings. i.e. ‘a fiver’ may be pronounced as ‘a fiveeer’

map: openstreetmap.org

Guide to the word list Parts of speech

&

n. Noun an object, thing, person e.g. table, woman, paper, dog adj. Adjective word used to describe something or someone e.g. good, cold, beautiful vb. Verb action word e.g. go, eat, play adv. Adverb word used to describe a verb e.g. very, quickly, badly phr. Phrase


A–C Slang Translation

A

to bounce

vb.

leave

a round of toast n.

a slice of toast

break a leg

phr.

good luck

ace

adj.

very good

brew (1)

n.

cup of tea or coffee

alright?

phr.

hill

‘ave a word phr.

how are you?

brew (2)

n.

to have a talk / chat with someone

bro

n. brother

burn

adj. good

butty

n. sandwich

buzzin‘

adj.

B baccy

n. tobacco

bang on

adj.

perfect

bap

n.

bread roll

barm

n.

bread roll

barmy

adj. mad/eccentric

barney

n. argument

blimey!

phr.

(exclamation of surprise)

blinder

n.

a great thing / event

blinding

adj.

very good

bloke

n. man

blud (blood)

n.

friend/brother

bob on

adj.

perfect

bobbins

adj.

not good

bobby

n.

police officer

bog

n. toilet

booze

n.

alcoholic drink

very happy / excited

C champion adj. good cheers

phr.

thank you to relax

to chill out

vb.

chillin’

adj. relaxing

chilly

adj. cold

chinwag

n.

chat (talk)

to chip off

vb.

to leave fish and chip shop

chippy

n.

chuck

vb. throw

chuck it

vb.

chuffed

adj. very pleased / happy

throw it away

cigs

n. cigarettes

cob

n. bread roll

copper

n. police officer


D–H D

G

da the

gaff

n. home

daft

adj.

get lost!

phr.

dead

adv. very

get yer mad up phr.

dibble

n.

police officer

gigs

n. glasses

go away

silly, unwise, stupid

go away! become angry

do one

phr.

ginnel

n.

covered alleyway between houses

dodgy

adj. untrustworthy

give over

phr.

stop it

dope

adj.

really good

gob

n. mouth

down our end

phr.

where we live

going off

adj.

drizzle

n.

light rain

gonk

n. idiot

dry

adj. boring

out of control

gormless adj. stupid grand

adj.

very good

E

a grand

n.

1,000 pounds

epic

gravy

adj. good

adj. good

F

gump

n.

foolish person

gutted

adj.

upset / disappointed

fags

n. cigarettes

famo

n. family

H

fib

n. lie

hanging

a fiver

n.

five pounds

have a cob on

phr.

being grumpy

flippin’ heck

phr.

exclamation of surprise

having a buzz

phr.

having a good time

flix (flicks)

n.

cinema

heads

n. people

hi

greeting hello

hiya

greeting hello

hotpot

n. stew

adj.

dirty / unattractive


I–M I I am telling ya

phr.

honestly!

I haven’t the foggiest

phr.

I have no idea

in a bit

phr.

soon

innit?

phr.

isn‘t it?

in the club

phr.

pregnant

it was a piece of cake

phr.

it was very easy

K kak

adj.

M ma

n.

mother

mad fer it

phr.

enthusiastic

Manc

n./adj. Mancunian

manky

adj.

dirty / horrible

mard

n.

bad mood

mardy

adj.

bad tempered

mate

n.

friend

minging

adj.

unclean/unattractive

mingey

adj.

mean

bad, rubbish

mind out!

phr.

be careful!

adj.

good / great

adj.

rich / wealthy

karnos

adj.

chaos

mint

keks

n.

trousers

minted

kippered

adj.

tired

knackered

adj.

tired

mither vb.

bother / pester pronounce ’i’ as in ‘five’

mithered

adj.

to be hassled

muck about

vb.

to play around

muggy

adj.

cloudy and humid

L lad

n.

boy/man

lass

n.

girl

later(s)

phr.

goodbye

let’s crack on

phr.

let’s get on with it

loo

n.

toilet

lothered

adj.

sweating

mum

n.

mother

my bad

phr.

my mistake


N–S N

potty

nesh

adj.

weak / feels the cold

nice one!

phr.

great, thank you!

proper

very ‘that was proper good.’

nippers

n.

young kids

pure

adj.

really good

nowt

n.

nothing (rhymes with ‘out’)

nowty

adj.

grumpy

put wood in t‘ hole.

phr.

shut the door.

numpty

n.

stupid person / idiot

O

adj.

mad / eccentric

Q a quid

n.

one pound

oh dear!

phr.

what a shame!

R

on your bike

phr.

go away

our kid

n.

brother or sister

right very ‘that was right good.’

over the moon adj.

happy

right as rain

phr.

all good / fine

owt n.

anything (pronounced ‘out’)

rozzer

n.

police officer

P

S sarnie

n. sandwich

schnoz

n. nose

scran

n. food

pal

n.

friend

peeps

n.

people

peppered

adj.

have no money

see you in a bit phr.

see you soon

pint

n.

a pint of beer

pop

n.

soda

seeing your backside

getting annoyed

poorly

adj.

unwell

shut your gob

phr.

be quiet, shut up

adj.

good / fantastic

n. sister

posh

adj.

rich / classy person

sick

potato hash

n.

mashed potato and meat

sis

phr.


S–Z skanky

adj. disgusting

skenning

vb.

watching something

a tenner

n.

ten pounds

top

adj. good

town

n.

town centre

trolleys

n.

trousers, underwear

turn it in

vb.

stop it

tutty

n.

lipstick / make-up

skenning like a whelk

phr.

skids

n.

knickers, underpants

skint

adj.

poor, have no money

skrieking

vb. crying

skuds

n. underpants

W

slopstone

n.

well

adv. very

smokin’

adj. good

wicked

adj.

not seeing very well

the sink

very good

snappers n. underpants Y

soft

adj.

silly / stupid

sorted

adj.

ready / good

y’ all right?

phr.

are you alright? (How are you?)

n.

bouse / back of house

phr.

you are telling lies

spanner

n.

a stupid person

yard

spitting

vb.

raining lightly

yer fibbin’

spuds

n. potatoes

stroll

n./vb.

slow walk

summat n. something sweating cobbs adj.

really hot

T ta ra

goodbye

ta ta

goodbye

ta

thank you

you barmy dog phr.

you are very silly

youse

pronoun plural of you

you what?

phr.

pardon?

Z zig

n.

passionate kiss


MORE Mancunian misunderstanding “My name is Jeph. The first time I came to Manchester, I was really confused about the pronunciation. “One day I was in my hostel and the people I lived with were having a conversation in which I had to take part. They were using words like ‘barmy’, ‘chuffed’, ‘gutted’ and ‘naff’ – they were difficult to understand but I tried to cope. “Some other friends were greeting me, saying ‘waguan, Jeph?’ At that time I could not understand that they were asking me ‘Where are you going?’ so I just smiled and tried to show them kindness.

Most of the time they were not pronouncing all of the words. “I was terrified about those words and how the pronunciation was so fast. Even up to now I am facing some difficulties.”


Acknowledgements

You would not be holding this survival guide to Manchester slang in your hands in its present form if it had not been for the invaluable help and support of several groups and individuals. First of all, we would like to thank clients of Refugee Action’s Gateway Protection Programme for highlighting the problems new arrivals to Manchester face when trying to understand local dialects, and therefore providing the inspiration for the ‘Ave a Word with Manchester’ project, and this guide to Mancunian slang.

Without the commitment and hard work of several Refugee Action volunteers, this dictionary would also not have been possible. Special thanks goes to them, including Michael Dietrich, Marcianne Uwimana, Jane Jacoby and Liz Oliech for the many hours and the imagination they have given to the project. Thanks also to staff of Refugee Action Manchester who lent their support, ideas and accents to the project! Many thanks also go to N. Tafesse and Jeph Mupira for sharing their stories of Manchester miscommunications with us, and

giving permission for those stories to be printed within these pages. Thank you to the individuals and families who have allowed their images to be used. Some images have been changed to protect client identities. Finally, thank you to all those supporters who have donated to the project. Most notably, thanks to Forever Manchester and the International Society in Manchester for their generous support in helping to print this dictionary The ‘Ave a Word with Manchester team


This dictionary represents the culmination of work on the ‘Ave a Word with Manchester Project at Refugee Action which came about after a number of refugees told us that, despite speaking good English, they still had difficulty understanding the local accents and phrases.

Refugee Action Manchester 23-37 Edge Street Manchester M4 1HW

During the Project, resources were produced to help refugees and other newcomers to the area better understand the local language. To access these free resources, please email info@refugee-action.org.uk

Refugee Action London Victoria Charity Centre 11 Belgrave Road London SW1V 1RB

Refugee Action is an independent, national charity working to enable refugees to build new lives. We provide practical emergency support for newly arrived asylum seekers and long-term commitment to their settlement. As one of the country’s leading agencies in the field, Refugee Action has more than 30 years’ experience in pioneering innovative work in partnership with refugees. www.refugee-action.org.uk

twitter.com/refugeeaction facebook.com/refugeeaction photo credits: Claudia Janke/Refugee Action Charity Registered Number 283660 Company Registered Number 01593454

'Ave A Word - the survival guide to Manchester slang  

Many refugees and asylum seekers arriving in the region most certainly are. In fact, many native English speakers would be quite confused to...

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