BRITS have revealed their favourite uniquely British words and phrases – including ‘don’t get your knickers in a twist’, ‘it’s all gone pear-shaped’, and ‘the bee’s knees.’
Researchers polled 2,000 adults to find out the most popular dialect sayings – such as ‘were ya born in a barn?’ and ‘gone to pot’.
Other beloved phrases include ‘a curtain twitcher’ – ‘a nosey person’, ‘it’s a dreich day’ – ‘a miserable day’ and ‘having a blether’ – ‘a chat’ or ‘a gossip’.
But there are fears these utterings, along with the likes of ‘gert lush’ – very nice, and ‘ar yer orrite bor?’ – ‘hello’ or ‘how are you?’ – might soon be thing of the past.
More than half believe regional dialects are declining in the UK – with some Brits more familiar with words and phrases from Europe such as ‘bon appétit’, ‘déjà-vu’ and ‘adiós’.
However, Trainline, which commissioned the research, hopes to change this and has partnered with the British Library to launch an interactive online quiz created using a sound archive featuring audio recordings of thousands of dialect words and phrases.
The quiz aims to equip travellers with local lingo as they journey around Britain and Northern Ireland over the summer – and to celebrate UK dialects.
Jonnie Robinson, lead curator of spoken English, The British Library, said: “It’s been great fun working with Trainline to build a collection of dialect phrases for the online quiz.
“Our sound archive preserves thousands of spoken word recordings of UK accents and dialects for anyone to hear.
“The quiz is a fantastic way to celebrate them and connect them with people who may not have come across them before.
TOP 20 MOST POPULAR UK SAYINGS
1. Don’t get your knickers in a twist
2. It’s all gone pear-shaped
3. The bee’s knees
4. A cock up
5. Were ya born in a barn?
6. Gone to pot
7. A picnic short of a sandwich
8. Brass monkey
9. Bright as a button
10. Where there’s muck there’s brass
11. A curtain twitcher
12. You look smashing
13. I’ll ring you/give you a ring
14. Having a blether
15. I quite fancy you
16. They are fit
17. It’s a dreich day
18. You look smart
19. Lang may yer lum reek
20. Treacle tart
“The richness and diversity of dialects featured immediately conjures up a sense of place and community and ultimately makes UK travel so fascinating.”
The study also found Brits are especially enamoured with Scots’ use of words – naming Scottish English as their favourite UK dialect.
And this in part is thanks to phrases and words like ‘collie-buckie’ – ‘a piggy-back ride’, ‘pure barrie’ – ‘utterly wonderful and fantastic’, and ‘wur tearin the tartan’ – ‘engrossed in riveting conversation.’
Although this form of language was also named the hardest to understand.
Not that those polled appear to mind, as 72 per cent enjoy hearing different UK dialects even if they don’t always understand them.
Carried out through OnePoll, the research also identified some of the least known UK local phrases including ‘pastydiddy?’ – ‘did you pass him on your travels?’
Along with ‘mashin’ – ‘a brew of tea’, and ‘hav’ – ‘summer.’
TOP 20 MOST POPULAR UK DIALECTICAL WORDS
And as such, 46 per cent of those polled admitted they would like to have a better understanding of UK dialects and phrases than they do currently.
Compared to this time last year, the train operator has seen a 921 per cent increase in the number of people travelling by rail for short UK breaks.
Tim Dunn, travel editor, Trainline, said: “Our fun and educational guide to local dialects mean British tourists can enjoy the cultural richness of their holiday destination, even if they’re not travelling abroad this year.”