Can You Understand Us? A Guide To Stokes Lingo

If you didn’t grow up in Stoke the accent and lingo may be hard to understand at first, especially if you come from outside of the West Midlands.

The potteries dialect is pretty much exclusive to Stoke-On-Trent. So even if you live in South Staffordshire the move to the north can leave you confused.

Luckily the people are pretty friendly and may have a little chuckle at your confusion before explaining themselves in the Queens English.

To avoid embarrassment, try to familiarise yourself with the terms below.

Ay up, ow at, orate? – Hello, how are you, you okay?

A common greeting in Stoke will be some variation of the above. “Ay up” is the most common, followed by “orate”. “Ow at” is the least common greeting and is often left out of the saying by younger stokies. 

Respond with: “I’m good thanks, how are you?” or “Hiya, mate”

An all – As well

This will probably be said by one of your friends after a bad day. When life keeps throwing a spanner in the works or when you actually tried to do well on an assignment, you need to have a little moan.

E.g. “I got a 2:2, I tried really hard on that essay an all”

Respond with: Sympathy, life is clearly testing them at the moment.

Proper narky – Very moody

Is your friend arguing with her boyfriend? Your stokie housemates may describe him as being “proper narky”. This basically translates to “very moody”. If someones annoyed with your actions and they are being a bit snappy – they’re being proper narky.

Respond with: “He needs to grow up”

Nesh – Cold

You may be asked if it’s nesh outside by your flatmate after returning from a morning lecture. This basically is a substitute for “cold” – were not sure why we need another word for cold either, but we have one.

Respond with: “Yeah, you’ll need your big coat on today”

Wom – Home

This is a fun one to use when you’re back home with your family. Although it may upset your mum for you to call uni digs in Stoke your home instead of your childhood house.

You might get asked “you going wom for chrimbo” by your flatmates the week before the Christmas break.

Respond with: “Yeah, I’m going back on Friday”

Snapping – Food

After a long day at uni, you may be invited to go and get some snapping in town. Don’t worry, it’s nothing dodgy. They just want to know if you want to get some food in town.

Respond with: “Yes, I heard The Quarter has a good deal on at the moment” or if your student loans running a bit low “I’m good thanks, I’ve got leftover chilli that needs eating tonight” might be a more sensible response.

Duck/Shug – term of endearment similar to dear/love

Whether it’s your lecturer or the old man who works at the oatcake shop, expect to be called “Duck” or “Shug” during your time in Stoke. This is the most ordinary phrase you may encounter as it is used the same way “dear” or “love” is in the rest of the UK.

Respond with: This should give you a warm, fuzzy feeling inside – it’s a sign you have been welcomed into Stoke-On-Trent from the local community!

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