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Thursday 28 September 2017

People who can‘t say ‘ull

The BBC Radio Four announcer said this afternoon that in half an hour there would be a programme about the 2017 City of Culture.

“I know where he means” I thought, but then he mystified me by saying it was about the Ezzall area of the city. It took me a moment to realise he meant ‘essle. There is a difference. In trying to mimic the local accent, he had over-emphasised the initial E.

Like the friend I had when I worked in Scotland. No matter how hard she tried, no matter how many times I demonstrated, she could never say ‘ull without it sounding wrong. The initial U was too strong, almost beginning with a glottal stop. The voice-onset came too soon. It’s a soft gentle U after the dropped H, not a hard one.

It seems to my ears that people not from the region cannot say ‘ull or ‘essle properly, or for that matter ‘owden, ‘edon, ‘altemprice or ‘umber. Please, unless you grew up in East Yorkshire or thereabouts, don’t try. Just put the H in.

The programme, incidentally, was Hull 2017: The Spirit of Hessle Road.

Hull 2017: The Spirit of Hessle Road


  1. Yes a very common error when you are not a native speaker. Tough for both speaker and listener but its funny too. As I like horror I will definitely look forward to this show

    1. I see that the 'uffington post removed your link! I wonder why.

  2. It was pretty funny to go through the post. Your sense of humor and comedy is indeed brilliant and I would say that the post just made my day by cheering me.

    1. You are too kind. Are your expansion joints amusing too?


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