Swaledale – Beautiful Dale, Home of The Sawle
Famous for its wildflower meadows, heather moors, stunning scenery…
The Swaledale dialect (pronounced locally as Swardle) is so thick, it rivals other, better-known British accents, such as Geordie or broad Glaswegian.
It includes old English words such as “thee” and “thou” and some unorthodox pronunciations. Shoe comes out as “shorn” and laying is pronounced “lornin”. Farmers will opine “It has been a gay day” if they have had a good day, while a “gay good day” is a very good day.
Unfortunately the dialect is fast disappearing due to the shifting demographics of the area. With the younger generation moving out to the towns and cities to find work and outsiders coming into the area to retire; the dialect has fast become diluted to near non-existence, but you can still hear ‘Swardle’ when you come to meet one or two of the true locals of the area.
Firstly, let’s learn to count our Swaledale Sheep, well ten of them anyway:
1 – Yan, 2 – Tan, 3 – Tether, 4 – Mether, 5 – Pip, 6 – Azer, 7 – Sezar, 8 – Akker, 9 – Conter, 10 – Dick.
And of course –
The Swaledale Song
Beautiful Dale, Home of The Swale
A song close to our hearts and minds, sung each year at the end of Muker Show at the front of The Farmers Arms pub, as visitors and locals alike, sing their hearts out; a true feeling of community spirit.
Beautiful Dale, Home of the Swale
I will sing of a place that is dear to my heart,
A place where I always would dwell,
And if you will kindly lend me an ear
A few of its beauties I’ll tell
Chorus:- In that beautiful dale, home of the Swale,
How well do I love thee, how well do I love thee?
Beautiful dale, home of the Swale, Beautiful, beautiful dale.
Oh, it’s far far away from the noise and the din
Of colliery an’ factory an’ mill,
From the bustle and stir of town life, shut in
By verdant and radiant hills.
And how often as boys have we wandered along
Beside of the river so clear;
The birds never failing to sing their sweet song
And lend a charm to your ear.
And if fate ee’er compels me to leave this dear spot
In other lands far away roam,
My earnest wish whatee’er be my lot
Is to end my days here at home.