Lancashire Dialect Poems
Even if it is sometimes obscure, published material from even before the eighteenth century is nearly all written in 'good' English. For example, the work of James Butterworth on the history of Oldham, published in 1817, is almost as easy to read today as when it was written. Charles Dickens is perfectly intelligible today, even if we sometimes sigh at his sentence construction. The truth is, there is very little written in the way that English used to be spoken. Robert Burns, the celebrated Scottish poet, was exceptional in publishing in his own dialect. As a result of this tendency most of the indigenous English accents and local vocabulary are lost. This is tragic, because the soul of the people, their hopes and fears, likes and dislikes, their humour and their pathos, is in their pronunciation, vocabulary and the expressions they used.
If you have difficutly with any of the words or expressions, check the Glossary which I have compiled from various sources.
Below you will find some fine examples of Lancashire dialect poems. Please click on the underlined title.
All the poems have spoken (or sung!) versions attached which you should be able to hear with Windows Media Player, or equivalent, but you will have to allow 'ActiveX' first.
I don't claim that my spoken dialect is particularly true (I've lived away from Lancashire for too many years), but I haven't found it easy to come across recitals of Lancashire dialect poems, so I hope that my efforts will provide at least an idea of the sound of what was always a spoken idiom.