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Re: Sheffield expressions and sayings

Posted by Gary on July 04, 2003

In Reply to: Sheffield expressions and sayings posted by Hannah on July 04, 2003

: I'm a teacher in a London school for kids with special needs. We have a colleague moving to Sheffield. We want to do an assembly that includes many typical Sheffield sayings....can you contribute any we could use that the children would enjoy? Thanks!

This site lives in Sheffield so we ought to be able to help. Unfortunately I'm not a born and bred Sheffielder so speaka da lingo. I'm sure I have one of those local phrasebooks called 'Talk Sheffieldish' or some such but the pixies seem to have taken it.

One phrase that is claimed here, from the times that Sheffield was the cutlery capital of the world, is 'nose to the grindstone'. Cutlers used to work long hours lying face down on planks above large grinding wheels - hence the phrase. Another phrase that has been appropriated by Sheffield in tourist brochures and such is 'the full monty'. Didn't originate here but the eponymous film was made around town so people have sort of adopted it. I recently saw the comedian and wordsmith Barry Cryer performing in town. He's a genuine local - "I'm from Yorkshire you know, yes - the full Bronte". Apropos of nothing at all, here's my favourite of his countless one-liners - "Beethoven was so deaf he thought he was a painter".

If I find that phrasebook I'll post some real local dialect for you.