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Posted by Smokey Stover on November 25, 2005

In Reply to: A-up posted by Gary Martin on November 25, 2005

: : : : Hi I love this site, if anyone can answer me this it would make my day. In the north (uk) a lot of people say a-up insted of hello. I'd like to know why this is and what it means as I think its quite an unusual phrase. PLz help

: : : "Ayup" is Yes. I've never heard of it being used for hello except on the telephone, but I don't know UK accents. Possibly you might say it to a stranger the way an American might begin a conversation with "Yeah, whadda ya want?" Taking it to be a Yes, I think it got to be that way by lengthening and deepening the "y" sound at the beginning of "Yep." The "u" of Ayup is really schwah, an unaccented and characterless vowel. Sometimes it's "Ayuh, ayuh," with the accent on "Ay," pronounced like the letter A. Where I grew up there were a few variant pronunciations. One that I parrticularly liked can be represented as 'ea', in which the e as in bet is short and bears the accent, followed by a as in father. The diphthong is pronounced twice very quickly, with a glottal stop (') fore and aft of each syllable.

: : : If you can confirm that Ayup in the north of England really means Hello and not Yes, I'd appreciate it. And would find it mystifying, like much British speech. SS

: : Speaking very cautiously, as befits a Londoner born and bred, I certainly understand it to mean "Hello", Hi there"; I have never heard it used to mean "Yes". I don't think it is a variant of "Yep" because Northerners don't usually say "Yep", unless they watch a lot of Westerns! There's no standard spelling, but "Eh-up" is probably as good as any, since it is really "Eh" (as in "Hey!" or "Hi!") plus "up". (VSD)

: Eh-up is still in use here in Yorkshire and I hear it every day amongst my tyke (Yorkshire native) work colleagues.

: It is hello rather than yes, but perhaps a bit more than that. Something like "how's it going?", like the US 'hey'.

: There's a local entertainer called Bobby Knutt who used to appear regularly in panto in Sheffield. Instead of the traditional "he's behind you" call from the audience kids shouted "Eh-up Knutty", which became a bit of a catchphrase for him.

: Why 'up' is a mystery to me though. There's a similar expression in the Black Country - "any road up", which means "anyhow/in any event". Again, the 'up' origin isn't clear. Carl Chinn's 'Proper Brummie' is a dictionary of Birmingham phrases and includes "any road up" but has no derivation. I'll check the equivalent Yorkshire dialect books for "eh-up", but I'm not confident of finding anything.

Thank you, gentle Brits, for enlightening me on the painful subject of the speech of northern England. While the derivation of American "ayup" is obvious, the derivation of northern English "ayup" remains cloudy to me. SS