Thursday, August 27, 2009

“Right, monkey”

Dave and I have just spent half an hour trying to work out how to describe the Sheffield pronunciation of “monkey” to someone who can’t hear you – such as you, dear readers.
You say it in flat northern vowels, but it’s more than that. The “o” in “monkey” should be ten times as flat as usual, pronounced like a German “u” with the lips pushed forwards in a bell shape, and the “ey” at the end sounds like “eh.”
Why do I want to tell you about “Right, monkey”? Because it’s a wonderful two word phrase that encapsulates a huge thought. “Right, monkey” SAYS  “I’ve got your number and I’ll get you sorted. You think you’ve got one over on me, but I have the trump card up my sleeve.” BUT you don’t say it to the monkey in question, you say it ABOUT the monkey in question when you’re recounting the story to a third party.
e.g “So he says this, and I thought to meself, right, monkey.”
Nice, eh?


Malcolm said...

Sue: Was just rackin' me brains ter remember 'oo it wus useter say that all t' time: it wus Al Read, o' course.
The phrase says so much about being from the North; about lack of trust for anyone from south of Grantham; about that fixed stare we give, as someone with a plummy BBC accent gives forth the cock-and-bull story, and the response is a telling silence, followed by "Aye... 'appen."

Sue Hepworth said...

Thanks for your comment, Malcolm. I'll have to adopt the phrase "Aye...'appen," as although I know it well, I never actually say it myself.