Learn to speak like Jon Snow & Ygritte from GAME OF THRONES!


"Righ' foo', lef' foo', right foot, left foot".

Hello. I'm Gill at engVid,

and today's lesson is on the northern UK accent,

and we've used as our example a program called Game of Thrones,

and you may be a big fan of this program.

I think it's very popular. But if you're not, if you've never seen an episode of Game of Thrones,

then just to explain that it's a historical, medieval, fantasy

about power struggles mostly, hence the "Throne" in the title.

And we're looking today at one episode which comes from series 3, episode 7 which shows

two of the characters, Jon Snow and Ygritte, a young man and a young woman

walking through the countryside, and they're going off to fight somewhere.

So they're having a conversation

on the way. So we've taken some of the words that they say during their conversations to

look at how they pronounce them. So they're both speaking in a northern UK accent, which

is around the sort of Yorkshire, Lancashire area about 200 miles north of London.

But the actors themselves are not northern. They are performing in a northern accent, so it's

possible to learn different accents. The actress actually comes from Scotland,

but she speaks in normal life, in her real life she speaks with a southern London, quite a cultured-London accent;

whereas the actor, the male actor who plays Jon Snow, he's from the London area

and he speaks with a London accent. So they are both speaking with accents that they don't

normally speak. But anyway, we're going to look at some of the words from that episode

today, and I will demonstrate how they're pronounced compared with the standard RP,

Received Pronunciation, southern way of saying the words. Okay. So, right.

So the idea with the northern UK accent, it fits the medieval fantasy type of program

more probably than the southern accent because it has a sort of historical feel to it. It

sounds strong. The people who speak that way sound very strong. And this word: "gritty",

"grit" is little pieces of stone. So if you think of stone it's very hard and tough, it's

hard to break. So if somebody is gritty, they're quite strong and tough.

So the northern accent has this strong, tough, gritty feel to it. So it fits with the historical drama where

people are living quite difficult lives, and they haven't got central heating, for example,

and they haven't got electricity. So, life is hard. Okay?

So, okay, let's have a look at the... Some of the vowel sounds which are different from

the southern. So, first of all, these examples. In sorts of southern RP, what we call "RP",

Received Pronunciation, these would be pronounced: "snow", "won't", "don't", "know", "road",

so it's the "o" sound. Just an "o" sound. But in the northern accent that's used in

the program, it's much broader. It's: "snoow", and "woon't", "doon't", "knoow", "rooad",

it's like that. Okay? So maybe you'd like to try repeating after me:






so you have to really push your mouth forward and make it quite

dark and heavy-sounding. Okay?

So that's the "o" sound or the "oo" sound.

Okay, it's a bit longer. You hold it on for longer as well. Right.

Next one, these words would, in RP, would be: "blood", "love", "drums", and "come"

as in "come on", "come on. Let's go", "come". But... So it's a sort of "ah" sound.

But in the northern accent it's: "blood", and "love", "drums", "come".

So, again, it's much darker

and "oo", pushing your mouth forward again. So perhaps you'd like to repeat after me again.

So: "blood",



"come on".

So, I hope you know all these words. Drums, the

things that you hit, a musical instrument, percussion instrument. Bang, bang, bang, bang.

Drums which are used in military, you know, marches and so on for people to march along

to because they give a strong rhythm. So: "drums",

"come on", okay?

Next one, in the south people would say: "save", "make", "lady", "brave", "day".

So it's a bit like "a", like that. But again, in the northern accent it's a longer sound, and it's:






so it's much sort of wider and, again, longer and darker.

You make the sound a bit darker as well.

So, would you like to repeat after me?






Okay? "Brave" means strong and courageous.

You're not afraid of anything. Okay? If you're brave and you're really brave if you're from

the north-gritty, and strong-and brave. Okay.

So, that's that one.

This little word: "you", it depends what part of the sentence it comes in, but if it's towards

the end it can often be shortened. So it might just sound like: "yuh", "yuh". I've spelt

it two different ways here (yer/yuh) to try to suggest the pronunciation. "Yuh".

Instead of "you", just "yuh". So perhaps you'd like to repeat after me. "You".

Okay. Okay then.

Next one, in the southern accent: "right", "right".

This is my right hand, this is my left. Right. Okay.

But again, the "i" of "right", it gets longer in the northern accent. And

also the "t" isn't always pronounced, so you get something like this:

"raaht", "right",

so you make your mouth very wide like that. "Right", "right".

And instead of making the "t" sound, it's called the glottal stop.

You may have heard of this before, and that is

some sound, something that happens in your throat.

So instead of making the "t" sound

in your mouth, you're sort of making a catching sound in your throat.

So: "right", it's something down there. So: "right".

Would you like to repeat after me? "Right", okay?

So you just stop yourself making the "t" sound and catch something in your throat instead.

And this one: "that", "that", again, the final "t" can be missed off, but also the "ah" sound

is a little bit wider: "thaat". "That" in the south, but a bit wider like:

"tha", "that", "that",

so again, a big, wide mouth. I sort of imagine it as almost a square shape. "That".

As square as you can get it, like: "right", "that".

So it makes your face probably look

a bit strange because you're making shapes you perhaps haven't made before. Okay, so

that's that one. If you'd like to say the word after me: "that", "that".

Okay. And the same with "land". In the south: "land", but the same vowel sound as in "that", "land",

"land". And it's much wider. "Land". You want to repeat after me?

"Land", "land". Okay.

And then the final example of what happens is words ending "ing" where we would say in the south:

"anything", "fighting", "training", first of all we have a "t" missing again here,

the glottal stop again. And the "g" sound is missed off, so:

"anythin'", "anythin'", "anything".

And "fightin'", "fighting", and "trainin'", "training".

Okay? Do you want to repeat?




Okay. So, those are some of the vowel sounds

and some of the other things that happen, like glottal stop, missing "t" and the missing "g".

So let's now have a look at some of the phrases that are used in the dialogue in the episode,

which also includes these words to get a longer line that's said by the actors so that it...

And if you're a fan of Game of Thrones you will probably recognize these lines.

So this is something that Ygritte, the woman says to Jon Snow, the man, as they're walking along.

"You know nothin', Jon Snow.

You know nothin', Jon Snow."

So: "know", and "snow" are the same vowel sound.

"Nothin'", "nothin'".

Instead of: "You know nothing, Jon Snow", which sounds much too civilized and modern:

"You know nothin', Jon Snow." Okay?

So, do you want to repeat after me or with me?

"You know nothin', Jon Snow."

Okay. And then similar:

"You don't know", so the same vowel sound again: "You don't know."

Okay, right. Just repeat when I've done it. Okay.

Then I don't know whether... It's him, I think Jon Snow says this to Ygritte this time, I'm

not sure, but somebody says:

"You don't have the training", but they say it:

"You don't have the trainin'. You don't have the trainin'."

Repeat. "You don't have the trainin'." Okay.

And then they're talking about marching along when they're in an army and somebody's banging

the drums to give a good rhythm for people marching, so somebody says:

"Not banging the drums", but: "bangin' the drums",

and the "g", instead of: "banging", "banging" as we would say in the south,

"banging", you'd get a "g" sound in both places: "banging". It's "bangin'",

so the hard "g" sound here and then the "g" is missed at the end. And then

"drums", "banging the drums". Do you want to repeat that after me?

"Banging the drums",

okay. Oh, and then this is where Ygritte, she's being a bit sarcastic about the drums:

"Oh, so it helps you to put your left foot down and then your right foot down, does it? That's clever."

So right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot, left foot.

But the way she says it, she misses the "t" off the end, so glottal stop each time and

also instead of "right", it's: "righ'". "Righ' foo'",

so: "Righ' foo', lef' foo', right foot, left foot".

So she's being very sarcastic which fits with the accent, really. So do you want to say that after me?

"Righ' foo', lef' foo'".


And then the sort of slogan of the whole program, really, the idea that winter is coming, but

it's not said like that, not by these characters anyway.

So they say: "Winter is comin'. Winter is comin'"

so this is the main vowel sound, here. "Comin'" instead of "coming".

"Winter is comin'. Winter is coming." Okay? Right.

And similarly, the same vowel sound again:

"Come, come on. Come on, we've got to go." So not: "Come on, come on",

but: "Come on, come on." It's much darker and deeper.

And this one: "She understan's", so there's not really a "d" there. There should be a

"d" in the spelling, so that's why I've put a little apostrophe to show it's not a possessive

apostrophe "s", it's just "ds", there's a "d" missing. So:

"She understan's. She understands."

Not: "She understands", but "she understands". So do you want to say that after me?

"She understands."

So no "d" sound at the end. Okay.

And then... Oh, they have a... Ygritte has a conversation with another character, and

they're talking about who... What they feel about other people, so:

"You love 'im", "loove",

not "love". "You love him" would be in the south, but:

"You loove 'im", and the "h" is missing.

Often in the north the "h" at the beginning of a word is missing as well. So:

"You love 'im", "You love 'im". And: "he", "'e", this is a missing "h" again. "He", "He loves you",

"'E loves yuh", "'E loves yuh", and so this is where the word "u" at the end

of a line becomes just "yuh". "'E loves yuh", "He loves you".

Would you like to say that after me?

"'E loves yuh".

Okay, and then this is a really good one because the whole program is about the ownership of

land, and castles, and fighting people for ownership. So they're off to fight to get

some land back that they've lost in the past apparently. So, I think Ygritte says this,

so she doesn't say: "After we've taken our land back",

that's much too civilized and

modern. If you've seen Downton Abbey with an actress like Maggie Smith as a very aristocratic

lady, she would say: "After we've taken our land back",

but that would not work I don't think in Game of Thrones.

It's much deeper and more down to earth, so:

"After wiv techen our land back",

so this "we've" is more like "wiv". "After wiv",

and then instead of "taken",

it's more like: "techen", "techen". "After wiv techen our land back."

So the big "ah" sound for the "land back".

So: "After", "After" rather than "After". A lot of southern people

say "after". I don't because I'm from further north and I have never changed that in my

accent, but a lot of southern people say: "after". Not everybody though, so: "After",

"ah", "after wiv taken our land back". Okay.

So, I hope that's been interesting for you, whether you're a Game of Thrones fan or not.

I hope it's given you some insight into how actors, you know, can sometimes change their

accents to fit a particular character and a particular period in history or for a fantasy

series like that.

So, I hope it's been useful and fun. And so do go to the website: www.engvid.com

where there's a quiz for you to do to test your knowledge of this subject.

And I hope to see you again soon.

Thanks for watching. Bye.