A little while ago, in the northern English county of Yorkshire, seven important Austrians arrived. Four women, three men, all of them medically qualified.
Now, don't misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with Austrian doctors. They have impressive qualifications, shining stethoscopes, and here in Britain, there is a shortage of doctors!
But Yorkshire is another world.
Now Austrians speak German. I confess I do not speak German, although I can speak English in a German accent.
However in Yorkshire nobody speaks English. Instead they utter completely alien words in completely alien accents.
So when a patient walks into the consulting room and says "I've a noggling in me boggles" your average Austrian doctor will be completely baffled.
Which is why the Doncaster Primary Care Trust, the official Yorkshire body responsible for hiring these seven Austrian doctors, has now issued them all with a phrase book.
It explains such Yorkshirisms as "manky" – meaning: not very well. And "lugoil" the ear. Or "fisog" the face.
Yorkshire has different words for every familiar part of the human body. Sometimes several dozen. There is no logic to it. For instance a Yorkshireman might tell the doctor – "I've gone off me legs", meaning I'm not very well….or I'm manky.
I hope you're paying attention!
Speaking Yorkshire is hard enough for Yorkshiremen, let alone educated Austrian medics who've been taught good English. Not that it will help them. But the phrase book might.
A Yorkshireman, for example, never dies -- he simply "pops his clogs". If he's tired he's actually "jiggered". And if by some mischance there's nothing wrong with him, then he's "champion".
An Austrian doctor, hearing the word "private" will rightly assume that the subject under discussion is none of his business. But a Yorkshireman who utters the word private means there is something wrong with a part of his body below the waist and usually concealed by his clothing.
Despite this verbal minefield it seems the Austrian doctors have fallen in love with Yorkshire, and are already embracing its dotty dialect.
by Ed Boyle
Copyright 2006 CBS. All rights reserved.