Wigan cabbie pens his own Wiganese dictionary

Gary in Wigan town centre with his new book
Gary in Wigan town centre with his new book

As’t ever thowt abehtt worrit’d be like fot live sumweeyer uvver than Wigin?


Well Gary Winstanley hasn’t. And one reason is because he loves its language so much that he’s written a dictionary and phrase book on it.

In case anyone was struggling to understand the first sentence, it’s the 45-year-old Abram bus driver’s phonetic take on “have you ever thought what it would be like to live somewhere other than Wigan?”

His self-published A-Z of Wiganese is packed with such dialectic examples, aimed both at entertaining locals unfamiliar with seeing their vernacular written down, and to help visitors understand what the stronger-accented locals are on about.

That said, he has already had several orders placed for the slim volume from as far afield as Tyneside and the West Country, as well as plenty of local interest.

As for how the book came about, the dad-of-two said: “I was a taxi driver for 20 years and in that job you listen a lot. I’m Wigan born and bred myself, but transporting people around you really home in on the local lingo in all its variations. Accents and words differ according to what part of the borough you’re from.

“You develop a fine-tuned ear for this kind of thing and, in the end, I thought I would put it in a book.

“It makes no great claims to academic linguistic analysis; it’s just a light-hearted look at the Wigan accent, putting the phonetically-described words in the context of a sentence such as ‘anta’ as in ‘anta dun a reet gud job of thi’ err’ (‘haven’t I done a very good job of your hair??)’

“I was only on the bus (‘buzz’) the other day and heard the Wigan pronunciation of St Helens which is Sent Ellinz. It’s a wonderful rich language of its own.”

The A-Z of Wiganese is available on lulu.com for £7 plus packaging and also on eBay.