"Oh yeah, an' I still haven't got (IO) yeh a birthday present."
. . . . . .
“Tell yeh what, I'll get (1) yer animal. Not a toad, toads went outta fashion years ago, yeh'd be laughed at - an' I don' like cats, they make me sneeze. I'll get (2) yer an owl. All the kids want owls, they're dead useful, carry (3) yer mail an' everythin'."
(Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone)

(1) and (3)’s yer may be ‘your.’ But (2)’s yer can’t be ‘your’ because of the next ‘an.’ So yer of (2) needs to be indirect objective, yeh, just as in (IO). Might there be some good reason for the writer putting yer in (2)?

  • 5
    This is quoted speech - not grammatical prose, and it is an attempt by the author to express the accent of the speaker.
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 13:29
  • 5
    @EnglishLearner: Absolutely. Writers take substantial liberties with the language all the time. In this case, this is an example of Eye Dialect: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_dialect. This would not be appropriate in formal writing (for example a CV, or email to a client), but is absolutely valid for use in conveying an accent as part of a transcription - and is a common technique amongst novelists.
    – Matt
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 14:11
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    I think you're asking why JKR didn't change (2) to yeh, following her practice discussed in your related question. And I think the answer is that in this instance she didn't notice the problem. Dialect is not one of JKR's strengths. Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 14:24
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    @StoneyB, I have to disagree that this was likely an oversight; the combination of yeh an requires a glottal stop, breaking the flow of the speech, but yer an flows smoothly across the tongue and is therefore a very likely unconscious adjustment of the speaking pattern.
    – Hellion
    Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 14:32
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    I think this question is Too Localised. We're not dealing with accurate "phonetic transcriptions" here; it's extreme overanalysis to assume yeh/yer reliably represent you/your. Noting Matt's Dickens citation, one might as well ask what difference in pronunciation is implied by spelling was as wos and said as sed (imho, none - it's just a typographic indication that the speaker is "uneducated underclass", and probably wouldn't be able to write/spell correctly, just as he doesn't know/use standard grammatical forms). Commented Apr 11, 2013 at 15:35

2 Answers 2


I think perhaps it's an intrusive R. From Wikipedia (emphasis added, citation links removed):

The phenomenon of intrusive R is an overgeneralizing reinterpretation of linking R into an r-insertion rule that affects any word that ends in the non-high vowels /ə/, /ɪə/, /ɑː/, or /ɔː/; when such a word is closely followed by another word beginning in a vowel sound, an [r] is inserted between them, even when no final /r/ was historically present. For example, the phrase tuna oil would be pronounced [ˈtjuːnər ɔɪl]. The epenthetic [r] can be inserted to prevent hiatus, two consecutive vowel sounds.

In other words, I believe yer represents you in example (2), not your.

In "I still haven't got yeh a birthday present", I think the /r/ isn't inserted because the transition between yeh and a is (at least partially) glottalized.

  • Then in "I'll get (1) yer animal," what is the reason there's no article: when we say a pet, do we not use an article?
    – Listenever
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 5:53
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    @Listenever In "I'll get yer animal", yer represents your. In the sentences "I'll get your animal" and "I'll get an animal", both your and an take up the same slot (the central determiner slot). They can't be put together.
    – user230
    Commented Apr 15, 2013 at 7:58

Yer is used to show the way people sometimes pronounce you or your.

See yer when I get back.

What's yer name?

"I will get yer an owl" means "I will get you an owl," not "I will get your an owl."

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