9 Sep 2010


If I was to say "Te me canny good friends, welcome te another post tha takes a gandie not just at the speech of The Toon but tha of England" would you have the faintest idea what I was saying? Maybe/maybes not, so for those of you without the "foggiest" idea here it is translated into English:-

"To my good friends, welcome to another post that takes a look not just at the speech of Newcastle but that of England." *

Perhaps even more difficult then learning the English language itself is having to cope with all the different accents and dialects - Geordie here in Newcastle, Cockney in parts of London, Scouse in Liverpool, I could go on.

Having most likely learnt what we term the 'Queen's English' as a second language it really must be difficult for non native speakers to arrive in England only to find that the language they are faced with may bear little resemblance to the language they have been taught - indeed a friend of ours from 'doon south' had great difficulty with some of our more, err, accented friends who may just as well have been speaking another language -  only one of the reasons why some campaigners believe regional accents (and dialects in particular) should be discouraged at all costs. Myself? I love hearing different accents (I won't pretend I always understand them) as to me it is all part of the rich tapestry of life.

Anyway, I witter ......

Linguists have found that Britain's traditional dialects are enjoying  an unlikely resurgence - thanks to the power of the internet.
In news certain to disappoint defenders of the Queen's English colloquialisms once understood only in Manchester, Newcastle or London are entering mainstream use throughout the country.
Dr Eric Schleef, a lecturer in English sociolinguistics at the University of Manchester, said "Dialects were traditionally passed on relatively slowly through spoken language. But social changes such as the speed of modern communication mean they are spreading much faster than they would have.
"Twitter, Facebook and texting all encourage speed and immediacy of understanding, meaning users type as they speak, using slang, dialect respellings and colloquialisms. The result is we are all becoming exposed to words we may not have otherwise encountered, absorbing them into everyday speech." Matthew Moore, the Daily Telegraph.

So what are the words on the street?

NORFOLK - Mardle (talk)
CORNWALL - 'andsome (lovely/good)
LIVERPOOL - Boss (good) Scran (food) Bizzies (police)
ABERDEEN - Ken (know) Bairns** (babies)
NEWCASTLE - Canny (good) Ket (sweets)
MANCHESTER - Mint (good) Mardy (moody)
MIDLANDS - Cob (bread roll)
LONDON - Sick (good) Whack*** (rubbish) Butters (ugly)

*To translate English into Geordie click HERE.
**Also used in Newcastle though not just with regard to babies. Despite my being 40+ my mam still refers to me as the bairn.
***With a totally different meaning here in Newcastle, it means to hit someone/thing.

Andy Capp (and wife Flo) - A North Eastern 'hero' (READ MORE)


Boonie S said...

Interesting post.
I read a few Robbie Burns poems once and hardly understood a word.

All the best, Boonie

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

I love anything regarding England. :)
But you already know that.
Interesting and informative post!
Thank you!

B xx

Vivienne said...

One of my personal favourites is 'There's Lush' which the Welsh love to use since Gavin and Stacy reign.

Andy Capp - that really does take me back to my childhood. I remember reading the comic strips at the back of the paper at my nan's every lunch time during school.

chitra said...

Interesting indeed. I have heard when Cricket players giving commentaries and have found it really amusing.
I have read few cartoon strips of Andy Capp.

Mary said...

Wow, haven't seen Andy Capp in a long time :) This made me laugh.

Great post.

Clarissa Draper said...

I had a friend of a friend come to Mexico from... hmmm, what part of England was it? Anyway, I had difficulties understand some phrases.

SG said...

Very interesting. Slangs and dialects are common in every country. Nice to hear some from England.

Misha1989 said...

Thank you for the post! I had fun reading it.

Melissa Gill said...

This whole subject fascinates me. I'm from the US and it's so interesting to me how we all speak the same language and yet there are so many regionalized sayings. And yes, there is now a lot of cross-over because of the internet, but also books and movies.

What's really funny is when a work means one thing here, and something totally different over there. For instance some people wear a "fanny pack" which is like a backpack that goes around your waist and allows you to carry keys, wallet, etc. But I understand the term fanny has a completely different meaning in England.

GMR said...

My comment...in Geordie thanks to the translator...hehe..
Wonderful post! Ah must syah tha Ah did best in understanding the Lunnen words/translations listed, an a close second wez tha of Cornwall. Ah think if Ah traveled ower there one dyah it'd be a challenge (unexpectedly) but fun none the less. Thanks fre sharing!

(Okay so apparantly even the translation of my thoughts came out mostly in a recognizable form...) ^_^

Willa said...

Ha ha ha fantastic!! I love love love english accents and slang, i find it so fascinating. When I was a teen living in London I thought I was really good, using words like innit' as spice in my sentences - now I try to tone it done though I still quite fond of all those fun words.

Jen said...

It's not just English. The Spanish we learn in school is not the same Spanish spoken in the streets of Mexico.

Kelly said...

Really fun post! It's that way across the US, too.... lots of different accents, pronunciations and coloquial expressions.

I love Andy Capp and read him in my comics every single day! This one was just the smile I needed right now (it's been a rough day so far...).

StarTraci said...

I understood everything but Newcastle.

I love regional dialects, especially those from your corner of the world. I think that they are something that makes the world a little brighter and more fun.

I think that I would probably love to sit quietly in a corner and just listen to you.


susan s. said...

We had Andy Capp here in the States. I think it was translated for us! And it was funny.

Nikki-ann said...

Ohh, Andy Capp! I used to spend hours looking through Dad's Andy Capp books! :)

It's even more difficult in Wales... We have Welsh words and slang to contend with as we as the regional accents :D

Suko said...

I wish I were clever enough to leave a comment in slang! Petty, this is fascinating to me.

Trac~ said...

Very interesing review - I had NO clue what you were saying until you spelt it out! LOL I LOVE Andy Capp - been a while since I've seen him. Also, thanks regarding my scan - I will let you know as soon as I have the results which will be on Tuesday morning when I go back to the doctor. Big hugs my friend! xoxoxo

Karen said...

I just read a book that took place in England and although I don't usually have a problem deciphering I was so lost with this book! I had to tweet a friend that lives in England to help get me through!

Kissed by an Angel said...

I loved this post!!! But I have to say that two of your London example were a mystery to me!! I knew sick meant good as my Nephew says it and I knew it from America too!! But the rest - not a clue!! My husband used to work with an Irish guy - I hated it if he spoke to me because I simply could not understand a word he said!! It was really embarrasing!!!
Hope you and hybby are both in good health now!!!

Dorte H said...

Oh, this is where I gave up my blog round yesterday. Blogger just wouldn´t let me comment.

I think English dialects are fascinating, and I understand quite a bit of the northern ones - because you have borrowed so many words from my ghastly Viking forefathers.

Cathy said...

I've never heard a dialect in England that I've not understood, but being permanently pissed may have helped with that.

Tony said...


Er, no. If you're in Coventry, you'll need to ask for a batch (a word that still occasionally confuses my wife!).