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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 16:33 GMT
Verbal identity 'remains strong'
The north-east of England has retained more of its verbal identity than most of the rest of the country, according to an online archive.

Researchers say dialects and accents in Northumberland, Tyneside, Teesside and Wearside have remained relatively undiluted in the past 50 years.

Published by the British Library, the website features recordings from over 250 locations in rural England.

Excerpts from the North East feature heavily on the site.

Unique grammar and vocabulary has maintained a foothold in the region, whereas many other parts of England have seen a decline, says Jonnie Robinson, Curator of English Accents and Dialects at the British Library.

Many people still use dialect in the region, whereas in the rest of the country it is less widely used.
Jonnie Robinson

He said: "The North East is particularly distinctive in all aspects of dialect and accent.

"Many people still use dialect in the region, whereas in the rest of the country it is less widely used. Words such as 'gan', which means 'going', are still very prevalent on Tyneside."

Dialect refers to unique words which exist in different parts of the country, whereas accent is the way words are pronounced.

The relative proximity of Scotland, Tyneside, Teesside, Wearside and Yorkshire also means that certain North East accents bleed into each other, according to Mr Robinson.

He said: "There's an obvious Scottish influence on the Tyneside accent, in phrases like 'nee bother'. But in the same way, Tyneside pronunciations of words such as 'lucky' - with a silent 'c' and 'k' - can be heard on Teesside.

'Social aspirations'

"Also on Teesside, a Yorkshire influence is apparent in words like 'car', which have an elongated vowel sound."

Mr Robinson says there are noticeable changes in the North East's accents and dialects since the 1950s, but that the region will always be distinctive.

He said: "Accents and dialects have very much to do with upbringing, parentage, social aspirations and contact with other people.

"As more people stay in education longer, for example, they mingle with people from different regions and this can have an impact on the way they speak.

"That's not to say local accents and dialects are likely to die out. In 100 years you will still be able to hear the difference between people from Newcastle and people from Liverpool."

What makes you local?
18 Feb 05 |  Magazine

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