On the 16th February 2019 I visited the library in South Shields (exciting stuff I know). Though I wasn’t searching for a book, I was searching for words. If you haven’t visited the North East of England you may not know that there are several different versions and dialects of English; the most popular being scouse (Liverpool) and Geordie (Newcastle upon Tyne). Surprisingly, not everyone in the North East sounds like they’ve been in Byker Grove or Auf Wiedersehen Pet. I often struggle to understand the local humans so my photographer thought it would be a good idea to take me to learn some of the lingo with wrinkly human.
‘thronged with men talking an unintelligible language known, I was informed, as Pitmatic’.The Times, 21st August 1885
Each town or city north of Yorkshire has its own version of English, I live with 3 humans who all speak in a different way. There is one makem, one geordie and one from a pit village. I always find it funny my photographer gets taken as Scandinavian but apparently lots of words are derived from the Viking and Norse invasions from years ago.
When we arrived at the Word’s list dialect exhibition, I was shocked at all of the words I had never heard before. I like how they were on the wall with common sayings in the middle. I couldn’t wait to read them all and the wall did say “Shy bairns get nowt” (English translation: shy children will get nothing) so off I went. 2400 words and phrases have been donated to the exhibition to try and stop the older dialects from dying out. I’m happy to report that I tried to read them all (and pronounced most of them wrong). It’s sad but now the mining villages have gone and the younger generations are moving to new places, some of the dialects are becoming a distant memory.
As usual for February it was “Plooting doon” (English: raining) and “Eeh its fit to cut the lugs off ya” (English: cold and very windy), I was pleased to spend some time talking to the older generation who had fond memories of these words. I’m glad my photographer was there to help me understand what everyone was saying. I’m pleased to say I also learned some new words so I can tell when my photographer is angry or complaining about the weather.
I also chose to colour in a piece of paper so I could take one of the words with me. Of course I chose something which would catch my photographer’s attention when needed.
Another which I know will embarrass my photographer when we are in a public place and I am bored.
Hours of fun were had learning a few new things. Then I found the iPads on the way out, I was able to draw a picture, or a dinosaur of course, for future visitors to see. Maybe I should become an artist whilst I wait to go on my next adventure.
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