Friends of Norfolk Dialect (FOND) is a
group formed to conserve Norfolk's linguistic heritage. Listen
to members speaking in dialect:
why FOND chairman Keith Skipper finds his dwile so handy and
why he is such a firm defender of his roots (Real 2'14")
to young enthusiast Oliver Rideout recite verse in dialect
learned from his grandfather (Real, 45")
not having those posh people telling us what to say"
farmer Keith Loades translates from the dialect (Real,
The Friends of Norfolk Dialect have a website
with more information and contacts. www.norfolkdialect.com
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites
All audio content is Real 56K. Use the BBC
Webwise guide to downloading RealPlayer.
BBC NORFOLK WEBSITE
I would like to respond to the remarks made
by Tracy from Kettering. I, like her, was brought up in Norfolk.
I have sometimes been tempted to move away and try somewhere
else, but when push comes to shove, I know I can't do it.
I love Norfolk and I am very proud to be
a Norfolk native. I find it very offensive that some people
might find the Norfolk accent 'slow'. Perhaps the sound is
slow, but the mentality of Norfolk people certainly isn't.
Perhaps we do enjoy a slower way of life
than in some parts of the country, but if Norfolk was so 'looked
down on' can any of these people who run Norfolk down please
explain to me why so many rich and famous people now move
to our area?
We are very lucky to have many television
personalities living in Norfolk now. I am very proud of my
accent, and I know I will never lose it - and I never want
to. That's all for now, my beauties.
The Norfolk accent is one of the gentlest
and loveliest in the country-and I have heard many.
The only one which comes close to it is genuine
Northumbrian (and I do NOT mean Geordie!).
Be proud of your accent and your dialect;
just because the world tries to homogenise us all into one
bland mass dunt mean we hatta goo along with ut. Incidentally,
"bor" is a corruption of "boss", not "boy" and was originally
a token of respect, like "gaffer".
MIKE CLARKE, BIDEFORD, NORTH
I lived in 'Naarfuk' for 20 years, and now
that I have moved away I still have my accent.
I feel that I must express how much I disagree
with Mark from King's Lynn who says that it doesn't help you
when you move away.
I have in fact found the exact opposite,
even when meeting complete strangers at work, as soon as they
hear me speak, they ask 'Which part of Norfolk are you from
I have met a number of people who really
like listening to the accent as it sounds warm and friendly.
Occasionally I have days where its not as
noticeable, but in particular when I visit my parents who
still live in Wells, it all comes flooding back!
I have two things to point out to Donna.
Firstly that after your parents moved you to Norfolk 25 years
ago, surely if you are that unhappy with it now you're actually
old enough to move away if you so wish, and secondly I think
you're talking a load of ol' squit!
Long live the Norfolk accent!!
I find that the dialect is noticed less
in Norwich. Most people have a more neutral accents - probably
due to the university and people staying on (like myself).
I used to work in the countryside of Norfolk, but now live
and work in the city, and the difference is huge.
Are all the Norwichers being taken over by
the rest of the UK as it is so nice here? The accent itself
I find extreme (like all corners of england, myself coming
from the home counties), but I have nothing against it. As
long as I don't start speaking it I don't mind.
My accent is more towards the London way
of speaking, which I love. Each to their own I say. I would
expect that accents would become merged over the years as
more people move around.
Asking people in this region whether the
accent/dialect is one which makes them sound simple or inbred
is a bit like expecting turkeys to vote positively for Christmas!
It is not a wonder that locals like the accent - what choice
did they have? The idea that accents are a way to segregate
and differentiate groups is hardly new, but it is a strange
desire to want to ensure that people from other areas or countries
do not understand what you are saying.
Why bother saying anything at all if the intention is to slur
and drawl your words in such a way as to ensure incomprehension?
Bring back R.P. and proper elecution lessons as part of the
Perhaps that would improve most people's ability to spell
correctly - the low standards for which in this county continue
to astound me - just walk through the city centre and have
a laugh at the yokels' attempts at spelling - you will be
amused and appalled at the same time - unless you are regionally
proud, in which case you may not notice.
Hello, I was born and raised in Wereham,
Norfolk and having lived in United States of America, and
now living in Australia I still retain my Norfolk accent.
People are very drawn to it and it has helped
me to find new friends in all parts of the world, and at times
I have heard the same accent on planes and discovered a Norfolk
"broad" abroad. I am certainly looking forward to seeing "home
girl" Pam (Ayers) on March 6th in Newcastle, N.S.W. Australia.
Cor... I'll talk proper ....you little ole
mathers.....are yu aw right...
PAULINE PETTITT, CESSNOCK,
To awl yew furriners - Tony and Donna in
I don't really think you can complain at
the Norfolk accent, as there are plenty of other accents just
as offensive as ours.
Londoners just sound common, and Yorkshire
accents are just brash and nasty.
Perhaps if narrow minded idiots such as
yourselves didn't stereotype the Norfolk folk the way we speak
wouldn't sound as bad to you.
Maybe if you hate it so much Donna moving
away from Norfolk may be the best idea for you.
The accent is not an embarrassment and why
should it bother you so, as you don't even come from the area.
The whole point of an accent is that it is a particular spoken
variation of the English language.
I don't think that many Norfolk people write
the way that they speak and not many individuals speak exactly
how they write!
There is not a difference between Norwich
and Norfolk accents at all, only that some people have stronger
dialects than others.
Stand up for regionalism not globalisation!
Who wants to talk the same way as everyone
Keep the charming Norfolk spirit alive!
DAVID HAYLETT, EAST ANGLIA
I moved away from Norfolk a few years ago
having been brought up there (proper Norfolk dumpling!). I
have to say that I think the Norfolk dialect is one of the
nicest ones in the English Language.
It is soft and friendly, not coarse like
Glaswegian, irritating like Birmingham, or harsh like Sussex.
There is such a huge stigma attached to those blessed souls
fortunate enough to have a strong Norfolk accent and I find
The accent for me has such positive connotations
- I was brought up on the North Norfolk coast where everything
had an almost Spanish way of life - although instead of 'Manana,
manana', it was always 'At's comin in Tooooosdy'. Fantastic.
Instead of seeing the connotations of the
dialect (inferior intellect etc.) I really believe it's something
that should be celebrated. Yes, it's a simple language for
a simple way of life but where else in the country can you
feel so welcomed, so comfortable, so part of a community?
Celebrate the dumplings! Embrace the dialect!
Although I do not live in Norfolk I do spend
several weeks per year there, and the Norfolk accent is part
of the place.
You need to preserve it for future generations.
The accent brings back memories of 'A' level chemistry lessons
from an ex-Norfolk man.
I want to say a big thank you to Tom from
London for his piece. Saying the words out loud I realised
I was speaking 'proper' Norfolk and sounded like friends I
grew up with, that and laughing my socks off, excellent.
I lived in Norfolk from the age of seven.
Many things baffled me such as fill-um for film, ruf for roof,
rud for road amongst others.
I left about 6 years ago and didn't think
I had an accent until I moved away. I can't say I like it
and outside of Norfolk it does sound a bit slow but I think
many accents out of the area in which they originate sound
I am now living in Essex and used to wince
at some of the accents and pronounciations, but unfortunately
I have picked some of them up. Again I don't think I have
an accent until I talk to friends from different parts of
the country and they take the mick out of my 'cockney'.
I don't see Norfolk dialect dying out and
neither should it. I do have a soft spot for it as it reminds
me of my childhood.
Liss nen turt - being attentive
He wur roight lurkin - do you think he fancies me?
sair-iously - really!
Naaridge - the city
Spro stun - Just oustside of Naaridge
Gorn tu Tescoos - off to get some groceries
Can yer durt? - need any help?
she's bootiful - easy on the eye
E's a rum 'un - funny fella
Read Tom's message
I attended the Blyth Grammar back in the
60's and felt that my mate and I were the only ones with a
Norfolk accent. I approached the Drama teacher and asked about
Thank God her reply was "I'll help you to
speak grammatically correct but if you just want to lose your
accent I won't help."
After 21 years here in Oz my daughter and
son-in-law still laugh at my pronunciation of beer, road,
and roofs to name but a few. I also get "the look" when I
say both Darby and Derby when mentioning the town in the north
of Western Australia, as I just can't remember which pronunciation
is the Oz one when I'm talking. By the way they call it Derby!
KRISTEEN SIMPKIN, PERTH,
I'm a regular visitor to Norwich and occasionally
to the rest of East Anglia. Trying to understand a local Norfolk
person is like trying to comprehend what a hair-lipped geezer
is saying while eating a steak and kidney pie at Carrow Road.
Possessing a Norfolk accent is like having
a death sentence, so all you who say "ooh arr" best do something
to radically change your dialect!!
TONY HANDBOTTOM, LEEDS
IT WASNT MY CHOICE TO MOVE HERE IT WAS MY
PARENTS WHEN I WAS A CHILD!! THE ACCENT IS AN EMBARRASSMENT
AND IT IS NOT PROPER ENGLISH. AND THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
A NORWICH ACCENT AND A COUNTRY BUMPKIN NORFOLK ONE I KNOW!!
THEY ARE BOTH A COMPLETE TURN OFF!!
We moved to Norfolk 9 years ago having lived
for many years in London. Amongst our favourite bits of the
local dialect are "I'm now cummin", "He frit me" and "She
tret him badly".
However, it's the accent more than the vocabulary
that has been the most interesting. Amongst our favourites
are: "Hay ya got a pencil?", "Moozic" and "Cubbert" (cupboard).
Best of all, though, was in our first few
weeks here when I was told that there had been a "coup" outside
the building. Rather than armed militia storming the building
it turned out just to be an orderly line of people!
I've only been living in norfolk
for 5 years, and during this time I have had to learn to interpret
the accent and dialect of norfolk. Not only this, i have started
to pick up the accent and dialect as well! I have picked up
the word 'ooge' instead of huge, the word 'thas' instead of
that and 'jus' instead of just. I think that the dialect is
an important part of Norfolk's history and we should keep
it, and treasure it. Anyway, it's great fun to confuse people
from Surrey and London with names like Wymondham!
I was born in Norfolk and lived there for
23 years oblivious to my own accent. It wasn't until I moved
away from the area to a more prosperous job and affluent area
that I became aware of how thick and backward I sounded. The
Norfolk dialect is fine when kept in Norfolk... but outside
of there, it doesn't do anybody any favours. When people speak
to me about the Norfolk accent, there are three words that
seem to keep popping up. "Thick", "Slow" & "Inbred". Needless
to say I'm trying to lose my accent.
Much of the decline in 'Broad Norfolk' is
attributable to TV & radio. Even local radio presenters are
regularly recruited from outside the area.
They should be given careful grounding of
the area before they are let loose on the populace. They could
at least be made to use the correct local pronunciation of
The 'l' in Colney is silent, Heigham Road
is pronounced Hey-am to rhyme with sleigh NOT High, Cley is
Cly, Stiffkey is Stookie etc.
Unfortunately simply cracking Happisburgh
and Wymondham does not make a good local presenter. We need
whatever help we can to keep our dialect alive.
It's a shame that you think that way Donna.
If it annoyed you so much maybe you should have thought twice
about moving to Norwich.
Also, it's a Norfolk accent not just Norwich
as you seem to believe.
Hi, I'm originally from Norfolk and I'm glad
to see someone is preserving the dialect, which my parents
spoke and to some extent my brother (living in Norfolk) still
It's an accent you never quite recover from!
You can always tell Norfolk people, even if they are now BBC
announcers and many years from home - ask them to say "going
up the road" or "roofs" or "that's all right" and you'll hear
a trace of "goin up tha rowd" and "rufs" and "thass aww roight".
I think Norfolk people must have emigrated
in droves to the States and Canada, because you invariably
hear the word "rufs" for "rooves" in American interviews.
I remember once looking for raincoats in a shop - a not very
upper class one at that - but when I asked innocently, "is
it waterpruf" she looked down her long nose and said icily
"Do you mean, is it waterPROOF?"
I still find it difficult even after all
these years (some 50+) to pronounce the difference between
hair and hear, and slightly shudder if I know I have to say
"did you hear about her hair there?" because I need to think
before I say it.
The Norfolk tendency would be to flatten
the ea into ee and say "did you heer about her heer theer?"
And even today I have to remind myself to pronounce the "t"
in the phrase "at home". I was entirely aware that I was dropping
the t and saying "thass ut home" where the "ut" is more of
an uh than anything. Only when the son of a friend mimicked
me did I realise what I was saying and now I make a conscious
effort with most people to say it the way they expect, although
it's sad to be ashamed of one's heritage.
As to sayings, you probably have more than
enough, but my mother would come out with "don't pingle" when
as a child I toyed with my food and when in later life I asked
a mother, with a young child who didn't seem to eat well "Is
she pingly?" they looked at me blankly.
Of course, the famous phrase, often employed
by my father, "Thass a lot o squit" must be well known to
you by now, but he was actually a Cockney and learned to speak
Naarfok later in life.
Thanks again for your defence of something
that should be treasured.
Learn to speak the local
lingo and make communication issues a thing of the past!
Narridge Yoonyun = major Norfolk employer.
Thang kyer = spoken at high speed, used by Norfolk shop assistants
when accepting money.
How're yer gettin arn buh = Norfolk greeting.
Rup buh = variation on the above.
Hair = here.
Shicagooo's = nightspot on Prince of Wales Road. See
Bare = sold by the pint in Shicagooo's.
Is that roight? = comment to show attention being paid to
speaker. Ass a jouk = i'm just kidding.
Khazi = suburb on the western outskirts of Narridge (not Bowthorpe).
Tross = pronounced like gross only beginning with a 'T' ,suburb
in the southside of 'Narridge'.
Windam = small town south of 'Narridge' (sensible abbreviation
of its proper name = Wymundimundimundum).
Loose-tarfed = east coast fishing port.
Card = traditionally eaten battered, with chips, might well
have been caught off 'Loose-tarfed'.
Koodee = discount shop on St Stephens Street.
Hum base = DIY shop (various sites).
Fooze = electrical component on sale at 'hum base'.
Fool = petrol or diesel.
Gatoo = sticky chocolate cake.
Foo too = get these developed at local photo outlets.
Sproight = fizzy lemon drink.
Boost = to brag.
Jargon = like running, but a little slower.
Ha' y ever bin out wi y Mawther a ridin on
a Dickey, an sin a Hanser, a settin on a Mawkin, watchin a
Bishy barnabee ride by on a Dodderman, while a Halcyon fly
by wi' a Dwile in uts beak ?
PETER CALLAN, NORWICH
I recon that the Norfolk dialect is a nice
way of keeping the history of Norfolk alive.
Thas a pity you dont hear it much any more,
but thas nice when you do. Our postman have a right Norfolk
accent and I do like to chat to him sometimes.
When I was in the tiny primary school that
is in my village they used to not teach us any a that French
she used to teach us all Norfolk words. The teacher who would
do that had a Norfolk acent herself, and she liked it when
we used what she had tought us.
I think the Norwich accent is the worst one
in the UK. Every one sounds thick and talks so slow. I was
born in London and have parents from yorks but have lived
here for 25 years. Unfortunately I have picked up a bit of
the Norfolk dialect, and trying seriously to loose it!
I am setting up small business/shop in West
Runton, Norfolk. I want to encourage local Norfolk crafts
and art. I would like to promote the Norfolk dialect as part
of project. I would welcome some advice as to correct useage
and also would like to give shop a dialect name.
Ideas very, very welcome. With thanks
My Dad came from Walcot Green, near Diss,
and I got used to what he had left of the Norfolk dialect.
When I went into the Royal Navy I got into trouble with "lootenant",
"dooty" and "booty". I get all nostalgic when I go to the
Temple and hear an Essex chap [obviously influenced by the
East Anglian diction] say things like "it do harpen". I love
going 'home' to Norfolk and hearing the locals speaking. Please
keep it alive and let us less fortunate folk enjoy the warmth
of speech among the REAL English people. I am a descendent
of Murtons, farmers, Peakes, blacksmiths and Hubbards, farmers
and cornchandlers, with a smattering of Coles, Boyces, Selfs,
I work in a theatre in Ealing, London and
we are trying to find a recording of a Norfolk accent. Would
anybody be prepared to send us a tape/CD with a genuine! Norfolk
S MILTON, EALING
I from spain. I find information about norfolk
dialect, because I must do a study about norfolk dialect.
I need information about every word, phrase and description.
Soy de España. Estoy buscando informacion
sobre el dialecto de norfolk. Debo de hacer un estudio de
dicho dialecto, donde debo explicar cada letra o palabra y
poner como es en el ingles tradicional y como es en el ingles
de norfolk, ademas de la descripcion de cada una. Email:
JOSE LUIS, SPAIN
i would like to add my bit of squit im
a good old norridge boy lived here for 55 bladder years
my granfar told me this ole saying hay ya far got a dicky
bor answer yes an he can bladder ride it as well cheerio
does anyone know what "botsy" means in Old
JEANNETTE, BURGH ST MARGARET
I am very glad
that I have found this sight, the articles on the Norfolk
Dialect bring back a lot of fond memories and I love reading
about the past.
Could anyone help me about a new book that's been printed
recently about the Blitz? I have a very old book with pictures
of all the bombed out buildings and would like to have a newer
SANDRA NORNHOLD, CAMPBELLTOWN,
I was born in Norwich and
lived in Mulbarton til I was eleven and your site was wonderful
to read as my father had a particular love for the colour
of the local dialects.
One of my fondest memories is of my grandmother reading 'the
Dereham and Fakenham Times'. There was a column written in
broad Norfolk and she could read it with style. My father
would sit and laugh until he cried! One expression that no-one
mentioned is to "stand up outer the rain" which
always fascinated me as a child. Thanks for the memories and
a good laugh
It is very difficult to see
a future for Norfolk dialect, or any regional dialect in a
world which is becoming more global by the day.
Modern education systems discourage the use of colloquial
or slang terms - just look at the poor students who were marked
down for using the language of text messages in the GCSE English
exams. While it is a language with which they were familiar
it does not conform to the standard so therefore it is wrong.
Norfolk dialect words are fast disappearing. Today's children
do not know what a 'harnser' is, or what might be referred
to as a 'dodman'. These words are becoming quickly obsolete.
As communication becomes more and more global, with technologies
such as e-mail and text messaging becoming more commonplace,
we all need to converse in a universally recognised language.
As a scientist it is heartening to know that the language
of the international scientific community is English. However,
if I was to speak to a scientist in another country about
the population dynamics of the bishy-barney-bee I would probably
be met with a puzzled look.
It is clear that whilst communication on a local level will
still be conducted with a local accent - the dialect will
soon disappear - that is unless the 'furriners' adopt our
words as their universal language - highly unlikely - or is
I was born in Norwich in
"filthy dirty lane" (Philadelphia Lane) I now live
in Peterborough and people are always commenting on the way
I speak, they like to hear me say "a hard day's troshing
in Swaffham far nothing" - that's something I've tried
to spell it the way it's said (not very successfully!).
I work mostly in the London
area travelling to and from Norfolk every day. Without no
word of a lie unless I talk slowly no-one understands a word
The number of people I have come up to me in the course of
a week and say "Where are you actually from?" is no one's
guess. `Norfolk` is not just a dialect it is a Way Of Life.
When I am standing in the middle of London it's a great feeling
to be able to take Norfolk with you and say to yourself, "Blarst
Me, oi watta be gittin on hum soon!"
What is the Norfolk definition
How to keep fit in a tracksuit:
"Here gorn Jargon".
I lived in Gorleston-on-Sea
when I was first married, back in the 50s. Coming from the
Midlands I first of all found Norfolk very flat, and used
to laugh at their idea of a hill - just a little slope. But
I got to love the place, and have never forgotten the accent.
I had a neighbour who always greeted me with "Hello my lil'
ole mawther. 'Ow you now go'en? Come you in, and set you down...."
and so forth. So friendly, and funny. It always irritates
me to hear plays on television or radio which are set in Norfolk,
and they have the locals speaking with a kind of West Country
hybrid accent. Don't they ever listen to the real thing?
HEAD, ROMSEY, HANTS
Can anyone tell me the meaning
of the term 'reed and jot'? I saw it on a butcher's stall
at Yarmouth market and some people were putting it in with
their bag of chips. It was sliced and ready cooked. The only
two meanings I've had so far are 'tripe' and 'boar's genitals'!
I am born and bred in Norfolk
- mum from Norwich , dad from Downham - so have a mixture
of Norwich and Norfolk accents - very broad so I am told.
I would not want to lose that, as it gives me identity and
pride, my children are having the accent taught out of them
at school and I think that is wrong. They laughed when I said
Bishy-barney-bee - they are Norfolk too , but will lose their
accents. At work I am laughed at for being broad, but I don't
care. We should preserve the accent, it is unique - Norfolk
people dew diffrunt lets continue to do that for years to
I was born in Norwich and
spent a lot of my boyhood days around the Trowse area. My
grandfather was a farmer and possessed the most wonderful
The one thing he used to say to us that was my favourite was
" git yar gorn darn thet thar rood bor and dur thet thar bit
a troshing, "harvesting". Another word us kids used to use
was "chorren" or "chorring". We used to say
"let's go and chorr some apples", so I presume the word
means to steal.
S. DAY, WIAROA, NEW ZEALAND
A friend here in the states
gave me this web page. I used to live in Norfolk, Gooderstone
to be exact. Thank you, I have down loaded the Norfolk dialect.
Been here in the States for 34 years. It's so nice to hear
the old way we used to talk. Memories, memories. Thanks again.
I was born, brought up in
and still live in Norfolk for roughly half of every year.
It was not until I left to go to university that I realised
that I had a Norfolk accent and that I did things that were
traditionally only carried out in Norfolk! I often get the
mickey taken for the way I talk but it the way I speak is
normal to me. Does anyone else get stereotyped as being a
farmer? The Jack Valentine episode always took place in my
house, when I was younger and until now I thought that everyone
did it! Does anyone else say that something is on the 'huh'?
(Meaning that something isn't straight or that it is wonky.)
I can also often be heard saying other words such as 'luggy'(
deaf) and 'bor'( 'boy'-as an affectionate term). My Mum, who
was herself born in Norfolk, always used to tell me not to
'pingle' (play) with my food when I was little! Even though
I have been told that ny accent is quite distinct, I think
that older people have the strongest accents. Brilliant to
Speaking with a Canadian
friend I said one of my grandchildren came home blahring -
right out of nowhere came part of the dialect I've not used
for years as I've only been away in Canada 46 years! All of
a sudden I am greeting the grandaughter with "Hello my
woman". It seems the older I get the more Norfolk I have become,
and it will never leave me - and thank God for that. Just
don't lose those delightful turn of phrases, we ex-pats can't
do without them.