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
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 it?
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!).
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 I say.
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
is the Norfolk definition of "Jargon"?
to keep fit in a tracksuit: "Here gorn Jargon".
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
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'!
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 come.
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 Norfolk dialect.
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
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.
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 listen to!
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.
this remind you of home?
by Bruther Will
catch yare eye as yew go in
Large red letters "No Smokin",
Seems them fags got a lot o'tar in em.
Clog yare lungs, make a lot o'flem.
So oi sits down to wait me tarn,
Several others are in there as well,
You'ed think the way they look at yuh,
I'd cum tew dew 'em some harm.
They sits there wi' faces orl strait an glum, Daresay sum on'em
are ill, else they woull'nt cum, Them ole gals in the corner, torkin
in low tones About operations, an'harnias, an'broken bones.
Ole Garg hobble in wi'his sticks
Wi'owt him thuh sargery's incomplete
Bin cummin'here now this larst twenty year
'Yuh see doctor, it's me poor ole feet'.
How menny toimes hev he said it
Thuh poor doctor must know it by heart
But he'll greet im wi'a cheery word
An'say "Well Garg, yew haint fell apart".
Oi on'y cum for a prescription
Thass reddy now, so Oi'll go
Leavin sum on 'em torkin about their ills
An'others clutchin' them littl' boxeso' pills.
ISABEL COLGATE, BEDFORD, BEDS
isn't dialect but - has anybody got any traditional Norfolk recipes?
I enjoy collecting recipes, and am particularly interested in a
recipe for Norfolk eggs - a potato and cheese version of a Scotch
BLOOMFIELD, ATTLEBOROUGH, NORFOLK
anybody still remember or use 'Do you don't do that!' or 'The sun's
you tell me what a "ranny" is? Is it a small mouse or shrew?
I'm from Norfolk originally and was brought up there. My mother
used to use the word "spluttergut". This can be used either as a
noun ("Don't be such a spluttergut") or a verb ("You don't want
to go spluttergutting into that"). The word is used to refer to
one who rushes into something without first considering all the
implications. I have only ever heard this word used in Norfolk as
other Norfolk people use it but outside the county it seems to carry
no meaning whatsoever.
clip around the lug was orlroight, but oil giv yew whahfor was sumthing
yew jest new wus goin ter git it when yew got ome. Enough already!
word which comes to mind is jiffling - will yew stop yar jifflin
or pingling. Now that's a lovely word used frequently when my children
TYRRELL, TRENTON, ONTARIO, CANADA
Favourite Norfolk expressions...
"I'll get wrong!": translation - I'll get told off.
"My booty": My beauty.
"I'll do it presently": it'll get done soon. (Normally,in
Norfolk,it never happens!")
was born in Norfolk and spent most of my life there, so I guess
I have the dialect and obviously haven't lost it. I am now living
in the USA and I am often told how much they love my "pretty accent."
Even some Brits here can tell where I'm from. I also love to hear
it. It reminds me of my great grandparents and other family members.
I'm proud to be from Norfolk and I think everything should be done
to preserve part of our heritage.
on my last visit to Norfolk I managed to acquire a rather nasty
cough that kept the relatives and myself up just about all night,
finally my sister took me to the medical centre and she explained
to the nurse there I was really "ruckling" now perhaps that's just
a new Norfolk expression. Now how about "set ye here and mardle"
or the old expression "Oh Ar" even "thas a rummun in't it? I am
laughing over the Valentine's tradition also, Dad used to be the
Valentine, dashing madly from the back door and around to the front,
finally leaving the baby's pot as a gift for my mother.
a rum ol' doo, innit? Oi reckon tha' at least these wurds are goin'
ter dissappare soon: 'loke' (a lane) and 'pismire' (an ant). Of
cors, there's always thoose funny vowels that make 'pair', 'pear'
and Croomer 'Pier' all sound the same.
in Connecticut, there is a town called Norwich which the Yanks pronounce
"Knaw-witch". I think it's because if you explain that 'Norwich'
should rhyme with 'porridge' they just can't see how to make N-O-R-W-I-C-H
sound like 'oatmeal'!
it is not retained by a majority, it would be so disappointing.
I loved when visiting, to listen to the locals speak. Still I suppose
with a changing world and people moving districts, it might one
day die out, when all the oldies have gone. What a pity that would
agree that Norfolk Dialeks should be preserved.
grew up in the sixties and remember how scarey they were on Doctor
are part of our heritage and we should preserve them for our children
to see. Maybe they should be put in the Castle Museum.
refer to Sheila's comments about the word luggy. I said to my seven-year-old
daughter one day, after she kept saying "Pardon" to my
request " Are ya luggy?" Her reply was, "Ooh luggy, what's luggy?"
She found the expression quite amusing.
Norfolk dialect is fast disappearing round here - it sounds more
like the East End,especially at weekends.
would like to make my own contribution to the Norfolk dialect project.
More years ago than I care to admit, I was stationed at RAF Lakenheath,
and lived off-base in the small village of Northwold. I was talking
with my landlord one day when his gardener came up and started complaining
about all the "uhmtie-tumps" (please excuse the spelling) that were
cropping up. This gentleman was simply advised to let the barn cats
take care of the problem. My natural reaction was to ask, "What
in the world is an....?" I was informed that it was local language
for a mole hill, the "tump" being the actual hill. It is something
that has stuck with me for more than 30 years. The time I spent
in Norfolk remains near and dear to me. I have the licenCe plate
from my MG "B" roadster and a picture of the house where I lived
on the wall of my home. Dinners at The Bell hotel in Thetford (particularly
the Dover sole) remain tantalizing memories. I was introduced to
the glories of Irish coffee at a restaurant in King's Lynn well
before it became known, and bastardized, here. Good luck with your
project. I fear than much of American dialect is also rapidly disappearing.
The advent of the "global" thing is rendering a lot of our language
to the dust bin. There's more I could say on this matter and a
good small piece in this months National Geographic on the disappearance
of native language is proof of point. Once lost, never recovered.
TIMOTHY L. HUTCHINSON, URBANA, OHIO
left Norfolk at the age of 15 to join the Navy after which Dr Beeching
closed the railways down and my parents were forced to move as a
consequence. But I have never lost my Norfolk speech even though
I have only been back for a holiday ,or two. Anyone who meets me
and has heard the Norfolk dialect knows exactly where I am from.
Sadly,with all them foreigners about and TV I reckon you are fighting
a losing battle.
It is a pity, but it is happening everywhere - Wales, Scotland,
Cornwall to name a few,the French and the Germans even get their
knickers in a twist over the same problem. I went into a pub a
couple of years ago and the chap behind the bar did not know what
'a pint of two's' was - all very sad. I doubt that you will succeed
in your endeavours,but I hope you are recording as much as you can
course it is worth the money to preserve the dialect. As a frequent
visitor to Norfolk (tourist) I have found that it does not matter
whether you engage in a natter at the pubs in Cromer, Horsey or
on the Broads or for that matter when you go shopping, two things
hit you straight away. A warm friendly welcome coupled with that
unique dialect. The welcome and the dialect go hand in glove. Many
of the old characters around Norfolk have a lot to teach we youngsters
(Iam 60). I enjoy nothing more than to sit and listen and learn.
Thank you Norfolk.
am so glad there are folks keeping the Norfolk Dialect going - thank
goodness for the Lottery, it's done something good at last!! Our
heritage is so important to true Norfolk folks, we must keep it
going and also teach the youngsters to be proud of their tongue.
So a big thank you to Keith Skipper - keep ur a going bore. Chary-oh.
from chilly Australia. After moving to Perth in 1981 and taking
six months to get a job I was asked why I co'n't speak English.
I said, "I do - you waat me to tork Orstralian". I then pulled their
leg and said that surely they knew that when the Queen is at Sandringham
and the corgis are outside she yells "Ear dawgs, git innear." For
a few seconds they believed me! My daughter was told to say house
not ows. I went ballistic and said "She's seven years old, she'll
pick up the Australian dialect in her own good time. How she speaks
now is her heritage, you've no right to force her to change." She
is now 26 and as "Dinky-Di" as they come but when she gets together
with her great-aunt (who skips from American to German to Norfolk
in a blink of an eye) in America and her aunts and uncle in Norwich
and Ipswich she picks it up quite quickly. The funny thing is when
my husband and I were in Norfolk I was considered the "posher" speaker
and here my husband is supposed to have less of an accent - depends
on the ear I s'pose. When I was at the Blyth I asked the drama teacher
for elocution lessons and she refused saying "I'll help you
correct grammatical errors but not help you get rid of your accent".
I think we should try and get teachers of that calibre back into
the classroom. Yours
think that ALL dialects are worth preserving. It is such a shame
that whole languages are just disappearing and being wiped out.
Who speaks Manx Gaelic, Irish Gaelic? What about the old language
of Cornwall? My husband is Cajun. Only his older relatives - grandparents,
great aunts/uncles etc. speak Cajun French. This too is a fast-dying
language. I think dialects are wonderful. I love to hear different
accents and I think we should fight to keep them. They are part
of our heritage.
BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA, USA
is about time the English stood up for themselves. Do you see yourselves
as English and East Anglian? I sure hope so. I am originally from
Essex and am currently researching Saxon/Angle/jute early English
history. The English have a long history and it is actually making
me quite angry that I was not taught in school in England. Any comments
on that please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep fighting for your rights and all the best to you.
ANDERSON, WARSAW, INDIANA, USA