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The Language of North East England

Updated on February 6, 2017

The Language of North East England

Most people when asked about what is spoken in the North East of England will usually say Geordie and although that is true in part it is acctually only one of many similar yet different dialects that are used north of the Yorkshire border.

This will be an ongoing work with regular updates. I'd love to here from readers especially if they have any words to add or interesting stories based around the NE dialect. Has it ever got you into trouble?

The Different Dialects of North East England

Geordie

Spoken by the people of Newcastle

Mackem

Spoken by the people of Sunderland

Pitmatic

Spoken by the Durham Mining Community

Although it may seem that there is not much difference in the dialects to an outside observer, there are lots even within each of the main dialects. Lets look at Mackem as an example. In the North of Sunderland the word something is often pronounced summik and in the South of Sunderland is is often pronounced summat.

So lets take the word Something and look at it across the North East.

Geordie

Somewhat

Summat

Summick

Mackem

Summik

Summat

Pitmatic

Somat

Due to these pronunciation differences across the NE it is at times hard even for a Pit Yacker to understand a Geordie. Especially one with a full on broad Geordie accent. This is something most outsiders do not realize and it is that lack of knowledge that is one of the reasons why most of the NE people get classed as Geordie.

List of Words with there Northern Versions

English
Geordie
Mackem
Pitmatic
About
Aboot
 
A-boot
Again
Agyen
 
A-gyen
All
Aal
 
Aarl

Great reading if you are interested in the NE Dialects

The above book is one of two must have books on North East Dialect the other is not showing up on the Amazon site.

It is A Dictionary of North East Dialect by Bill Griffiths.

True Story of my Dad

My dad was born and bread in a NE Pit Village and so was 100% Pit Yacker. In his late teens/ early 20s he moved about 20 miles south to the Durham-Yorkshire Border. Although he taught me Pitmatic his accent and grasp of the dialect faded over time and there were points where he did not understand some of his own family.

I can remember him comming home one day after getting lost in the Byker area of Newcastle. He told me how he had stopped to ask for directions and could not understand the Geordie who tried to help. It was at this point that I learned that although the dialects are similar they are not the same and I became more interested in learning the differences and how to understand each version of the NE dialect.

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    • brutishspoon profile image
      Author

      Amy 2 years ago from Darlington, England

      I love Durham City. It is just 30 minutes drive from Darlington where I live. Infact on a quiet day it can take only 20 minutes.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      I could listen to Geordie all day but then I'm biased. It's a while since I've been up there but we might take a trip to Newcastle sometime soon, just to have a good look round and listen to the musical intonations on the air. Durham will be on the list for the same journey.

      Ann

    • brutishspoon profile image
      Author

      Amy 2 years ago from Darlington, England

      Thanks for the inspiration. The link is the least I could do. Its amazing how many different ways some words are pronounced in just a small area. I use Somat but a friend from Newcastle uses Summat Same with Geordie and Mackem supporters and the

      Howay or Haway the Lads call to arms that would have been reverberating around the Stadium of Light on Sunday.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Interesting! I'll have to try to remember more of my grandparents' sayings, dialect and pronunciation.

      Thanks for linking to my hub; much appreciated. (Will add this link to mine)

      Ann