Still whining? Dialect Hunt Aims to Unearth Valuable English Language Archives | Tongue


Were you or were you having your tea, lunch or supper last night? Before that, did you feel clammish, clemmed, hungry, starved, wary, or just plain clempt?

Are you still flirting in Yorkshire? Are you in Somerset? Hocksing in Cambridgeshire? Are you in Durham? Pegging in Cheshire? Coating in Northamptonshire? Yarking in Leicestershire? Where do you throw now?

How to pronounce scone?

Researchers from the University of Leeds are interested in the answers to all these questions as they embark on a heritage project to help explore and preserve English dialects.

Details have been announced of how the university plans to use its valuable archive of English life and language which was collected by field workers at the University of Leeds in the 1950s and 1960s. results remain the most famous and comprehensive survey of dialects in England.

The university said it is making its extensive library of English dialects available to the public with the launch of The Great Dialect Hunt. He said researchers would be looking for “new phrases and expressions to bring the archive into the 21st century and preserve today’s language for future generations.”

A field worker talks to a North Yorkshire man for the initial survey. Photograph: University of Leeds

Fiona Douglas, from the university’s English department, which is leading the project, stressed that they were not trying to repeat the scale of the original survey, in which field workers went to interview people from over 65 in more than 300 mostly rural communities. . “It was very, very big and there were many, many questions,” she said.

The results, which include many photographs and audio, are a fabulously rich snapshot of how people in England lived and spoke.

If you want a regional map of what a cowhouse or freckles or fry pan remnants were called across England, they’re in the archives. In the case of scraps, there are 50 variations ranging from craps and cratchings to scratching and scratchings.

Yorkshire man describes ‘night of mischief’ in English Dialect Archive – audio

The Leeds researchers want to know if certain words are outdated. So do you give someone a piggyback or a pick-a-pack, a cuddycaddy, a callycode, a colliebucky or a backy?

If you are from East Angliawould you describe an unbalanced shelf as being “slightly on the huh”, and would you refer to more than two of something as a “couple of three”?

A interactive audio sound map of England allows people to hear how people spoke in different areas when the survey was collected. “The recordings are just phenomenal because it’s people talking about their lives and their experiences, so it’s a window into the past and you can hear those fantastic voices,” Douglas said.

People play wallops or ninepins
People play wallops or ninepins. Photograph: Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture

She said the new project could best be described as a “mini-investigation” and, importantly, was not limited to older voices. “We would like everyone complete our survey. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or how long you’ve lived there, or whether you think you have a dialect or not.

The website will allow people to add their own voices and words to the archive. The university partners with five museums across England where people can physically go to add dialects.

The project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fundwho donated £530,500 to digitize notebooks, photographs, word cards and audio recordings from the original fieldwork.

“We’d like to share what we have, but we’re also interested in the dialects that people have now because they’re not something that’s preserved in aspic,” Douglas said. “It’s not just something of the past.”

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The death of dialects has been predicted since the 18th century, but Douglas said they were still here, thriving and evolving.

Hearing someone with a loud twang was always a thrill, she says. “It transports you. There’s something absolutely visceral about it that makes you think, oh wow, I’m home, or these people are like me.

“A lot of it is about that sense of connection, a sense of belonging, a sense of groundedness, and even in our 24/7 digital-infested global world, I think that really matters.”


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