Wednesday, December 15, 2010


When I arrived in Spain with my BBC language course safely installed in my brain I was horrified to find that the staff in my local shop seemed to be speaking a different tongue altogether.

My first thought was the BBC had palmed me off with Mexican Spanish but of course they hadn’t it was good Castilian. The problem was I was in Andalucía where they slash the ends of their words – you can add to the confusion the numerous village accents and slang.

So the news that a 37-year-old man who was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and now lives in London has landed a job as a Geordie dialect translator did bring a smile to my face.

Geordie is the patois spoken in England’s North East and as baffling as Andaluz to anybody from outside those regions. King’s College graduate Paul Davy will now decipher Geordie for clients of a London translation company.

By coincidence on the same day as I heard about our Geordie Boy (Alan Price – Jarrow Song - 1974) there was a letter in the Daily Telegraph about a range of Christmas Cards for the Essex town of Colchester with the greeting in Welsh! They were not selling very well!

Today the lingua franca in Essex is Estuary English although if you delve in to the small rural villages you will find accents and phrases that would be a foreign tongue to Dagenham man and woman.

As we say in Newcastle: Ye knaa what ah mean leik.

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