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Dialects of Northumberland and the Borders, United Kingdom

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Apart from standard English, Northumbria has a series of closely related but distinctive dialects, descended from the early Germanic languages of the Angles and Vikings, and of the Celtic Romano-British tribes. Early Northumbrian is regarded as the forerunner of the Scots Language, which was called Ynglis as late as the early 16th century. (Until the end of the 15th century the name Scots (or Scottis) referred to the Gaelic of Ireland and Scotland). There are many similarities between modern Scots (Ynglis) dialects and those of Northumbria.

Three major Northumbrian dialects are Geordie, Mackem and Pitmatic. To an outsider's ear the similarities far outweigh the differences between the dialects. There is a good explanation of the Geordie dialect in the relevant Wikipedia entry. As an example of the difference in the softer County Durham/Wearside the English 'book' is pronounced 'bewk', in Geordie it becomes 'buuk' while in the Northumbrian it is 'byuk'.

Due to the roots of the Northumbrian (Geordie) dialect, it is often said that visitors from Scandinavian countries often find it much easier to understand the English of Northumbria than the rest of the country.


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