In 1714, George I was appointed king of England, Scotland and Wales despite James Stuart having strong claims to the throne. Many groups in the north-east supported Stuart and were known as the Jacobites. They launched an uprising in 1715 but the people of Newcastle took no part in this. Newcastle’s economy was dependent on trade and so its merchants and leaders could not risk losing royal approval. They continued to support King George I and gained the nickname “Geordie Whelps”.
What does Geordie sound like?
Us and we
Geordies often replace the word us with we. For example:
The man who caught we, just wouldn’t let we go.
It is also important to note that the vowel sound here is shortened so that we sounds like wuh.
Us and me
Another confusing aspect of Geordie translation is the use of us instead of me!
The teacher wasn’t very pleased with us on Monday.
This idiosyncratic use of us as the first-person singular can leave listeners wondering who else the speaker is referring to!
The pronunciation of P, K and T
When the letters p, k and t appear in the middle of words and are preceded by vowels, Geordies pronounce the consonants with a glottal stop made by constricting the throat. This is a uniquely Geordie sound and it is one which is hard for mimics to master.
Church and nurse
In Geordie, the vowel sound in the words church and nurse is pronounced as aw. Church then sounds like chawch. No wonder Alexa has issues with Geordie!
Inserting a V
When the word to is followed by a word that begins with a vowel, Geordies will insert a v sound. So, instead of saying “to us” they will say “tiv us”.
Footballer Paul Gascoigne is one of Newcastle’s most famous sons. Here’s a video of Newcastle united’s most famous folk song the “Bladon Races” with subtitles, see if you can sing along :
Geordie also features a few words that you won’t hear anywhere else. Here’s just a small sample of the words you will only hear in Newcastle:
Howay! (come on!)
Workyticket (you’re workyticket means you’re annoying)
Monkeys’ blood (red ice cream sauce)
Wiles of wannie (middle of nowhere)
Areet marra (alright mate)
Beclarted (very dirty)
Blather Skite (someone who talks nonsense)
Dunch (Bump into)
Had yer Pash (Calm down)
Gan Doon (To go to a place)
The last Geordie word
Geordie is a fascinating accent. It is highly distinctive and difficult for outsiders to mimic.
More importantly, it has retained many words and pronunciations that date back to the Anglo-Saxons and so it provides a glimpse of how people would have spoken centuries ago.
Geordie is in many ways the bridge between the earliest forms of English and the way the language is generally spoken today. Sadly, Language experts are predicting that in an increasingly connected world, accents will soften and become less obvious.
They may eventually disappear altogether.