Saturday, September 24, 2011


Do you know what a Geordie is? It is a person who hails from Newcastle upon Tyne in England. Of Geordies, I have known a few. In fact I have spent my last 32 years with one.

The Geordie accent is quite distinctive. Broad accented Geordie is dying as many British accents become homogenised shadows of their former selves. For this we should be grateful, as we can actually understand the non broad accents. To the novice, Geordie sounds like a Scottish accent, but I can tell the difference and I am not great at accents.

I don't have an accent of course, but everyone else seems to. I can't even put on an accent. An English person may pick up that R has a couple of vowel sounds that are English, but really, he sounds very Australian. We are to meet a blog mate in a week or so. I will ask him in retrospect and if he has read this, his ear will be tuned in on the occasion.

But the funny thing to me is as soon as R talks on the phone, or latterly Skype, to his relatives back in Geordie Land, his accent is straight back to Geordie, although to them, he probably sounds quite Australian. It puzzles me as to how you can switch an accent off or on.

Perhaps I am not so objective. Do other people who know or have met R think he has an English accent?


  1. Don't have much trouble accents, only the Irish accent baffles me :-).

  2. '...his ear will be tuned in on the occasion...'

    I'm glad you wrote 'ear' singular. I am totally deaf in my right ear.

  3. In Australia it seems we have differences in vocabulary between the states, but no differences in accents. Yet in Britain, people can tell what county a person was born and raised in, depending solely on accent.

    Joe and I lived in Britain for a few years, and have gone back to visit every second year since then. I can certainly tell a West accent from a Yorkshire, Geordie, Essex or East Ender accent, but cannot differentiate between Cornwall, Devon, Somerset or Dorset.

    Our favourite game is watching British television (eg Lewis, Silent Witness) and yelling out loud with the correct accent of this actor or that one.

  4. Anonymous2:42 pm

    The accent of The R is the bees knees.
    The fabulous Jimmy Nail of Auf Weidersen Pet (the greatest TV script of all time) is a Geordie ... and Hels? the LEWIS guy was in Auf Weidersen Pet as well (he's Welsh).
    Pam Ayres and Dorset is my favourite pommy accent but I cannot bear to listen to PeterCundall's (the garden show guy), and the worst accent is the clench-jawed Sloane recently encountered on the No 8 tram by me and Miz Pants.
    X X X Worn Out

  5. Heavens above. Kevin Whately aka Lewis is from Northumberland. He's a Geordie and proud of it.

  6. See, now I thought a Geordie was a Scotsman, fooled by the accent I suppose.
    All accents baffle me, I simply can't tell where a person is from just by listening to them. I do however, have trouble understanding people who speak with accents, partly because my hearing isn't quite what it should be, but also because to their ears, they're saying what they think is correct English, while to my ears, they're saying a completely different thing. At the checkout, I've found that hand signals help out in this situation.

  7. Anonymous9:54 pm

    R doesn't sound Aussie to me. He doesn't have a strong accent but I can hear that he wasn't Aussie born. V.

  8. Begorrah Windsmoke. It does everyone I think.

    I'll make sure he sits on the correct side of you Victor.

    Hels, when watching such shows, I just ask R, but he rarely knows either.

    Ann, Jimmy Nail is great. Now I thought Lewis was Welch too. Did he play a Welsh character in Auf Pet?

    River, I think anyone who deals with the general public has the same difficulties. I know I do.

    V, you are the first who has said that, but then you are almost a linguist.

  9. I noticed R's accent but I have a number of friends from UK who slip back into their regional accents when chatting with their families lol.

  10. I love the Geordie accent, it's one of my faves.
    I revert back to some weird hybrid accent when I speak to my UK mates, it's baffling.

  11. Interesting Jayne. I am clearly oblivious to it.

    Modern Geordie is fun Fen, but old Geordie was incomprehensible.

  12. Haha! I worked with a 'part time' Geordie - you could always tell when he was talking to his father on the phone... My Irish friend readily admits to her accent getting broader whenever she speaks with another Irish person - almost as if they're trying to outdo each other (her words)!!

    For some, there was a stigma in having a 'foreign' accent when they came to OZ - so they learned to speak as people wanted or expected which included switching the accent back on so those with the same one could more readily understand them.

  13. Red, R says he dropped his accent when he came to Australia, as no one could understand him. How do you drop an accent?