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Geordie - Essay Example

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This paper traces the development of the ‘Geordie’ variety of English, from its Celtic forebears to the ‘enregistered and commodified’ dialect of the twenty-first century. ‘Geordie’ must be examined within the context of the dialect group known as the ‘General Northern English’ as defined by Wales…
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Download file to see previous pages The dialect originated from Celtic, the native tongue of the Brythons or Britains, who occupied the British Isles south of what is today Scotland. Although Roman occupation may have had some influence on this ancient language through the introduction of Latin into elite Celtic society, subsequent invasions by the Anglo-Saxons, tribes from the north of what is now Germany and from Denmark, have left little concrete evidence. A clearer picture emerges with regard to the invaders themselves who, despite having evaded Roman occupation, had had considerable contact with the empire, reflected in the linguistic development of their vernacular. Leith points to such words as cheese, which he traces back to the Latin caseus (Leith 1997, p. 15). With this quite considerable Latin component in their ‘undeveloped, oral vernacular’, they either killed, displaced or absorbed the Celtic population of Northern England, with little evidence that the Celtic language was absorbed together with the people (Leith 1997, p 17). When Latin eventually did feature more prominently in the Anglo-Saxon language, it was through writing, the preserve of elite scholars, brought via Christianity from Ireland. From this period come such words as Abbot, Choir, Mass, with clear religious origins (Leith 1997, p. 20). Parallel to this development, the Anglo-Saxon language ceased to be oral vernacular and became a written administrative function in support of the various small kingdoms that had begun to form. Among these, Northumberland was of some importance but the written language that developed here was distinctly different from those in other monarchies, to the extent that the difference impaired mutual comprehension and where these ‘dialects’ could be...
This report approves that many of the prominent features of Geordie have already been discussed in a more general context, and are common to a number of Northern dialects. Examples of more specifically Geordie features are a sing-song quality to their speech and rising intonation, followed by a sustained pitch, if the first rising syllable is not the final one. Geordie features a significant component of words that bear close resemblance to original Anglo-Saxon words, some of which have already been discussed. Other features of Geordie are less specific to the Tyneside area and form part of Northern dialects in general or at least some of them, giving the impression of a lively ongoing exchange and continual movement within and between dialects. Trudgill has examined this phenomenon and has predicted the continued existence of the Northeast area dialects, with Geordie set to spread to encompass a larger area that includes Newcastle and surroundings.
This paper has traced the historical, political and socio-economic influences that have shaped the modern dialect of Tyneside, highlighted some of the more salient points along the way and, above all, has attempted to portray the complex and overlapping nature of transmission of dialectic features. The picture that has emerged is one of general leveling of dialectic elements, brought about in the past by the standardization attempts to which all English dialects have been subjected. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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