The geordie accent is easy to understand


How does "real" English actually sound? It can't have been what you learn in school, can it? I had exactly this thought when I decided to do my semester abroad in Great Britain, more precisely in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Newcastle is in North East England, and there the so-called "Geordie Accent" is spoken according to "The Telegraph" "the most sexiest accent in the UK". Without knowing it beforehand, I hit the bull's eye with my choice of study location. But what actually makes the Geordies and their dialect so special?

Well, the answer to this question is not long in coming. Anyone who has ever been to North East England (by the way, this region is only 8,592 km2 and has less than 3 million inhabitants) will know what it means when the apparently simple dialogue with the barrista in the coffee shop suddenly turns into a linguistic adventure in a class of its own . When the “no” becomes “nee”, the “man” becomes “gadgie” and “good” becomes “canny”, then at some point this leads to communication difficulties. The perplexed face I made at the time must have shown the barrista that I didn't understand a word. But didn't do anything, I got my coffee anyway.

So far so good. So the Geordies are nice people who you don't always understand, but the Germans often do the same with us Austrians. But where does the term “Geordie” actually come from? There are several theories for this. One of them: It is simply derived from "George". This name was quite common in the former coal mining town of Newcastle. Another theory is that of the lamps for the miners. The lamps were called "geordie lamps", developed by George Stephenson. Well, today the Geordies mostly refer to people from Newcastle and North East England as well as fans of the Newcastle United football club. Coal is still being mined, but the better known export is likely to be the "Geordie Shore" show. And this show is as popular as it is terrible. Drinkable Brits make it - with all the drama that goes with it. The series has now even been exported to the USA and has enjoyed acceptable ratings for years.

But now back to the actual topic. The Geordie Accent is popular. Celebrities like Cheryl Fernandez-Versini (previously Cheryl Cole; comes from Newcastle and has since made it to the jury of the casting show "The X-Factor") or Sting also contribute to this. BUT: The dialect is extremely difficult to learn. Quite apart from the fact that he follows his own grammatical rules and the vocabulary sometimes sounds anything but English. You can convince yourself with this video.

But honestly: I like the Geordie Accent. I can't speak to him myself, but what isn't there can still be. So whoever understands the Geordies can rightly claim to be able to cope with the English language jungle. Finally, two more fun facts.

  • After Geordie is supposedly the "sexiest British accent": Newcastle is in third place for call centers in the United Kingdom. Officials always say that this has nothing to do with the accent. But somewhere you can't be angry with someone on the phone who uses words like “nappa” for “head”, “had ya watta” for “take your time” and “scratcha” for “bed”. Or?
  • Cheryl Fernandez-Versini is, as mentioned before, a juror for "The X-Factor". When the format exported to the US, she was fired after the show got off to a bad start, only to return to the show years later in the UK. Show founder Simon Cowell gives other reasons, but some say they were afraid that in America they wouldn't understand Cheryl's accent.

That's it so far from the Geordie Accent. If you feel like adopting this accent (it sounds extraordinary), one thing now applies: Off to Newcastle!


Benjamin Barteder studies journalism and public relations (PR) at FH JOANNEUM in Graz. He spent his third semester in Newcastle Upon Tyne. After some linguistic confusion, he got along very well there. When he's not at college, he blogs like this, plays sports, or waits longingly for the latest episode of Game Of Thrones. He's also on Twitter: barti_b

Accent, dialect, English, language