Norfolk Dialect

Keith Skipper

Keith Skipper

First and foremost I must say that the contents of these pages are mainly due to the generosity of and help from Keith Skipper.With kind permission from his publishers; Nostalgia Publications,who are responsible for publishing Keith's book: "Larn Yarself Norfolk".

The photograph of Keith is also taken from this book and is used with kind permission from Anglia Television. Keith has written and been associated with many many books on Norfolk,his great love for that wonderful County is obvious in every clever word he writes. Keith writes a weekly column in The Eastern Daily Press called "Skipper's Byeways" and if you are really lucky you will find him with the "PRESS GANG"...(lots of other wonderful crazy Norfolk people)in various venues in Norfolk..from Woolterton Hall to the local pub..making people laugh..and sometimes cry..with their hilarious Norfolkian depictions of local people and situations. I have seen them once and can honestly admit to leaving Woolterton Hall with a stitch in my side from laughing.

Norfolk Proverb..EDP Skipper's Byeways January 2000

Him what larf larst...probably dint
git the joke in the fust plearce.

"Norfolk is not simply a word that describes a county."Norfolk" describes also a language,a humour and a way of life. Spoken Norfolk has a stout and uniquely resistant quality and only people born in the county are able properly to penetrate it and repeat it with their own tongues. Just as their language, so also the people of Norfolk are tough, resistant and impenetrable. They guard to themselves the secrets of their language and of their humour. Yet humour there is in the Norfolk people,riotous and abundant. When you read Norfolk tales, remember that they are tales about a highly observant, subtle and recondite people.Therefore, always think twice before you laugh at a Norfolk tale - the laugh might be on you!"

Dick Bagnall-Oakeley.

The reason that this page exists is because of my interest in Family History. It became clear to me when I had joined the Norfolk Mailing List, that there were many of our "cousins" in Canada,America,Australia and other far flung places, who had no idea how their ancestors would have spoken, and knew nothing of the dialect.

It is difficult to write phonetically, and just reading the words doesn't give the full idea.There is a strange lilt to the Norfolk dialect.The ends of the sentences lilt upwards..very difficult to put that on paper!!

For those who would like to go into this in depth I am fortunate enough to have had the help of Peter Trudgill FBA,who is Professor of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Lausanne. He kindly sent me a very detailed description of the intricacies of the dialect which you can study here:Dedialectisation and Norfolk Dialect Orthography

I decided there was a need for the dialect to be heard on the Internet! Please be patient...the wav file takes quite a while to load so don't give up . I have managed to increase the length of the file by reducing the quality, forgive me but I think it's worth it.



"Mastery of the lilt and language is not a condition of membership. On the contrary, the more people eager to learn about Norfolk culture,humour and history the better. All you need is a keenness to preserve,explore and encourage this part of the county's identity." So says Keith Skipper, Chairman of FOND.

The official Norfolk Dialect Page is up and running! Friends of the Norfolk Dialect - F.O.N.D.

Please take time to sign the visitors book at the bottom of the page, it's nice to know where the descendants of those "Norfolk Dumplings or "transplants" are now.

Click here to listen to Keith Skipper

Download this zip file for later...

BBC page with lots of dialect to listen to and read about

Web page with details of the singing postman

Chris Stephens is in Bosnia as part of the European Community Monitoring Mission in the Balkans,his description of Norfolk I felt was worth capturing!

Bob Engledow's rich Norfolk tones to download

Valuable memories of Gorleston By "Aussie Arthur"

A Small dialect dictionary and other odds and ends

Norfolk Phrases

A nostalgic E-mail to the Norfolk Mailing List from Elizabeth in the USA was answered by "Boy Pete" in Norwich.

Other interesting links for Norfolk Addicts

Many thanks Keith for allowing me to use your material.One day perhaps you will brave the perils of Cyber Space and get to see this page...I hope so.

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              Norfolk using Norfolk Search, a recommended
              search resource...

update4th May, 2007

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