Guide to Understanding Local Lingo

You would be forgiven for thinking of the local North East dialect as being a different language altogether. Those of you (or yous) who are southerners, from some posh suburb of Haywards Heath, or Kensington, you will wonder if you are still in England. I personally believe that Geordie and all its local variations, has some similarities with Scots (a whole new language) and Geordie takes some learning.

Geordie is the local dialect of the North East of England, but it can sound quite different between Newcastle, Sunderland and Durham. Typically, if you go to Newcastle (or the Toon), you will hear the Geordie dialect in a much more native form than in Durham City. From an academic point of view, people note similarities with Scandinavian languages, probably from the historic settlers of this area. It’s a similar situation to Gaelic and Irish, it was brought to Ireland off the Western Isles.


Common Phrases (Geordie to English):

Here are a few words and phrases you might hear when you’re out and about in the area:

Ye knaa what ah mean leik: You know what I mean?

Divvent dee owt daft: Don’t do nothing silly

Howay man: Come on (the man is said regardless of gender)

Dee as yer telt: Do as you’re told

Bairn: Child

Scran/Bait: Food

ahm gannin oot: I’m going out

Toon: Newcastle

Yee oot the neet like?: Are you going out tonight?

Alreet: Alright

Canny: Good

Kidda: Young person

Knacks: Hurts

Lush/Mint: Good

Marra: Friend

Gettin’ mortal: Getting drunk

Diden’t dee nowt: I didn’t do anything

Radgie: Someone who kicks off

Wey aye: Yes

local lingo

local lingo





I hope that you can now understand more of what you hear when out and about, the local dialect is not really part of your induction. The whole point of this post is to give you a cultural awareness of our area, don’t worry if you’re not fluent. We understand English as well!

Visit the ‘This is Durham’ Tourism website to find places to visit where you can enjoy the region and meet it’s people.

Gabriel Callaghan

Failte! My name is Gabriel Callaghan and I am a second year Physics Student and I am part of St John's College. I am in the rare position of being from Durham and I am also a student here. My interests include Canoeing, Gaelic Football and Mountain Biking as well as a lot of studying! I hope to give you a different perspective on Durham Student Life.

Failte! Is mise Gabriel Callaghan agus ta me an dara bliain dalta Fisic. Táim ina bhall coláiste na St John's. Is as Durham I Sasana dom agus tá mé i mo chónaí I sráidbhaile. Is maith liom Peil, Curachóireacht agus Rothar. Ta me ag staidéar gach lá. Bain sult as!

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