Let’s be clear, I’m from Birmingham.

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Well, not Birmingham exactly. The Black Country actually, which is an important five miles or so away from Britain’s second city and distinguishes us in the same way that living in Hethersett means you’re not really from Norwich.

But Brum will do to make my point.

And that point is that I have only a theoretical interest in the latest Uncyclopedia dialect list doing the rounds on Facebook at the moment. It’s an A-to-Z glossary of “Naaridge” words and phrases, spelt out phonetically and a gentle, self deprecating pee-take for those of you born and bred in the Fine City. Norwich people on the social media site seem really tickled by it from the Facebook comments I’ve seen, in the same warm way that you’d be 
embarrassed by your dad on the dance floor, but proud of him really.

It’s just the very tiniest bit country bumpkin if you’ve not seen it.

Catch up here

If you couldn’t be bothered to do that, allow me to give you a flavour:

Carra Rud – a place where Naaridge people go to watch their football team beat Ipswich. Another place like this is Portman Road where Suffolk people go to watch their football team being beaten by Narridge Ci’ee.

B an Coo – Hardware store, a bit like Hum Base

Curls – a department store in Naaridge ci’ee long since renamed Debnums (but news travels slowly in Naaridge!)

That’s only from the A-to-C section – there’s plenty more to give you a nostalgic giggle, and I really would recommend you take a look. My most endearing, and enduring, memory of the Norwich twang is when I first moved here at the age of 14, kicking on for 50 years ago. I’d been warned about the “He say”, “Hooge bootiful voo” stuff, and I knew how to pronounce Wymondham, Costessey and Happisburgh. But nothing prepared me for a customer in the corner shop I was working in as a Saturday boy, just a few weeks after moving here.

“Haya got any tins of cuckoo?” said the customer as I knelt, stacking baked beans.

Now even at my tender age I knew that normal people did not eat cuckoos. Fresh, dried, tinned, vac-packed, marinated. It didn’t matter. Cuckoos were not on the menu for right thinking people. What sort of hell had I been delivered to?

She started to get angry. “If yew hint got cuckoo, haya got any hot chocolate?”

Oh, thank you, God. And, overall, thank you for bringing me to Norfolk.

9 comments

  • When we moved to Norwich from Birmingham in 1961 I was 17 and started work at Reads Flour Mill on King Street, I had great difficulty in understanding some of the older members of the workforce. It sounded like a foreign language to me.

    Report this comment

    John Redfern

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Teacher to Norwich pupil: "What's a hindu?" Answer" Lay heggs a course miss !"

    Report this comment

    cornwallcanary

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • I first heard the hindu joke on one of Johnny Ball's TV shows in the 70s so I think it works across the country. John Redfern's comment suggests that the understanding issue is not as bad as it was in 1961. A local supply teacher once told me she noticed strong differences within Norfolk so I always find the notion of a universal Norfolk accent that is not similar to surrounding counties a bit strange

    Report this comment

    JohnnyH

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • And some fell on stoney ground.

    Report this comment

    cornwallcanary

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Teacher to Norwich pupil: "What's a hindu?" Answer" Lay heggs a course miss !"

    Report this comment

    cornwallcanary

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Well as an incomer from North Suffolk, Lowestoft to be precise i can tell you that the Norfolk dialect is very similar, sometimes its just like im back in Lowey, which is far more Norfolk than Suffolk. In fact ive never understood why it isnt in Norfolk to be honest, its much more norfolk like, Id probably be shot at dawn by some suffolk people for that,lol But my dad came from Norfolk so that makes it ok. And of course many Lowestoft people support Norwich city NOT Ipswich.

    Report this comment

    june muskett

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • I first heard the hindu joke on one of Johnny Ball's TV shows in the 70s so I think it works across the country. John Redfern's comment suggests that the understanding issue is not as bad as it was in 1961. A local supply teacher once told me she noticed strong differences within Norfolk so I always find the notion of a universal Norfolk accent that is not similar to surrounding counties a bit strange

    Report this comment

    JohnnyH

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • Was there a point you were try to make here? was it that people from Norwich sound different to someone from Birmingham or somewhere near Birmingham. Not really news is it?

    Report this comment

    parkeg1

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

  • I first heard the hindu joke on one of Johnny Ball's TV shows in the 70s so I think it works across the country. John Redfern's comment suggests that the understanding issue is not as bad as it was in 1961. A local supply teacher once told me she noticed strong differences within Norfolk so I always find the notion of a universal Norfolk accent that is not similar to surrounding counties a bit strange

    Report this comment

    JohnnyH

    Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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