Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Norfolk Dialect: "In Love With Alma Cogan"

I thought Roger Lloyd Pack made an honourable attempt at Norfolk dialect in the recent film, set in Cromer. Keith Barron's Brummie, though possible, of course, was unexplained and not very convincing. Was RLP a bit inconsistent on his "hair" for "here"? And I didn't notice any "that"s for "it's" as in "That's freezin'" etc. I suppose a point in his favour was (was / is - extra copula optional, but now recommended as POTUS Obama uses it) that he didn't go Mummerset as many actors do when attempting Norfolk without doing any research!


  1. Oiy-ent herd anywun wass-bin-ayble tuh-speek thu Norfuck acksunt propper, spesially if thaiy wuz born arter-thuh 1970's. Juss dohnt know whoiy them ackturs speek with a damm Summersett acksunt noithur - doo yew?

    ps: It int 'That's freezin' its 'Thass a-freezun boiy'

  2. Thanks, shows how difficult it is for us non- natives. It takes a couple of generations, too, they say. I knew I shouldn't have made any suggestions or queries!

  3. By the way, Sonic, I like your website and will listen to the birdsong and ambient noise. Thanks.

  4. Thanks for that! To be honest, had I not been told that the film was set in Norfolk, I would never have known. I would not wish to discredit RLP on the basis of being unable to speak with a Norfolk accent, as he is a really good actor: however, the odds are heavily stacked against him and anyone else attempting such a formidable task, especially if not born & bred a 'Norfolk Dumplin' prior to the 1970's.

    Interestingly, I hear a similarity between the accents of both RLP and Martin Shaw, who now lives in South Norfolk: they both try to 'camouflage' their Norfolk dialect shortcomings by 'growling' the parts they find difficult to pronounce, and emphasising words they have confidence of being able to 'pull off' in the Norfolk dialect. The outcome is a strange mix of what must be their own natural dialect, together with a 'growl' and the occasional emphasised word extracted from the modern cosmopolitan Norwich accent.

    There is one blessing - at least I'm not being tormented by that dreadful Somerset-styled attempt.

    Note my reference to the 1970's - this is my best judgement as to the date when I became aware that the Norfolk accent was starting to disappear, probably due to our involvement with the EEC and the large influx of European migrant workers into the towns and villages where the various Norfolk dialects were originally the most pronounced.

  5. Thanks, for that, Sonic. Roughly what I thought but ne'er so well expressed. As you say, we were so relieved not to suffer Mummerset. That possibly misled me into faint praise but still it was an attempt, honourable, I felt rather than an unthinking stage rural accent. Are you a member of Friends of Norfolk Dialect? Know their website?

    1. I know about FOND and have visited their site; but as we say around here "bugga me - ime not gona blow six kwid on sum intalecuwal wot wonts tuh tell me how tuh speek proppa Norfuck. anyrait thass no gud now as thaiy orl speek Portchageze rownd ware oiy woz born'n-bred at Swaffum - but oiy know wot yur thinkun, ime juss tiyt as a ducks arss in spring!" :)

      I have never considered myself to have a 'broad' Norfolk accent, but everyone I come into contact with says that I have. It can be embarrassing and difficult at times, especially with phone calls; even local calls can be a problem. That reminds me, I must make an audio recording the next time I communicate with one of the foreign call-centres such as for Dell Computers, situated in India. They cannot understand me and I cannot understand them - it usually becomes a very protracted affair!

  6. I'd pay real (if not big) money to hear that tape!