The Norfolk dialect, also known as ‘Broad Norfolk’, is one of the few remaining regional dialects still in use today. While some words and phrases have died out, the unique vocabulary can still be heard, from the East coast to the Suffolk borders, in its subtle variations.
Norwich is the largest city in Norfolk and became England’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2012. It is also the proud home of the National Centre for Writing: a place of words debate and ideas. To celebrate Norfolk Day 2019, we wanted to share our favourite local words with you. Have a read and learn a few phrases – and we’ll have a good mardle wi’ ya bor!
(UK, East Anglia dialect) not level, not square, not straight
You’d better put them shelves up again mate, they’re all on-the-huh.
“I never realised this was a phrase specific to Norfolk until I used it at university, to the confused look of my friends.” – Vicki Maitland, Programme Assistant
(UK, East Anglia dialect) a land snail’
Mind you don’t step on that Dodman!
“The Norfolk word for snail is my absolute fave!’ – Florence Reynolds, Programme Officer
‘Keep you a troshin’
(UK, East Anglia dialect) Bidding farewell or ‘take care’
Selected by Peggy Hughes, Programme Director
‘Ar yer orrite bor?’
(UK, Norfolk dialect) ‘Hello, how are you mate?’
Ar yer orrite bor? It’s been an age!
“When I lived away from Norfolk and heard someone say that phrase, I immediately felt home and all fuzzy inside.” – Róisín Batty, Communications Assistant
‘Load of ole squit!’
(UK, Norfolk dialect) ‘load of rubbish’ or ‘makes no sense’
He was talking a load of ole squit!
“I remember my Nan saying it a to the radio, particularly whilst listening to the MP at that time who lived in her village in Pulham Market.” – Alice Kent, Director of Communications
‘That craze me.’
(UK, Norfolk dialect) ‘That really winds me up’
That craze me when they talk so loudly…
Selected by Laura Stimson, Programme Manager
‘Afreard, finnicky, hull.’
(UK, Norfolk Dialect) afraid, particular, throw
I was so afreard during last night’s thunderstorm.
There’s a finnicky way of doing this…
Would you hull that over to me?
Hannah Garrard, Programme Manager, Learning and Participation
We would love to know you favourite Norfolk phrases – tweet us @WriterCentre and have a happy Norfolk Day 2019!