On The Road – National Dialect Day 2013, Exeter, Devon.

I was listening to the hilarious Steve Yabsley show on BBC Radio Somerset one day (if you haven’t heard his show, check it out sometime in our live radio feeds), when I heard an advert for National Dialect Day 2013 in Exeter, Devon.

Naturally, this sounded a must attend event, for an accents website, so I very quickly scoured the internet for further details, to discover the event was being organised by www.devondialect.org, to be held at the Barnfield Theatre in Exeter, Devon. In no time at all, I had my train ticket, hotel and tickets for National Dialect Day all sorted.

The main National Dialect Day event was planned for the Saturday, but on the Friday evening, an evening of light entertainment had been arranged under the title of “Bits O’ Broad Devon” featuring a selection of local performers (to get us all in the West Country vibe). The excellent local entertainment was also supplemented by some great guest spots by the visiting Northumbrian Society.

A very enjoyable evening was had by all. You can watch these 4 videos captured at the Bits O’ Broad Devon evening. Just click on a thumbnail image to watch any of the videos in a popup lightbox.

The Dartmoor Pixies
The Dartmoor Pixies
Kelly Quarry Blasters
Kelly Quarry Blasters

The main National Dialect Day event on the Saturday, was held in the conference room at the Barnfield Theatre. During the early part of the morning, various dialect societies from all around the country assembled for the event. Various stalls were set up by the different societies around the perimeter of the conference room, so each society could exhibit some sample publications (books, newsletters, CDs etc). My favourite was the Lakeland Dialect Society stand. Top Kendal mint cake and local gingerbread, guys :)

Having the dialect society stands was a great way for us all to mingle and chat and view the excellent work that each of the societies was doing.

Represented at the event were the Lakeland, Lancashire, Northumbrian, various West Country (Devon, Cornwall and Somerset), Black Country and East Lincolnshire dialects.

Saturday was a day of poetry and prose recitals, all told in the differing dialects and with prizes awarded for the best recitals in various categories. We have 3 sample videos of some of the recitals for you to view. Again, just click on a thumbnail image, and the video will appear in a popup lightbox.

Bill and the Devon guys, did an excellent job of hosting the event, creating a nice relaxed and fun atmosphere and making us all feel very welcome. It was wonderful to meet the other folk attending the event and to see their passion and enthusiasm for dialect, and the sterling work that they do with their local dialect societies to protect their dialect heritage.

A Somerset Tale
A Lancashire Poem
A Devon Poem

As well as meeting a lot of great folk, I also learned tons of new things about accents. I was chatting to one of the chaps from the Northumbrian Society and he was telling me all about the different accents of Northumberland .. Pitmatic, Geordie, Northumbrian etc. It made me realise, what a massive subject accents and dialects is and how I’ve barely scratched the surface yet on this website :(

I’m already looking forward to the next National Dialect Day. In 2014, the event will be held in Ambleside in the Lake District, hosted by the Lakeland Dialect Society, who will be celebrating their 75th year. A fantastic acheivement !! Hopefully more mint cake and gingerbread too :)

If you have a passion for dialects and are interested to find out more about National Dialect Day, or you are interested in forming a dialect society and would like some help or advice in forming one, feel free to contact us at info@weloveaccents.co.uk.


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