Norfolk celebrates its dialect

Norfolk's native tongue has been showcased at an annual dialect festival, where local people performed prose, poetry and party pieces.The event drew a range of people, from professional performers to everyday village folk, keen to give vent to the vernacular.

Norfolk's native tongue has been showcased at an annual dialect festival, where local people performed prose, poetry and party pieces.

The event drew a range of people, from professional performers to everyday village folk, keen to give vent to the vernacular.

More than 100 folk turned out to watch and be entertained at the event which is part of the Cromer and North Norfolk Festival of Music, Dance and Speech.

Adjudicator Colin Burleigh, from Dereham, who is chairman of the Friends of Norfolk Dialect, said the turnout was encouraging and showed people were interested in their local language.


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The top ranked honours award went to Keith Loads, a comedy performer who has regularly appeared at Cromer Pier and Thursford Christmas shows, with his renditions of The Boy John Letters.

Among the all-comers taking part was 87-year-old Harry Varden from Roughton, who did poetry by John Kett, but Mr Burleigh was also encouraged by some younger people taking part.

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'All dialects are being watered down by mobile populations, and I've got grandchildren who have not got a trace of Norfolk in their voices.

'So it is important to remind younger people of the dialect, which is why FOND has taken sessions into schools in the past.'

Distinctions were awarded to Muriel Blowers, Catherine and Sarah Mapes, Diana Rackham and Tina Chamberlain. A merit went to Helen Swanston, while Cecil Burdett and David Yaxley were commended.

The second half of the event was Norfolk entertainment including songs by Danny Platton, and comedy from Mr Loads and Mr Burleigh.

Organiser Derek Paul said the evening, at Cromer parish hall, proved the county's dialect was still alive and well.

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