River Wissey Lovell Fuller

Why A Norfolk Accent?

September 2002

A broad opinion

In spite of the fact that I am Norfolk born and bred, I have to say I'm not really a fan of the Norfolk accent. I can't say I find it in the least bit funny to see a so-called Comedian dressed up to look like a scarecrow, looking as we would say, 'three sheets to the wind'. I left school before I was 14 so I can hardly say my education was anything but complete. Even so I don't go around the countryside saying, 'Wass a matter bor', and similar expressions.

Yes, be proud of the County of your birth and do everything you can to enhance it but don't belittle it. Don't sell your County short, or yourself. I don't hear our Member of Parliament, Gillian Shepherd and a Norfolk born Lady, running around the countryside shouting out 'Well thass a rumun'. No as far as I'm concerned you can keep your Norfolk accent it certainly doesn't do anything for me.

How often have I heard some Norfolk people being interviewed on the TV and you wonder if they are normal. I sit there squirming with embarrassment. It seems to me that the very people who want to retain this accent are those who speak entirely differently in their everyday lives. Of course I'm not suggesting we should all go around speaking with a plum in our mouths but I certainly don't see why we have to say 'rood' when we mean 'road'. It's darn laziness. If we go back to the Comedians, I'm thinking of the likes of Ken Dodd, Jimmy Tarbuck, and so on, these sort of people have a bit of style to them. They concentrate on their jokes to get laughs, not their accents. It's the same with singing. In Norfolk, very much a farming area, what do we associate with Norfolk? 'Have you got a loight bor?' My God is that the best we can do?.

Yes I know I've touched on this before but what a contrast with the American scene. You have Country and Western singers and the one's that come to mind are Jim Reeves, Tammy Wynette, Doll Parton, Elvis Pressley. When you think of these sorts of people they are internationally known and you don't get that sort of status by singing such songs as 'Have you got a bight boy' or I've got a Combine Harvester'.

No I don't care what anyone says there is no substitute for style, class, call it what you will. So back to the Norfolk accent and if you want to run round the countryside saying such things as 'That it int', 'Is that right bor', 'There's suffin wrong here', and something about Doing a days thrashing at Swaffhum for naahin', well you carry on doing just as you wish, but do me a favour and keep well clear of me, I got enough problems of my own without listening to that rubbish.

Les Lawrence

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