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What’s killing the Suffolk accent? Speech therapist crosses globe to record dialect’s demise

Speech and language therapist Sam Heriz is returning to Suffolk from Australia for an art residency, commemorating the local accent, at Snape Maltings. Picture: SHAPE CREATIVE AGENCY

Speech and language therapist Sam Heriz is returning to Suffolk from Australia for an art residency, commemorating the local accent, at Snape Maltings. Picture: SHAPE CREATIVE AGENCY

Archant

A Suffolk native is returning to her home county from the other side of the world – on a mission to preserve a disappearing dialect.

Samantha Heriz begins her residency at Snape Maltings in September. Picture: PHILIP VILE Samantha Heriz begins her residency at Snape Maltings in September. Picture: PHILIP VILE

Samantha J Heriz, who grew up in Palgrave, near Diss, before travelling the world and settling in southeast Australia, was motivated by her last return trip, during which she discovered an audio collection of local accents at the Suffolk Record Office.

“When I mentioned this to a German friend, she didn’t know there was a Suffolk accent,” said the former Diss High School pupil, whose mother still lives locally.

“Sadly, it’s disappearing. It’s not as robust as accents in places like Yorkshire, where people can be instantly identified as natives.

“Even elements of West Country English are dying – partly down to globalization.

Fishermen at Aldeburgh. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY Fishermen at Aldeburgh. Picture: ARCHANT LIBRARY

“In Suffolk, another reason is movement from London.”

Samantha left Suffolk with a speech sciences degree in 2007. She now has two daughters, works as a speech therapist, and recently completed a master’s in fine art.

On June 5, she launches a funding drive for Trans/Muting Suffolk: The Attrition of the Suffolk Accent, having secured a residency at Snape Maltings in September – working with a sound technician to record voices of local residents, which will be transcribed and compared to the accent of an Aldeburgh fisherman in the Heritage Lottery funded Suffolk Voices Restored collection, before becoming an immersive sound installation at next year’s Aldeburgh Festival.

According to Samantha, the Suffolk dialect is recognisable by characteristics like ‘yod-dropping’ – with ‘new’ pronounced ‘noo’.

“I want to detect how much the accent has changed,” she said.

“Being from Suffolk, I feel pretty well placed to take this on.”

Bridget Hanley, collections manager at Suffolk Record Office, said: “Suffolk people are fiercely proud of their history and the local dialect, and it is important to celebrate this.”

Rebecca Knights, residencies producer at Snape Maltings, said the project would “enable Samantha to grow as an artist and develop new skills and learning, but also have an immediate impact for Snape Maltings.”

Samantha, who is being mentored by Regional Arts Victoria and Australia-based crowdfunding platform Pozible, aims to raise almost £3,500 for the project.

To donate, visit rav.pozible.com/project/trans-muting-suffolk-1.

6 comments

  • I speak two languages, English and Suffolk. But not necessarily in that order!

    Report this comment

    Paul Wauly

    Saturday, June 3, 2017

  • About time the Suffolk accent got thrown away, along with child beating, wife beating and the progressivist lies of the local media.

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    Jackaranda Rainbow

    Saturday, June 3, 2017

  • My foster grandfather from Dennington could spin a yarn. "Do they do or do they don't they'll hooly do" When I was primary school age I tried to get him to talk about WW1 and the trenches. He told me one of his yarns. I try to reproduce it "Warre yew wanna know abowt ? Well we got to meet King Jarge !! As anyone know tenches are no place for a King to be at. So we Suffolks were ordered to get back way behind the lines and spruce up ready to meet the King. Well we spruced up so smart we wuz disappointed we wuz too far for the Jarmans to see how smart we looked. Then we paraded. And along came the King on the finest horse yew ever see. Right in front of the Suffolks the horse plop plop and crapped. King looking straight ahead he rode on. A voice from our ranks HE SAY "That abowt sumt it up Jarge" After a while the Suffolk officers came back a shoutin and a dancin "Who called the King Jarge who called the King Jarge" Our discipline had been good not a man had moved to shovel up that horse manure. Well same voice came out of the Suffolks HE SAY"Who called the King Jarge. That would be his owd mum I speck." And he laughed and laughed. Then he said "Mind you warre ? That do abowt sum it up" Pick the allegorical levels outa that you'll be a while.

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    Richard Kelly

    Saturday, June 3, 2017

  • It's more like laziness than an accent. "At do cost a lot". Instead of "That does cost a lot". It's saying the wrong words like DO instead of DOES and SHEW instead of SHOWED SHOWN. Shew isn't even a word.

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    Robert Parker

    Saturday, June 3, 2017

  • Hent ur proooblim whear oye is me owld bewtee. Us theem thear Citee folke.

    Report this comment

    Cryptic

    Saturday, June 3, 2017

  • the reason is that people do not stay in one place anymore.[ no cars only horse and carts.]they talked to the animals more.

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Saturday, June 3, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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