East Anglian English

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Location of East Anglia within England

East Anglian English is a dialect of English spoken in East Anglia. This easternmost area of England was probably home to the first-ever form of language which can be called Modern English.[clarification needed][1] East Anglian English has had a very considerable input into the formation of Standard English, and probably contributed to the development of American English; [2] it has also experienced multilingualism on a remarkable scale. However, it has received little attention from the media and is not easily recognised by people from other parts of the UK. The UEA linguist Peter Trudgill has written at length about the Norfolk dialect in his work, and is a member of the Friends of Norfolk Dialect group.

East Anglian English contains:

Very little is known about the Anglo-Saxon East Anglian dialect; a Suffolk charter (of Æthelflæd, before 991) is included in Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Reader.[4] The author Samuel L Bensusan set out to record elements of the East Anglian dialect and records a statement made by a local when she caught him making notes on the sleeve of his shirt: "Whatever you bin makin' them little owd squiggles on y'r cuff fower?" Bensusan replied that he was "writing history". He then recorded her retort: "You dedn't wanter done that. Telly f'r why. When you've got y'r shirt washed there won't be nawthen left. I've never wrote nawthen all me born days, ne yet me husban', an he got all his teeth an' I kin thread me needle without spectacles. Folk don't wanter write in this world, they wanter do a job o' work."[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Modern English in its standard form derives from the dialects of Middlesex and Essex in the early 16th century with some influence from other southern English dialects.
  2. ^ "The dialects of East Anglia have often been suggested as the basis of American English, and this view accords well with what is known about the original homes of the earliest settlers, but it is doubtful if we know enough about the dialects of British English in the seventeenth century to allow us to establish any but the most general links between British and American dialects."--G. L. Brook (1965) English Dialects; 2nd ed. London: Andre Deutsch; p. 126
  3. ^ "Essex Dialect in the 18th Century". 
  4. ^ Sweet, H., ed. (1946) Sweet's Anglo-Saxon Reader; 10th ed., revised by C. T. Onions. Oxford: Clarendon Press; pp. 188-89
  5. ^ Bensusan, Samuel Levy (1949). Right Forward Folk. Routledge & Kegan Paul. pp. x. 

External links[edit]

  • Sounds Familiar? – Listen to examples of regional accents and dialects from across the UK on the British Library's 'Sounds Familiar' website
  • East Anglian English, Oxford English Dictionary