Pitmatic

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Pitmatic (originally "pitmatical"), also colloquially known as "yakka", is a dialect of English used in the counties of Northumberland and Durham in England. It developed as a separate dialect from Northumbrian and Geordie partly due to the specialised terms used by mineworkers in the local coal pits. For example, in Northumberland and Tyne and Wear the word Cuddy is an abbreviation of the name Cuthbert but in Durham Pitmatic cuddy denotes a horse, specifically a pit pony.[1] In Lowland Scots, cuddie usually refers to a donkey or ass but may also denote a short, thick, strong horse.[2]

Traditionally, pitmatic, together with some rural Northumbrian communities including Rothbury, used a guttural R. This is now less frequently heard; since the closure of the area's deep mines, many younger people speak in local ways that do not usually include this characteristic.[citation needed] The guttural r sound can, however, still sometimes be detected, especially amongst elderly populations in more rural areas.

While in theory pitmatic was spoken throughout the Great Northern Coalfield, from Ashington in Northumberland to Fishburn in County Durham, early references apply specifically to its use by miners especially from the Durham district (1873) and to its use in County Durham (1930).[citation needed]

Nowadays "pitmatic" is an uncommon term in popular usage.[citation needed] In recent times, all three dialects have converged, acquiring features from more Standard English varieties. English as spoken in County Durham has been described as "half-Geordie, half-Teesside" (see the article about Mackem).

Melvyn Bragg presented a programme on BBC Radio 4 about pitmatic as part of a series on regional dialects.[3]

Other Northern English dialects include

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  • Dictionary of North-East Dialect, Bill Griffiths (Northumbria University Press, 2004).
  • Pitmatic: The Talk of the North East Coalfields, Bill Griffiths (Northumbria University Press, 2007).

External links[edit]