‘The Past is My Present to Your Future’: Capitalizing on the Linguistic Heritage of the North East


Karen Corrigan, Adam Mearns, Jasmine Warburton (Newcastle University) and Maelle Amand (Université Paris Diderot) – The Toon Speaks Back:The linguistic heritage of the North-East of England

Alex Niven and Jake Campbell (Newcastle University) – The Toon Writes Back: Poetry in the North-East of England

The North East has a rich cultural heritage, not least in relation to local language. Based in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics (SELLL) at Newcastle University, the Diachronic Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (DECTE) seeks to preserve, record and capitalize on this linguistic heritage, focusing not only on linguistic research, but also research-led teaching, outreach and public engagement. DECTE currently contains recordings, spanning five decades, of more than 1200 local speakers, with the oldest born in 1891 and the youngest in 1995. Its coverage is unrivalled by any similar UK dialect archive. Our focus on engagement is reflected in sessions we have run for school and college students and teachers, public lectures, and a public-facing website, The Talk of the Toon. In these activities, we have also begun to collaborate with SELLL colleagues whose expertise lies in North East literature. Our aim is both to broaden the kinds of audiences we reach, and to reflect the essential links between the region’s linguistic and literary heritage. This workshop will draw on the experiences of the DECTE team, our collaborators and students to discuss some of the challenges we have faced, in relation to two broad themes:

(1) Sustainability: how can we ensure that resources supported by public funding bodies are ‘future-proofed’ so that investment in them is not wasted?

(2) Relevance: how can we take our academic work beyond HE, to schools, museums and the public, in order to achieve the widest possible impact?

Thursday 6th July, 9.30