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Exhibition won't leave you lost for words

Do you know a spelk from a spuggy?

A fascinating exhibition is to take a fond look at the lost language of the North East and its industries.

'Lost Dialects', to be showcased at The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, will celebrate the region's heritage and culture through local words and phrases that are at risk of disappearing forever.

The free exhibition, in the Port of Tyne display pod and across the first floor of the building, will reflect different industrial themes, including shipbuilding, mining and crafts.

Visitors will be invited to donate their own favourite words to the word bank - with the aim of creating the biggest collection of dialect words in the country. They can also test their knowledge of North East dialect with a fun interactive quiz.

The exhibition will feature a jukebox of North East songs performed by folk singer Benny Graham, accompanied by Chuck Fleming. Local dialect is used extensively in the songs' lyrics.

Councillor Alan Kerr, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: "Language is constantly evolving and this exhibition captures words and phrases of the North East that are in danger of being lost forever.

"In the shipyards and pits, in homes and in the street, once commonplace terms are now disappearing from everyday conversations.

"This exhibition will have a special resonance with people from the North East but it will be just as fascinating to people from outside the region."

Lost Dialects, which will also feature archive photos, will be launched on October 22, when The Word opens to the public.

Andrew Moffat, Chief Executive Officer at Port of Tyne, said: "The Port is delighted to be one of the supporters of The Word, sponsoring the exhibition programme. 

"As an industry that has been on the River Tyne for over 2,000 years, we are looking forward to seeing how language has changed, and being reminded of the words and phrases that have survived and are still used in our workplace today."

Lost Dialects has been curated by local acclaimed poet and playwright, Tom Kelly. Dr Bill Lancaster, an expert in regional dialect who worked alongside fellow academic the late Bill Griffiths at the Centre for Northern Studies at Northumbria University, has also provided support and advice.

Tom Kelly said:  "Last year writing 'Geordie', the musical and my poetry collection 'Spelk' reawakened my love of our dialect.

"My bible became Bill Griffith's dictionary of North East Dialect and his archive has been invaluable to this project. "It's been a 'reet' pleasure working on Lost Dialects!"

The Word is the centrepiece of the first phase of the £100m South Shields 365 regeneration masterplan being delivered by South Tyneside Council and its partner Muse Developments.

The stunning cultural venue in South Shields will offer an exciting and inspirational celebration of the written word through a rolling programme of high quality exhibitions, events and workshops.

Incorporating library and digital media space, The Word will boast an impressive range of facilities including a computer gaming area, a FabLab with 3D printers and vinyl and laser cutters, digitised archives, meeting rooms, children's immersive storytelling area, OpenZone IT suite, café and a rooftop restaurant with stunning views over the river.

The Word

For more information on the latest events and exhibitions, opening times and directions, please visit The Word website. The Word is also available to follow on Facebook and Twitter.

The Word, 45 Market Place, South Shields, NE33 1JF

The Word, National Centre for the Written Word, South Shields

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