Introducing… Berwick Quote Totes

Berwick bags

How Mahagga! (translates to hello friends!)

And we’re back with number three in our line – the BERWICKERS Quote Tote!

Trying to engage Berwickers on the subject of their own ‘folk speech’ turns into a long and humorous convo. You’d need a dedicated social historian to trace the origins of the ‘Coosty Barrie’ chat – indeed there’s a dictionary of the same name which is entirely devoted to colloquial Berwick speak.

ReTweed Trainer, Jacqueline Thompson and one of our students Celine Stewart – both born in Castle Hills – have introduced us to some of the best over the last few weeks and voted absolute favourite among so many is….(Say it out loud and with emphasis)

”AY, AM LADGED, CHI” – which essentially means, I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life”

I went online to reccie and research Berwickisms and was inundated by information. Reading through the Coosty Barrie dictionary, as someone who has been long interested in the Scots language, I noticed that loads of local words are simply just Scots (Scots being derivate of English and other regional Caledonian languages).

There’s also a wee bit of Gaelic in the mix; some words are Northumbrian in origin, some language influenced by the gypsy tribes who settled in North Northumberland in the 16th and 17th Centuries – whilst others have clearly just evolved within the town. Tracking the story of the Berwick language is really something for a PHD student!

Berwick is a port town and also has wider language influences from all around the world through centuries of trade and piracy. Roxburgh (on the Tweed) was once the industrial capital of Scotland with textiles from the mills being shipped along the river and out to our trade partners around the world.

As a significant Scottish and English trade route in times past, Berwick has a fantastically rich history – amongst the most eventful in Britain. It is an English town – the most northern in England and has a wonderful mix of English, Scots and Traveller culture, humour and language. It is our privilege to take part in a little cross-border work and dedicate one of our Quote Totes to the wonderful humour that is exclusive to Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

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This blog post was written by Hazel Smith – ReTweed Founding Director

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