The Dialect Test

This short clip is from the play, Geordie: The Musical, performed at the Customs House Theatre in South Shields. It features a young Oxford University student, John Thompson (played by Adam Donaldson), who has been sent to Tyneside to conduct a series of dialect tests. The subject of the tests is none other than Tommy Armstrong (Micky Cochrane) who ably demonstrates not one, but three regional dialects!

The sequence is based on actual dialect tests commissioned by Prince Louis-Lucien Bonaparte, a nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte and an accomplished linguist. The examples are from his book, The Song of Solomon in Twenty-Four English Dialects, published in 1862. Further information on Prince Lucien-Bonaparte can be seen here.