Roll or bun? Research reveals North East's preferred words - and how our region's accents are holding strong

Mackem, Geordie and Poolie accents are holding strong as Britain's regional dialects face a crisis, new research has shown.

Thursday, 4th October 2018, 11:37 am
Updated Friday, 5th October 2018, 4:09 pm
Bun or roll?

The 'Words That Suit Your Region' study commissioned by clothing company Suit Direct shows paints a bleak picture for regional linguistic identity, with more than two-thirds of the population snubbing their regional dialects.

Findings from the study suggest that regional language is on the way out with nearly a quarter of people (23%) saying that they have lost part of their original accent since moving location, while 13% revealed that they have had to defend their region’s name for an item during a debate.

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Researchers found 71% of the country claim that they aren’t interested in continuing with their region’s unique words, with a divide opening up across the country as north battles south.

However, the north of the country appears to be showing defiance in the face of changing attitudes. In the North East, 42% of the population believes it’s important to use regional terms, more than double of those surveyed in London (18%).

Our region also scores highest in rejecting what are typically believed to be words originating in the south, with 38% of people saying they would never use a ‘southern’ term for an item.

A spokesman for Suit Direct said: “Regional dialects are a major part of the country’s heritage and these findings give an interesting and potentially concerning insight into the future of the UK’s regional words.

“The research has also taken on a fun element and we hope we’re able to settle a few discussions across the country.”

The survey, gathered results from 2,000 participants from around the country to determine the most popular words for items that spark debate across regions, and to see what the existing attitudes are towards regional words.

The south rules in terms of what the country calls it’s evening meal, with 53 per cent of the country opting for southern ‘dinner’ instead of the northern ‘tea’ - despite strong opposition from the North.

One of the most fiercely contested national arguments was regarding the name of bread. Half of the country say that the small, white, round-shaped bread is a ‘roll’ but the most-popular term in the North West of the UK, ‘bap’, only makes up 39 per cent of the population.

Elsewhere, debate looks set to continue on some words used regionally. While Ace (19%) is the UK’s top word to describe something as ‘very good’, London prefers to use ‘andsome’, with the North East choosing ‘canny’ and Wales and the South West united in using ‘lush’.

Suit Direct said it commissioned the research as part of a focus on its local stores in a bid to celebrate the regional accents across its 20+ locations spanning the UK.

The North East's preferred words

The words we prefer for to use, as revealed in the survey:

What do you commonly call a soft, round, white bread roll?

Bun (47.62%) Roll (30.95%) Bap (25%)

What do you usually call the schoolground game commonly called tig or tag?

Tag (36.31%) Tig and Tiggy (both 23.21%) Catch (10.12%)

What would you most likely say if you found something 'very good'?

North East – Canny (34.52%) Mint (26.79%) Ace (10.71%)

What do you usually call the television remote?

Remote (72.62%) Doofer (11.31%) Zapper (9.52%)

What do you usually call the main reception room in a home?

Living room (55.36%) Sitting room 26.79% Lounge 12.50%

What do you commonly call the two or three-seater furniture found in the living room?

Settee (49.40%) Sofa (27.98%) Couch (22.02%)

What do you usually call a narrow walkway between or along buildings?

Alley/alley way (57.74%) Cut (16.07%) Passage (11.31%)