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11th October 2019

‘Put wood in th’hole!’ Can language unite town and gown?

The new initiative, set up by Quizlet, is aimed at helping students moving to different parts of the UK integrate into local towns
‘Put wood in th’hole!’ Can language unite town and gown?
Gendered Language. Photo: fukapon @ Flickr

Do you know your mither from your mardy?

Regional dialect lessons have been set up by an online learning platform to help university students better integrate into the local community.

A survey by Quizlet found only a fifth of students regularly socialised with local residents.

It polled over 1,030 students aged between 17-24 across the UK. Half of respondents said that they “rarely” or “never” use, nor understand, local dialect or phrases.

Quizlet has worked with language experts, poets and local councils to develop the course with the aim of helping students understand and use local slang.

The study sets cover the 20 university towns in the UK with the greatest population of undergraduate students and include over 160 dialectic words and phrases.

For students arriving in Manchester, Dr Erin Carrie and Dr Rob Drummond of the research project Manchester Voices have produced a list of essential phrases, including ‘brew’, meaning tea, ‘mardy’, meaning moody, and ‘put wood in th’hole’, meaning close the door.

A total of 17 different organisations and individuals have contributed to this programme, including Manchester Voices, the University of Bristol, This is Edinburgh and Liverpool City Council.

Richard Gregory of Quizlet said: “We created this resource to try and mitigate those university jitters: teaching students about their new surroundings through the important pillars of language and culture. The relationship between students and the local population can sometimes be a challenge, and that’s why all these language experts wanted to get on board to help us bridge linguistic divides.”



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