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7 Things You Need to Know About Newcastle

Louisa Ruster Out and about

April -2-16_7-Things -Newcastle 2_In Page 3501. Newcastle is the Town of the Bridges

All good things come in threes? Naah far from it! Not four or five but SEVEN bridges were built across the Tyne River. The Millennium Bridge is so fancy; it even changes its colour when it gets dark. Also it has the ability to fold up when a ship is passing through as it is built quite close to water level. Definitely a reason to have a stroll along the Quayside!

2. Geordie isn’t just an accent – it’s another language

People speak Scouse in Liverpool and Cockney in London - Newcastle’s dialect is known as Geordie. Equally, its inhabitants are affectionately called “Geordies”. It probably depends on who you’re talking to but when I first met the friendly facility manager of the student halls I live in I couldn’t possibly understand him when he greeted me with: “ya'aalreet the dayuh pet?” (Translation: “How are you today?”).

What’s also a bit strange at first when you come to speak to a Geordie is the way they refers to themselves. That means “I” becomes “us” so they’d say “Give us a cuddle” instead of “Give me a cuddle” which might falsely lead you to the conclusion that your dialog partner suffers from a split personality. Don’t ever tell them you thought that though!

In Geordie slang the letters “k” and “t” in some distinct words are simply left away (e.g. “Thank you” reads “Than-yee” or “Butter” reads “Bu-ah”), and other terminologies seem to have very little to do with the actual English language at all. To facilitate your entry into the Geordie speaking world – that is if you aren’t a native one - here’s a little list of frequently used Geordie slang words which are otherwise tough to understand:

  • Cannit – Cannot
  • Divvint – Don’t
  • Howay – Come on
  • Me – My
  • Mint, canny – Good, excellent
  • Mortal – Under the strong influence of alcohol
  • Toon – Newcastle city centre
  • Wey aye – Expression of positive agreement
  • Yee – You

April -2-16_7-Things -Newcastle 3_In Page 3503. “Celebs” of the Toon – The Geordie Shore cast

If you live in Newcastle you can’t get around the notorious MTV reality show “Geordie Shore” (the British equivalent to “Jersey Shore” if you’ve watched that…) which is being filmed in and around Newcastle.

To be fair, the format isn’t overly sophisticated: a handful of Geordies in their twenties living together in a house in the outskirts of Newcastle and are hitting the “Toon” every single night. However, they don’t particularly impress with extraordinarily good behaviour as there’s always a considerable amount of alcohol involved.

This might be why Newcastle’s inhabitants insist that these few lads and lasses of Geordie Shore aren’t representative for all Geordies in the slightest. Nonetheless, I had the pleasure to meet that lot on a night out, which was quite a big thing for me because, touché, I’m a massive fan and ever since I’ve lived in Newcastle I‘m watching it and I love it!

April -2-16_7-Things -Newcastle _In Page 3504. Newcastle has its own guardian – the Angel of the North

What Rio de Janeiro can do, Newcastle can do better! A fifteen minutes bus ride from city centre at the city boundaries of Gateshead you’ll encounter one of the North East’s most popular landmarks: the Angel of the North! This is a 65 ft tall and 177 ft wide rusty red statue in the shape of an angel which was built in memory of Northern England’s industrial past. It watches the Tyne side as well as the east coast railway line.

April -2-16_7-Things -Newcastle 5_In Page 3505. The North is friendly

If there is one thing that cannot be denied about people from Newcastle it is their kindness. Especially for people like me being from Germany, which isn’t especially known to be the friendliest of all countries, the positive and welcoming attitude of the Geordie mankind was and still is overwhelming. Although it was a bit strange at first to be called “pet” and “sweetheart” by complete strangers, I quickly adapted the spirit and wouldn’t change it for the world.

I have been to Manchester and London and I didn’t experience the same heart-warming friendliness which might be due to the fact that people from Newcastle aren’t as busy as in these vibrant metropolises. Geordies are simply a bit more unhurried which becomes apparent in the way they communicate with others.

6. Magpies aren’t simply birds

If you speak in Newcastle about Magpies no one will think of the thievish little birds at first; in fact Geordies refer to their football players of Newcastle United as “the Magpies” since they are wearing black and white striped shirts. Don’t miss out a match in St. James Park – especially the derbies against the Mackems or Sunderland are supposed to be excellent matches. And since Geordies are practically born with a fascination for football, the “Magpies” even have their own Snapchat filter 8-)

April -2-16_7-Things -Newcastle 4_In Page 3507. There is no such thing as wearing coats on a night out

One of the most astonishing things I realised when coming to Newcastle is the people’s non-existing sensitiveness to cold up here. Well, maybe it does exist but no one really admits it – I’m still doing some research on this topic – however, no matter the temperature, whether it is raining and windy or even snowing, no one EVER wears coats on a night out.

I especially assure my deepest respect to the girls who mostly don’t even wear stockings. And I’m still wondering HOW ON EARTH CAN YOU DO THAT? I have indeed asked that question to a few lasses in front of me in the queue to a Club – me literally wearing boots and a proper winter coat, they wearing dresses, skirts and belly tops not even covering a third of their whole body. The responses were different and reached from “The club doesn’t have a cloak room” to “This way I increase the odds of getting a drink” to “If you doing  pre’s right, you won’t feel the cold”. Not sure whether I’m satisfied with these answers but my investigation as to the Geordie anatomy is to be continued!

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