East Anglia is a fascinating and diverse dialect area, and may be the place where English was first spoken. Its dialects therefore have much to teach us about the history and development of the language. Despite this, East Anglian English is not very well known and is often confused, to the annoyance of its speakers, with dialects of the south-west of England. The Survey of English Dialects, conducted between 1950 and 1961, took a valuable snapshot of life and language in East Anglia at this time, and reveals the importance of the connection between the two.

Like all varieties, East Anglian English has a range of interesting dialect words. Here, a splinter is known as a shiver or a sliver; a woodlouse as a sowpig, and delightfully, a ladybird is called a bishybarnabee. A lop-sided shelf or picture frame is said to be slightly on the huh, while the best way to refer to more than two of something in East Anglia is a couple of three


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Read on to find out how geography and farming have influenced this fascinating variety of English. If you’re looking for more technical information on the unique qualities of the dialect, our ‘technically speaking’ section below may be right up your street.