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The Talk of the Toon: a linguistic ‘time capsule’ for the Google generation

Professor Karen Corrigan, Dr Adam Mearns and Dr Hermann Moisl, Newcastle University

Date/Time: 13th October 2011

This lecture introduced a new online collection available to the public, capturing the dialect of Tyneside. Interviews with a wide range of local people, spanning five decades, together with still and moving images, reflect the history of the region. The interview recordings and transcripts form an interactive multimedia archive documenting features of the local accent and serving as a chronicle of the stories, memories, thoughts and opinions of the people of Tyneside, past and present, in their own words: The Talk of the Toon.

The Talk of the Toon archive is part of the Diachronic Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English project (DECTE,, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council). The project, running in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University, updates the earlier Newcastle Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English (NECTE). Between 2000 and 2005, the NECTE team worked to preserve and digitise two sets of interviews, one from the ‘60s and ‘70s, and another from the 1990s. The material is now being augmented with further sets of interviews collected since 2007 by University students and researchers in an ongoing teaching and learning initiative.

DECTE team: Isabelle Buchstaller – Lecturer in Linguistics Karen Corrigan – Professor of Linguistics and English Language Adam Mearns – Research Associate Hermann Moisl – Senior Lecturer in Linguistics