Wey aye, man! Geordie (pronounced Jordy) is not just an accent, it’s an established dialect. It’s renowned throughout the UK (and the world) and is one of the most difficult British accents to understand. For this reason, if you're not a Geordie, you'll probably struggle to understand what the locals in Newcastle are saying.

Don't worry. We have some tips to help. Here’s how to understand the Geordie accent when studying abroad.

  • How to understand the Geordie accent
  • Origins of the Geordie accent
  • Geordie glossary 

How to understand the Geordie accent

People who were born and brought up in Newcastle are often called Geordies and their accents can sometimes be a little difficult to understand at first, especially if you’re new to the city. Here are some tips to help you…

Try to make friends with everybody (including students from Newcastle): Having friends from all over the world means you get to experience different cultures and get familiar with different accents. If you’re friends with a student from Newcastle, for example, you’ll be able to talk to them, hear their accent and become used to it so you can better understand them.

Watch UK television programmes and listen to podcasts and radio shows set in Newcastle: Listening to the accent in your own time is a great way to understand it. Watch UK televisions programmes and YouTube videos, and listen to podcasts and radio shows hosted by Geordie presenters. They’re a valuable source for not only learning accents but the English language too.

Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat what they said: Don’t worry, people will understand you’re getting used to the accent. Take your time and really listen. But don’t be afraid to ask them to slow down or even repeat what they said if you need them to.

Spend time exploring the city: Newcastle is a vibrant city with lots to see and do. The more you explore, the more you’ll be exposed to the accent. 

Origins of the Geordie accent 

The Geordie accent sounds so different from the rest of the British accents because whilst other accents were influenced by the Saxons, the Geordie accent was influenced by the Angles

And why is it called Geordie? There are a few possible explanations for this - one is to do with coal mining, which was the traditional industry of the area. George was the most popular boy’s name in the area, which led to the men in the mining industry becoming known as Geordies.

It’s not just people from Newcastle that speak in a Geordie accent. In fact, this dialect is found in the areas surrounding Newcastle too, from Blyth and Gateshead to North and South Tyneside. 

Geordie glossary

Here are some typical Geordie phrases to learn and understand if you want to get an idea of what the dialect is like.

Aye - Yes

Bairn - Child

Canny - Good

Champion - Great

Clamming - Hungry

Dee - Do

Gob - Mouth

Marra - Friend

Nee - No

Nippy - Cold

Propa - Very or really

Toon - Newcastle city centre 

Wey aye! - In agreement

Yem or hyem - Home

Understand these words and you’ll soon be feeling like a local. If you’re new to the UK and trying to adjust or want to learn more about the place you’re studying in, we’ve created a guide to British culture which will help you feel more at home (yem) here.

What do you need to know about studying at Newcastle?

To help you learn more about what it's like to live and study in Newcastle, we created a dedicated International Students page full of useful information and helpful resources.

Visit our International Students page