This article examines a range of texts from nineteenth-century Newcastle and Sheffield, both in the north of England, to demonstrate how the urban dialects of these cities, known respectively as “Geordie” and “Sheffieldish,” became enregistered in this period. Features that were actually more widespread in the north of England and in Scotland were “claimed” as unique to each of these new urban dialects, and in each case, a repertoire of features emerged that continues to be cited and indeed used by speakers and writers today, albeit often in performative contexts. The article goes on to consider how awareness of a distinct “Geordie” accent/dialect arrived much earlier and became more widespread than that of “Sheffieldish” and how this is reflected in the commodification of the former but not the latter.

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