Tyne_BridgeMy discovery of the North of England took me to Newcastle this weekend. The people in this part of the North-East are called “Geordies” and I was surprised that no-one around me could tell me why. It turns out that the origin of the term is lost in the history, but fear not, there are a couple of hypotheses and here are the two most likely explanations :
It seems that everybody agrees that it derives from a diminutive form the name george, which was once the most popular name for eldest sons in the north-east of England. Some say that the name comes from the Jacobite rebellion of 1745, during which the people of Newcastle supported George II, others that it is derived from the “Geordie” safety lamp, designed by George Stephenson, used by miners in the North-East, rather than the “Davy” lamps, designed by Humphry Davy, which other mining communities preferred. Who knows?
Either way, Newcastle is a great city and I really enjoyed listening to the Geordie dialect. You don’t need to understand what’s going on around you to have a nice time, do you?
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Thanks a lot to Matthew for pointing out a great comment about a Geordie trying to do a presentation in French (at the end of the article) and to Charles for emailing me about Mark Knopfler’s song “Sailing to Philadelphia”, about a Geordie boy emigrating. Lovely.