Film ID:
NEFA 20525

LARN YERSEL' GEORDIE

1979

Visitor Tabs

Description

An animated interpretation of Scott Dobson’s comic guide to the Geordie dialect, Larn Yersel’ Geordie, presented in three lessons. With artwork by South Shields animator Sheila Graber and narrated by Scott himself, the film takes a humorous – and at times outrageous – look at Geordie culture and language.

The film begins with a short animated title sequence: an issue of Scot Dobson’s book Larn Yersel’ Geordie spins and zooms into frame, flashes, before the title lettering fills with purple as Scott Dobson announces, enthusiastically amidst cymbal crashes:

Title: LARN YERSEL’ GEORDIE

A brass band tuba player plays the film’s introductory music, as various graphics and text blast out of the bell of his instrument: a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale floats up and crashes onto the musician’s head, then the text:

Title: BY SCOTT DOBSON

Finally, Scott Dobson’s book pokes out of the end of the tuba, and a collage-image of Scott Dobson appears – with Scott wearing an educator’s mortar board hat with a miners’ lamp clipped on the front. The title sequence explodes, and the frame zooms in on the image of Scott Dobson.

The roughly animated photo-collage image of Scott Dobson begins to talk, as Scott announces the film’s motive. Commentary: “These lessons have been planned with the intention of making you – the viewer – a fluent speaker of Geordie”. As Scott pronounces “you”, an animated speech bubble appears, “Ye”, and Scott stabs a finger towards the screen.

Title: YethevieworeffluentspeakorofGEORDIE

The word Geordie animates into a decorated page, which then rips, and Scott’s face appears from inside.

View of Scott, depicted as a baby: an over-sized safety pin holds his nappy together, he cuddles a teddy, and wears a pair of black boots. Commentary, “It’s many years since I first perceived the need for such a course, in fact I was a schoolboy at the time…”

View of Scott as a uniformed schoolboy, wearing a cap, backpack, and smoking a cigarette as a catapult hangs out of his blazer pocket.

View of a photo-collaged image of a primary school, labelled, “Skeul”, with separate doors for “LASSES”  and “LADS”. Children play in the playground, the school bell rings to the tune of the Blaydon Races, the children race indoors – except for one, who is swiped back in by a huge crook or stick.

View of a school teacher, wearing a traditional mortar board, and speaking with an exaggerated RP or Queen’s English accent, “The rain in Parsimane (?) falls mainly down the drain”.

Commentary [Scott], “I became greatly upset when a master was appointed to give lessons in speech training. He insisted that the beautifully mellifluent…”

An photo-collage of Scott appears, who shouts (and is printed-on screen): “CLARTS”… “should no longer be used). The text CLARTS fills the frame and is then crossed out by red lines. “Instead we should say MUD”. The text MUD appears on screen before morphing into MAhD. Commentary, “or rather, MAhD”.

Commentary, “But we all liked speaking Geordie, and did not agree with him”.

A short sequence, resplendent with animated spittle and exaggerated watery sound effects, shows the teacher pronouncing MAhD, and being corrected to MUD by the (unseen) class of schoolchildren.

Commentary, “After six months of such lessons he broke”.

View of the teacher breaking down crying, and melting into the ground.

Commentary, “Crisis point came at religious assembly…”

View, accompanied by the sounds of a church organ, of a stained glass window, showing a cigarette crossing a hockey stick, a fuse-lit bomb, a football, the star from a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale, and a calligraphy motto, “HOWWAY the BAIRNS”.

Commentary, “… when he prefaced the introductory prayer with:”

The teacher appears, grinning, announcing (printed in a speech bubble above his head): “Wot fettle the day lads? Eyes doon, luk in.”

Commentary, as a huge certificate scroll descends from the top of the frame, crushing the teacher, “These words were his downfall. He was drummed out of the NUT and blackballed from the Lit & Phil. And now as I recall those memorable words, spoken so long ago, I am reminded of the power and sheer poetry of Geordie spoken at its best”.

The teacher’s final words appear in a memory bubble above Scott’s head, transform into a decorated sheet, flash, and are replaced by the text GEORDIE – which becomes adored with a graphic depiction of the Union Flag.

The film returns to an image of Scott lecturing, “after the Geordie benediction…”

View of Scott depicted as a bishop, the star emblem of Newcastle Brown Ale printed on his hat, and holding the calligraphy motto, “GAN ON KIDDA GET STUCK IN”.

Commentary, “We begin the first lesson”. Scott pulls a title card from the side of the screen:

Title: FORSTLESSUN

Commentary, “by learning some typical Geordie sounds”. Accompanied by a belching sound effect and an expostulation of, “HOWAY THE LADS!” and Scott’s commentary, “I’ll shoot that sound recordist”. “As I was saying, the first sound to learn is…” [Interrupted by another expostulation of, “HOWAY THE—” and a slapping sound effect] “… the Geordie R…”.

View of a letter R, flashing. Commentary, “… or to be technical, the uvular R”. View of the R letter developing a dangling and vibrating uvula and throat, then a pair of black boots. Commentary, “… this is both rolling and [glottalling?] [spluttering?], combining the best effects of Billy Connolly at his most raucous, with the sound of an old nanny goat being sick”. Views of a kilt-wearing screaming Billy Connolly drawing, and a greed-faced ill goat.

Commentary, “An interesting historical fact about the Geordie R is its marked improvement during the industrial revolution, when hours were long and lunch breaks were short”.

View of Scott as a miner, holding a pickaxe, and lamp, and wearing a helmet and string vest. A speech bubble appears, “Bait Time”, and Scott whizzes off.

Commentary, “It became the habit of working Geordies to hastily request a pint of the local brew”. Views of a barman pulling a pint, and the torso of an enormous string vest-wearing Geordie worker – who announces (in speech bubble): “Giz a broon jack”, and drinks a pint of beer. Commentary, “… and whilst in the act of consuming same, would order a second”. Speech bubble: “Giz a Brrrron jac”. Commentary, “… this improved gargling noise resulted in northern barmen of that era dressing in sou’wester and oilskins”. View of the barman being showered in spittle by giant letters, BROOON.

Scott (swimming through spittle in goggles and snorkel) announces: “Now students, you are ready to try reproducing the Geordie R by yourselves. One: open the gob to its full extent”. View of an opening mouth. “Two: vibrate the tonsils in an anti-clockwise action – anti-clockwise you fool. Three: summon up a hacking cough”. The text COUGH appears in the animated mouth. “Thus producing the Geordie R in all its pure beauty”.

The commentary accompanies images of Scott as an army officer, a public school boy, and a bowler-hat wearing upper-middle class worker carrying a briefcase marked, “P.O.S.H.”. Commentary: “If you should live south of the Wear, have been to Sandhurst, public school, or lived in Dallas Hall or Cleadon village, then [spoken comically, and rhotacistically] you’ll really find wrapping your tonsils round the R sound very very tricky”.

Views of Scott, depicted as a vampire, encouraging the viewer to mix poison and curry powder into an ointment to spoon over their tonsils: Commentary, “So try mixing a compound of surgical spirit and madras curry powder and anointing the tonsils with it. It has never been known to fail”. The animated tonsils explode in pain and spittle, and Scott – wearing a bowler hat and carrying an umbrella sinks into the liquid.

Scott, back to wearing his mortar board, introduces the next lesson. Commentary: “Having mastered the first and most typical of all Geordie sounds, we are now ready for lesson two”. Scott pulls a title card over from the side of the screen.

Title: LESSUNTWO-UH

Commentary, “Featuring the Geordie diphthong”.

Title (animated): LESSONTWO-UH

“This is defined as the combination of two adjacent vowels or vowel-like sounds into one sonorous syllable”.

Animation depicts the combining letter sounds.

Commentary continues as a photograph of a historic ship is show and a speech bubble announces, “… and has been further described by Professor Jollop of Newcastle University as, ‘A RIGHT LOAD OF ****’”.

Views of Scott dressed as an ‘Englishman’, wearing a top hat, Union Flag shirt, and accompanied by a bull dog; and as a Geordie, wearing a flat cap, a tartan coat, scarf, boots, holding a cigaraette, and accompanied by a whippet dog: Commentary, “Let us give an example. In English, certain key letters of the alphabet are pronounced thus: A E I Y”

Title (over a Union Flag): A
Title (over a Union Flag): E
Title (over a Union Flag): Y
Title (over a Union Flag): I

Title (over a Union Flag): A
Title (over a Union Flag): E
Title (over a Union Flag): Y
Title (over a Union Flag): I

Commentary, “However in Geordie, these letters are pronounced thus: A-UH, E-UH, Y-UH, I-UH”

Title (over a Union Flag): A-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): E-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): Y-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): I-UH

Title (over a Union Flag): A-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): E-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): Y-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): I-UH

Commentary, “Practise these sounds with me”.

Title (over a Union Flag): A-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): E-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): Y-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): I-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): A-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): E-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): Y-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): I-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): A-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): E-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): Y-UH
Title (over a Union Flag): I-UH

Commentary, “Have you got it?” – Scott’s whippet replies, “Why aye man”.

Commentary, “A fine example of a complete word incorporating the Geordie diphthong is bad.”

Views of the text BYAD.

Commentary, “It’s used when commenting on the merits of a cigar or cigarette”

Title: Thornotabyadtyab / That is not a bad cigarette.

Title: Thornotabyadtyab / That is not a bad cigarette.

Commentary, “Of if your patron should be indisposed…”

Title: Meda’sbyadwiththebeyor / My father is ill with a hangover.

Title: Meda’sbyadwiththebeyor / My father is ill with a hangover.

Commentary, “A further use of the Geordie diphthong is found in the noun hyem, as used when returning home to the little woman”.

Title: hyem

Title: A’mganninhyemtoworlass / I am going home to my wife.

Title: A’mganninhyemtoworlass / I am going home to my wife.

Commentary, “All phrases may be given particular intimate or authentic colloquial meaning by the addition of the expression YEBUGGERMAR”.

Title (where Scott wearing Geordie garb introduces the title card): YEBUGGERMAR.

Commentary (rhotacistic), “Remember to roll that R”.

Title (animated, with background cough graphics): YEBUGGERMAR

The screen fills with an animated graphic of pouring ale, which then drains away.

Commentary, “Now, with dentures well stuck in place, you are at last ready for lesson three – a practical oral test in which you the viewer  will venture into Geordieland itself and test your newly acquired knowledge on the residents”.

Title: THORDLESSUN

View of a bowler hat-wearing gentleman – representing the film’s viewer – appearing in front of a backdrop of Geordieland: a forest of giant leeks and a black and white photograph of a shipyard.

Commentary, “A highly trained native guide will lead you to the territory of the former head hunters of Blaydon. Proceed with extreme caution.”

View of a brick wall foreground and a black and white photograph of a street of terraced housing.

Commentary, “Don’t wear a bowler, or a deerstalker. The natives may mistake you for an income tax collector, or one of the landed gentry, or a member of parliament…”

Views of an increasingly worried looking ‘viewer’, then an animated title showing GERROUTOFIT being machine gunned over the word HELP.

View of the ‘northern barman’ of before, having recently pulled a pint of beer. Standing meekly at the bar is the ‘viewer’.

Commentary, “Safely wearing a flat tweed cap, enter the local hostelry, and commence using all your Geordie phrases learned to date in correct chronological order”.

Title: 1

Title: Gizabroonjack

An animated graphic of beer fills and drains from the screen.

Title: 2

Title: Thornotabyadtyab.

Commentary, “… and again.”

Title (pronounced less Geordie-like): Thornotabyadtyab.

Title: 3

Title: A’feelbyadwi’thebeyor

Scott announces, “Ah I omitted to inform you of another vital phrase to be used by students downing their first brown ale in one gulp. It incorporates a powerful Geordie diphthong […]”.

Title: WEOR’S THE NETTY?

Sound effects of running to the toilet and the flush being pulled.

An animated graphic of water flushes downwards out of the frame.

Title: 4

Title (animated, two eyes looks out of pitch darkness, beneath the speech bubble): A’mganninhyemtoworlass.

A car starts up and drives away. Next, headlights speed towards the screen, and the car crashes.

Title (animated, depicting the door of the ‘viewer’s’ home, and his wife’s voice appearing as words flying out of the doorway): Weord’yethinkye’vebeen? Yecumminatanythatpleasesye. A’hddivventknahworI’dletmesl’infor. A’hcud’ve’adonyman. Memuthorwozright, ye’llahlwaysebeawaystah!

Amidst smashing sounds, a saucepan and a bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale are flung out of the door.

Title: 5

Title (animated): YEBUGGERMAR

Commentary announced by the photo-collage of Scott, “Although difficulties will be encountered at first…”

A saucepan flies over Scott’s head.

“… keep on practising until word perfect” Then in Geordie dialect, “and keep your eyes chart for further lessons. Ta-tas a piece [?]”.

Title: MUSIC / BRENDA ORWIN
Title: SOUND MIXING / RON CHAPMAN
Title: ANIMATION / SHEILA GRABER
Title: A DOBSON GRABER PRODUCTION © 1979