Leeds University Library

Updating the most comprehensive dialect survey ever

Published Friday 20 October 2017

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University Library instrumental in funding bid success

A National Lottery grant is allowing Special Collections and the School of English to update the most comprehensive survey of the dialects of England ever undertaken.

The University is in line for a £798,000 National Lottery grant to conduct the 'Dialect and Heritage: the State of the Nation' project.

The project will open up the extensive Leeds Archive of Vernacular Culture (LAVC) to the public, and continue the work of the Survey of English Dialects and the Leeds Institute of Dialect and Folk Life Studies.

The LAVC contains records and artefacts relating to more than 300 English dialects and the traditions and lifestyles of their speakers. They were collected through some of the most extensive and detailed dialect work ever conducted.

Other gems held in the LAVC, accessible in Special Collections in the Brotherton Library include audio recordings, photographs, newspaper cuttings, hand-drawn diagrams of tools and farming devices, pronunciations for thousands of dialectal terms, and word maps tracking boundaries for the use of different words.

Now, thanks to a National Lottery grant, the archive will be opened up to the public, and that work will resume. The project has been awarded £65,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and is in line for a full grant of £798,000.

The four-year Dialect and Heritage project will be led by Dr Fiona Douglas, lecturer in the School of English and five partner museums across England will incorporate the archive content into their existing displays about rural English life.