2019 Roland Bibby Memorial Lecture by Dr Karen Lowing

LANGUAGE enthusiasts striving to preserve and promote Northumbrian face an uphill struggle in schools. That was one of the messages spelled out at Morpeth today at an event which bangs the drum for the County’s native tongue. The Roland Bibby Memorial Lecture is given annually in tribute to the founder of the Northumbrian Language Society.

This year it was delivered by Dr Karen Lowing, a Lecturer in Education at the University of Stirling. Her theme was ‘Recent developments in Northumbrian and Scots language in the Classroom’.

An audience at the Town Hall heard that there was a general tendency for local language and dialect to become increasingly marginalised by education authorities with studies among older people in Scotland showing that it was common at school for them to be told to ’speak properly’ or to ’speak the Queen’s English’.

Dr Lowing said there had been changes with regard to the Scots language but there were still problems with how they would be implemented in schools. But in English education policy and curriculum documents, language varieties such as Northumbrian were virtually unseen, so they were not just marginalised but voiceless.


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