The Centre evolved from the Survey of Language and Folklore which was established in 1964 and which is an ongoing undertaking dedicated to the collection and study of English folklore, tradition and language. With regard to the last, the available material covers such issues as: language acquisition, childrens language, sociolinguistics, contemporary English, lexicology, lexicography, and social and regional dialects.
The Library and Archives
The library and archives contain a wealth of material which consists of, among other things , various studies, written reports, manuscripts, questionnaires, tape recordings, periodicals and books. Of the 40,000 books held, approximately 2000 are language related and contain extensive material on the Northern varieties of English, including Yorkshire dialect. Among the periodicals held are all thirteen volumes of the Centres own publication of Lore and Language, covering the period from 1970 to 1995. The following will be of particular interest to students of the Yorkshire dialect:
Survey of Yorkshire Dialect (SYD)
This is an ongoing project conducted jointly by NATCECT and the Yorkshire Dialect Society (YDS). The aim of the survey is to collect dialect from all areas falling within both the former and current boundaries of Yorkshire. The intention is to identify and record words, expressions and pronunciations used by men and women, both young and old and of various social levels, in rural and urban locations. Also of interest are the specialist vocabulary and expressions employed in the different trades and occupations, especially those of a traditional nature.
A sample of the information collected thus far has been published in Yorkshire Words Today which is available from either NATCECT or YDS.
Survey of Sheffield Usage.
The purpose of this survey is the identification of both continuity and change in local dialect words. This is achieved via field interviews and the completion of questionnaires containing a list of specified dialect words. Residents of the Sheffield area are asked to define the meaning of each word, to confirm whether they have heard it used within the last five years, and to say whether they use it themselves. Participants are also asked to provide similar details about any other "Sheffield" words which they know or use.
Further information about the dialect of the Sheffield region is contained in The Hallamshire Glossary which was produced in 1829 by the Rev. Joseph Hunter, FSA. Reprints of this volume, which also contains information relating to local traditions and customs, is available at the Centre.
Survey of English Dialects (SED)The Centre has photocopies of all the original fieldwork notebooks collected in the course of this survey including that gathered in Yorkshire. The originals and the relevant sound recordings are held at the University of Leeds.
A publication based on the SED is the "Survey of English Dialects: The Dictionary and the Grammar" (Upton et al see General Bibliography). Details of this book are available from NATCECT.
Atlas Linguarum Europae (ALE)
NATCECT holds both photocopies of the original response booklets and copies of the relevant sound recordings.
The English Dialect Lexicon Databases Project
The outcome of this project is a number of computer databases containing, inter alia: information derived from the text of the Dictionary of the Survey of English Dialects (mentioned above); details of "informants and localities of the SED network"; and details of data gathered through the SED and ALE. Among other functions, databases facilitate the identification and quantification of "the degree of lexical erosion in English regional dialect".
Other data which may be of use consists of a number of student research projects relating to such language issues as local dialect and the language of advertising. In many cases the written material is supplemented by sound recordings. There is also a selection of some 30 postgraduate theses.
It should be noted that the available material is for reference only and is not obtainable on loan. Photocopying facilities are however available.
Arranging Visits to NATCECT
Access to the library and archives, which are open from Monday to Thursday between 10 am and 4 pm, is by appointment only. Anyone wishing to visit the Centre or to obtain further information should telephone, e-mail or write to:
The National Centre for English Cultural Tradition
9, Shearwood Road,
Telephone: 0114 2220195 (Archive) or 0114 2226296 (Office)
A minimum of ten days notice would be appreciated. Alternatively, further information can be obtained by e-mailing the Director or through the Centres Website.