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Revealing Our Past Forest Dialect

Forest Dialect

The Forest dialect is a window into the past heritage of the English language and its Anglo-Saxon roots. Recording and describing the dialect will help our understanding of the development of the English Language.

The Forest’s unique landscape, location, settlement patterns and industry make it an important site for understanding how dialects develop their distinctiveness.

Knowledge of the traditional Forest dialect is at risk of being lost forever as only a few speakers of the dialect remain.

This project will make use of Oral History recordings collected through the Dean Heritage Centre to provide a comprehensive linguistic description of the dialect, and a range of media will be used to make this research accessible.

What will the project deliver?

The project aims to increase knowledge of the dialect that helps connect us to the landscape, its unique geology, the people who have inhabited its spaces and past practices that we want to preserve for future generations.

The story will be told via website, social media and other technologies. Educational materials will be produced in collaboration with schools in the Forest, project partners and other community organisations such as local history societies and organisations working with young people.

Online catalogues and Forest Dialect bibliography of resources will be produced and made available online. Resources, catalogues and bibliography will be designed to reach different audiences from expert academic, to educational and other community organisations or individuals.

The project will produce online booklets that can be distributed to local libraries and tourist organisations. An academic linguistic description of the Forest dialect using recordings digitised by the Dean Heritage Centre and will help to preserve and validate/value the dialect of the Forest.

What can I get involved in?

The project needs local people to assist with the research.

Do you live in the Forest of Dean in, or near, one of these local areas: Coleford, Cinderford, Ruardean, Lydney, Bream, English Bicknor, Drybrook and surrounding areas?

You could use your local knowledge to find relevant information in archives, local libraries or online about people, places and events. You could catalogue the background and experiences of people from the past using oral history recordings. You could provide valuable information to use in articles and materials produced for schools and other groups.

Volunteers will be trained in a number of skills such as cataloguing, transcription and archive preservation techniques.

Those interested in developing their online social media skills can help with maintaining the website and providing content for social media.

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