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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, within the Forest of Dean area. Recording and describing the dialect helps 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 made use of Oral History recordings collected through the Dean Heritage Centre to provide a comprehensive linguistic description of the dialect.

What has the project delivered?

The project story is told via dedicated website called Forest Dialect

  • Online catalogues and Forest Dialect bibliography of resources were produced and made available on the website. Resources, catalogues and bibliography were designed to reach different audiences from expert academic, to educational and other community organisations or individuals.
  • Educational materials were 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. Over 26 organisations were involved, helping promote the Forest Dialect work.
  • The project also produced online booklets, distributed to local libraries and tourist organisations. 
  • 11 volunteers were trained in a number of skills such as cataloguing, transcription and archive preservation techniques.
  • An academic linguistic description of the Forest dialect, using recordings digitised by the Dean Heritage Centre, helped the project team preserve, validate and value the dialect of the Forest. 20 oral histories were catalogued, 20 dialect transcriptions completed and 21 oral histories digitally improved. All this involved over 900 hours of volunteer time.

This increased knowledge of the dialect 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.



Revealing Our Past projects

Revealing Our Past Projects

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