Survey of English Dialects
Resource verified by SHCG editorial group
Host: British Library
The Survey of English Dialects (SED) was a groundbreaking nationwide survey of the vernacular speech of England, undertaken by researchers based at the University of Leeds under the direction of Harold Orton. From 1950 to 1961 a team of fieldworkers collected data in a network of 313 localities across England, initially in the form of transcribed responses to a questionnaire containing over 1300 items. The informants were mostly farm labourers, predominantly male and generally over 65 years old as the aim of the survey was to capture the most conservative forms of folk-speech. Almost all the sites visited by the researchers were rural locations, as it was felt that traditional dialect was best preserved in isolated areas. It was initially the intention to include urban areas at a later date, but this plan had to be abandoned on economic grounds.
All the recordings can be heard online on the British Library's website.
Address:Sound & Vision Reference Service
The British Library
96 Euston Road