Reader letter: Mardling is an essential part of the Norfolk character

PUBLISHED: 13:55 10 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:55 10 February 2018



Archant Norfolk 2018

Coming as it does from one who is clearly a people person, Sharon Griffiths’ “Why Wilkie the killer whale could soon be ruling the world” must cause concern.

However, though her apprehension about the loss of social skills, especially conversation, is justified, I doubt whether “mardling” in Norfolk will ever die.

Wherever I go, table tops, car boot sales, et al, I always encounter those who would spin a yarn or pass on some matter of interest which is beyond the immediate issue of buying and selling.

Mardling is an essential part of the Norfolk character, and let it remain so. Indeed, “ignorant” is the native word for those exceptions who are considered unnecessarily taciturn or anti-social.

The word “spoke” is pronounced in two ways in Norfolk. It can be said as it is in “spook” of a wheel, or it can be said to rhyme with “look”. The latter is spelt as “spuk” to help in the differentiation. Attitudes and pronunciations are both evident in the following Norfolk fable.

On the road, a Norfolk man gave a cheerful sele of the day to one of the “ignorant” brigade who didn’t acknowledge his greeting. Annoyed at this, bluff Norfolk’s rejoinder was: “He might ha’ spuk even if he han’t a said nothen!”

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