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This chapter aims at outlining some key aspects of language variation in what is, arguably, one of the most socially, culturally and linguistically divided regions in England. The North East is home to two communities, Newcastle and Sunderland, whose long-standing and bitter rivalry is known but little understood in the rest of the country. Arguably, this misunderstanding, at least in part, derives from the fact that non-North Easterners struggle to differentiate between the two communities; and this, in turn, accentuates the rivalry as both communities seek to differentiate themselves from one another. Focusing on the Sunderland side of this North Eastern divide, this chapter provides an analysis of some of the linguistic variables Sunderland people identify as demarcating their community from their regional rivals.


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