Ay well, tha cawnt speyk!

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By 'eck lad– they're all tawkin abaht Lanky dialect.

It has websites dedicated to it, petitions calling to save it and even online groups demanding it be the international language.

Mike Connah researched Lancashire dialect as part of his masters degree at Lancaster University and found people are fiercely proud of the particular style of speaking.

Mike, from Penwortham, who teaches linguistics at the University of Central Lancashire, said: "When people were asked about their attitude towards their own dialect nearly everyone, especially the youngsters, said 'it's our heritage, it's our culture, it's who we are.'

"I would hate to see dialect go but it will eventually. It's being lost at an ever increasing rate."

In a bid to reverse this, there are calls to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown to introduce the teaching of Lancashire dialect taught in Lancashire's schools.

John Earnshaw – creator of the petition on number10.gov.uk – said: "We would like to see the preservation of our Lancastrian heritage and hope you would look into having our dialect taught in schools."

Despite it being lost on a day-to-day basis, there are groups of people still keen to champion it – and not just proud Prestonians.

In linguistic terms, the county of Lancashire tends to consist of the pre-1974 reorganisation areas of Manchester, Bury, Bolton, Oldham, Rochdale and Wigan. Leigh-born writer Steve Gerrity, who wrote Dr Who and Dialects – a play written in Lancashire dialect – said: "I think people are so interested in Lancashire dialect because it's a part of history. Language is changing all the time.

"The words that my kids use are used in different ways. It's preserving history but it's also funny."

And Oldham-born Philip Dunkerley even has a website with part dedicated to Lanky dialect even though he now lives in Bourne, Lincolnshire.

He said: "My father introduced me to Lancashire dialect. He used to give talks to Women's Institutes, YMCAs and the like.

"I love good writing and word-play, both of which are, I think, characteristic of Lancashire speak and there is a humour in Lancashire dialect that I identify with."

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