A FORGOTTEN archive of voices has revealed how the Geordie dialect is in danger of dying out and disappearing within 30 years.

Linguistic experts from Newcastle University say the lilting brogue made famous by the likes of Gazza, Jimmy Nail and Ant and Dec has been gradually diluted over the years.

By studying a rare collection of taped interviews with Geordies conducted in 1969 and 1974, they discovered the new generation would need an interpreter to understand many of the words commonly used then.

In 1969 hen-pecked husbands would be described as nooled, a phrase which is now extinct.

But language used by Catherine Cookson characters - words such as howay and canny and phrases such as "ganning doon the Toon" and "wor lass" - could well survive the next 30 years, as they have weathered the vast changes and continue to be used in everyday conversation.

The levelling out of accents has been blamed on television and on language used by people from, other parts of the country moving into Tyneside.

Linguist Dr Joan Beal, said: "It is really amazing how the Geordie dialect has changed. "When we started transcribing the archive, we had no idea how to spell certain words because dialect is spoken, not spelt, and some were not even found in dialect dictionaries."

The archive is held in Newcastle University's Department of English Literary and Linguistic Studies.

With the help of an Arts and Humanities Research Board (AHRB) grant of £250,000 and a variety of small grants including one from the Catherine Cookson Foundation, researchers are now working to preserve the archives. They will be made available to scholars and members of the public.

Tapes and transcriptions will be mounted on a specially created website, where planned features include a sound file with phonetic transcription.