This paper reports on a questionnaire study investigating Tyneside residents’ vernacular awareness and attested language use. Participant performance is interpreted on the basis of a cross-tabulation of participants’ social class as determined by their level of education and participants’ own identification. The results indicate that participants’ self-identification is at odds with the classification based on education and, furthermore, that the group of participants who identify as middle class but have low educational attainment behave significantly different from the other participants. This group consisted of mainly older female speakers and results are interpreted in light of first wave studies on the patterning of language use by class, age and gender. Finally, the issue of vernacular awareness is linked to social indexicality and it is suggested that an interpretation of participants as agents allows these two factors explanatory power.