Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Learn The Lingo

Soon 2012 will be upon us. And in the Summer many will be packing their bags and heading to London, England, to see the Olympic games.

If you are one of those heading to London - Enjoy yourself, have fun, and try not to stand out as a tourist too much. But are you really ready? Think you know the English language? Think again.

Cockney rhyming slang is believed to have originated in the mid-19th century in the East End of London, with several sources suggesting some time in the 1840s. It remains a matter of speculation whether rhyming slang was a linguistic accident, a game, or a cryptolect developed intentionally to confuse non-locals. If deliberate, it may also have been used to maintain a sense of community. It is possible that it was used in the marketplace to allow traders to talk amongst themselves in order to facilitate collusion, without customers knowing what they were saying. Another suggestion is that it may have been used by criminals to confuse the police.

Wherever it started  - cockney rhyming slang has remained, evolved, and is still in use. So without further ado here are some of the phrase you may hear around London while enjoying the Olympic games and a whole host of other great things that London has to offer.

Bubble Bath - Laugh. Usually shortened to just 'bubble' such as "You're having a bubble." Meaning "You're having a laugh." Often used as a reply to someone who says something outrageous which may, or may not, be a lie.

Ruby Murray - Curry. A spicy dish originating from India and now firmly part of the English heritage. Once again shortened, usually, to 'Ruby'. "I was at the Bengal last night and had a Ruby." meaning "I was at the Bengal restaurant last night and had a curry."

Butcher's Hook - Look. Shortened to 'butchers'. Replacing the word look only when actually looking at something. "Here, mate, have a butcher's at this would ya." meaning "Hey friend, have a look at this would you."

Pork Pies - Lies. Shortened down to 'porkies' as in "I know you are just telling me a load of porkies." meaning "I know you are just telling me a pack of lies." For those wondering - while you are in London head to the local store and pick up some pork pies (the actual product not lies); you won't be disappointed. Its a pie with pork wrapped in some weird jelly.

Whistle And Flute - Suit. Generally shortened to just 'whistle' as in "Alright Paul, nice whistle you got on there mate." meaning "Alright Paul, nice suit you are wearing mate."

Bees And Honey - Money. Usually shortened to just 'bees' as in "Give me the bees." which obviously is "Give me the money." Something if you are a tourist you will hear a lot; especially from taxi drivers that take the long route.

Adam And Eve - Believe. Finally one that isn't usually shortened. "I just saw the price of tickets. I couldn't Adam and Eve it." Which obviously means "I just saw the price of tickets. I couldn't believe it." As tourists you'll hear this one said about you more than anything - "You won't Adam and Eve it but those two over there are from Vegas."

Apples And Pears - Stairs. Another one that is not shortened. "Bedtime kids. Get yourself up the apple and pears." which means "Bedtime kids. Get yourself up the stairs."

There are hundreds more to learn and remember. But stay sharp and observe what goes on in old blighty and you'll soon pick the rest up.

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