Dr Carol Cooper’s been a friend since fairly much the beginning of the Don Charisma blog.
Carol is an author, blogger and a lady who gets my sense of humour. I believe she’s also quite well known in the UK, Google would tell you more, I’m sure, otherwise this will start to look like a Dr Carol Cooper resume or groupies club, which it’s not …
She’s also in my experience very humble and personable, which counts to me personally more than any other accolades … charm is magic they say … so …
Quite a few moons ago I, a little tongue-in-cheekily, proposed a title for a guest post, and Carol being the good soul she is, took the bait, hook, line and sinker … A break from the norm, something a little different, here’s Carol’s version of how to speak like a Cockney …
Disclaimer – no Americans were harmed in the creating of this writing … or should I say “Shermans” aka “Sherman Tanks” aka “Yanks”. All will become clear, I promise, once you’ve read Carol’s step by baby step into the weird and wondrous world of what I, Don Charisma like to call “Cockanese” … otherwise know as “Cockney Rhyming Slang”.
Learn Cockanese in 3 easy steps
Do You Speak Cockney?
The US and Britain are two nations divided by a common language. But can English as she is spoke get you by in all parts of Britain?
Not a chance, me old china plate.
That’s ‘mate’ in Cockney, a dialect peculiar to London. Technically a Cockney is someone born within the sound of Bow bells, from St Mary-le-Bow church in Cheapside, City of London, but people from outside that small area also use Cockney slang.
And in just three steps you too could learn the lingo.
Its basic MO is rhyme, not reason.
Here’s how it works. In place of a particular word, Cockneys substitute a word or phrase that rhymes with it.
Say you’re not feeling well. Instead of going upstairs to lie down because you’re ill, you’d go up the apples and pears ‘cos you’re a bit Aunty Lil.
If things don’t settle, best get on the dog and bone and call the doc. Like the trouble and strife says, you don’t want to end up brown bread.
With me so far? If not, there’s a cheat sheet below.
Now things aren’t always that simple because Cockneys often abbreviate the rhyme, from two words down to one. As you’ll see in step two, an evening out.
Here’s how to enjoy your night out
Kick off your Jack the Rippers and put on a nice whistle. Clue: it rhymes with ‘whistle and suit’.
Team it with your daisies. That’s short for daisy roots.
You probably won’t bother with a titfer (tit for tat), but the trouble is bound to put on a necklace, earrings or other tomfoolery.
Now run a comb through your Barnet, because tonight, me old china, we start by going down the rub-a-dub (pub) for a few drinks. Course, it will make you want to Jimmy.
Jellied eels (yes, really) are traditional East London fare, but not nearly as popular as a curry (Ruby Murray). A Ruby it is then.
Have a good butcher’s at the menu. A butcher’s hook is a look.
It’s drinks all round with the meal, and maybe a few more after. No surprise if by the end of the evening you’re a bit Brahms and Liszt.
When things don’t work out
No foreign phrasebook would be complete without a final section on idioms to use when things go wrong. It’s easy in Cockanese. Don’t tell no porkie pies. Just roll your mince pies and say it all went Pete Tong.
Your Cheat Sheet
|apples and pears||stairs|
|Brahms and Liszt||pissed|
|dog and bone||phone|
|Jack the Rippers||slippers|
|plates of meat||feet|
|pork pies (usually shortened to porkies)||lies|
|threepenny bits (usually thru’pennies)||tits|
|trouble and strife||wife|
|whistle and flute||suit|
By Dr Carol Cooper
London-born writer and doctor Carol Cooper blogs at Pills and Pillow-Talk (http://pillsandpillowtalk.com/about/). Her novel One Night at the Jacaranda (http://pillsandpillowtalk.com/books/) is a racy romance set in London, and she is working on a sequel.
Resources And Sources
Dog Guest Blogger – Public Domain/CC0/PixaBay/werner22brigitte ( Graphic Design (c) DonCharisma.com, DonCharisma.org 2014 )
Other images – sxc.hu, Royalty Free License
Comments are often welcomed, provided you can string a polite, relevant and good humoured sentence together. Otherwise best kept to yourself, or shared with your therapist 😀