October 15, 2010 2 Comments
I was talking to a teacher yesterday who is new to the LA and she told me how she drives into London every day from the Home Counties. She was quite shocked, she said, by the levels of deprivation at the secondary school where she works but more shocked by the way the pupils spoke. She admitted that it had taken the first few weeks of term to understand what the pupils were on about and no, we’re not talking about pupils newly arrived in the country. I guess I’m used to the way da yoot speaks round here, it’s just the London patois made up of a little of this and a little of that.
Following hard on the heels of uber luvvie Emma Thompson’s comments last week about the way young people speak, this made me think. I love the richness of the English language and the muddle of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Latin with a fair sprinkling of dialect. It’s hell for spellers- take -ough for example, which can be pronounced as in though, ought, through, enough, cough- but its depth is its also its strength. It is also a flexible language that allows for change.
So who am I, with my BBC accent or Emma Thompson with her Cambridge University- educated vowels to say what is proper although it’s probably not a good idea to call your teacher bro’. Because that’s just wrong, wasteman.
In case you’d like to understand what young people are talking about, here is a handy guide with translation. But please don’t try it yourself if you’re over twenty cos it’s just embarrassing. Innit.
What endz are you repping, blud? (From which part of London do you hail, my good man?)
Your wifey is buff, fam. (Your ladyfriend is really rather attractive, my good man.)
Oh my days, she is such a sket! (Gosh, she seems to have slept her way round town.)
You think you’re a nangman but you is buttaz, innit. (You’d like to think you’re jolly cool but actually you’re an idiot, innit.)
Your mum. (I hold you in such low esteem that I can’t even be bothered to insult you so I will imply something nasty about your mother and leave your overactive imagination to do the rest.)