Jun 21, 2009

Take a butcher's at this!

I recently discovered one of the coolest linguistic phenomena ever. Slang, of course, is always interesting and sometimes annoying. Whether things are guay ('cool' in Spain) or tu t'en fiches ('you don't give a crap' in French), all languages have interesting idiomatic ways of expressing ideas. Some are vulgar, some are witty. The British Cockney accent is incredible. It is known as 'rhyming slang.'


Those speaking Cockney will take a word that rhymes with the intended word, and that which rhymes is often a phrase (ex. instead of dollar, they say Oxford scholar). A Cockney, however, will drop the last word, leaving the first, unrhyming word to replace the original one (using our example, "Do you have a dollar" becomes "Do you have an Oxford?").

Some other examples:

  • believe becomes Adam and Eve ("Would you Adam and Eve it?")
  • stairs becomes apples and pears, leaving apples ("Would you go up the apples and grab my suit?")
  • eyes becomes mince pies, leaving minces ("You have beautiful minces, ma'am.")
  • look becomes butcher's hook, leaving butcher's ("Let's have a butcher's at this.")
All in all, it's a remarkable system. here are more examples.

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