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Reading - English Slang For Perplexed Tourists
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English Slang For Perplexed Tourists
by T. O'Donnell, abridged slightly by YT (michelle)

I watched the British version of 'Big Brother' recently. That's the television show which is a human hamster cage. Viewers go 'ooh' and 'aah' over the one they like or dislike, and vote to decide who leaves the house. In the interim, the contestants do tricks for the amusement of the public. The last person in gets £100,000. The production company makes millions. All contestants lose any shred of dignity and anonymity.

The 2005 version had an Essex boy and Essex girl on it; modern cockneys. Their speech was replete with annoying, redundant phrases; verbal fillers, if you like. This 'got on my tits' (nerves) so much I decided to compile a list of these phrases. Now any visitor to London and surrounding areas can understand the natives.

bullet Respect: Very much in demand by those least deserving of it, like street hoodlums.
bullet Aow Roight?: Hello, is all well (between us)?
bullet Right?: Interrogative used to punctuate sentences. A trick to ensure your audience is listening, to what is probably banal e.g. "I went inna caff on the high road, right? and this geeza looks at me funny, right?, an' I wasn' doin nuffin', right? and so I says to 'im, I says ...
bullet Cheers: Thank you. Derived from the drinkers' salute.
bullet At the end of the day: Meaning 'when all is said and done'. A cliché. Emphasises what comes after, which is also banal e.g. "At the end of the day, you've got to look after yourself, know woh a mean?"
bullet Know what I mean?: Emphasises what comes before it, also usually banal. A verbal trick, to get the listener's attention. Used by those who aren't sure they're expressing themselves clearly, which is most of the time!
bullet Seriously: Another 'emphasiser'. Means 'I am serious about the following' e.g. "Seriously, I am well pissed of with you, Craig". Or as a question: "My mate (friend) Sandra's had a boob job (breast enhancement)". To which one replies: "Seriously?".
bullet To be honest with ya: Meaning, I'm not usually. An overused phrase. What follows it is not guaranteed to be sincerely meant, or trustworthy.
bullet Scary: Might frighten a two year old. Used by women or gays to convey faux distress. A bad hairdo can be 'scary'. A spider making a sudden dash for the plughole is 'scary'.
bullet As it 'appens: e.g. "I was down the dogs (at the dog track) yest'day, as it 'appens" (happens).
bullet 'Th' pronounced as 'F': As in 'Wan, Foo, Fwee, Foah' (One, two, three, four). There is a definite sense that this is deliberately done. A reversion to a child-like speech-impediment.
bullet Oi dan't kna nuffin' abaht it: I don't know anything about it. Said with an air of grievance..
bullet Oi dunno, DO I?: You should somehow be aware of my ignorance, possibly by telepathy. This phrase is key. If you can penetrate to its reproachful, whinging core, you will understand the modern Englishman or woman.
bullet No disrespect to: I am about to criticise the following person, but do not wish take responsibility for so doing i.e. I AM disrespecting so-and-so.
bullet Sweet, or 'Sweet as' (a nut): Response to a manoeuvre successfully accomplished, or an unexpected bonus. Often said when you've earned something you're not entitled to e.g. you've robbed two hundred cartons of Benson and Hedges cigarettes, and got away with it. 'Sweet!'.
bullet Sha ap! (Shut up): I disagree with what you are saying, but haven't the wit, patience or vocabulary to repudiate it, so I'll tell you to 'Sha ap' instead. Repeatedly.
bullet I'm not 'appy (about ...): I am a Lord of Creation, hear my wrath.
bullet End of (End of story): I have made a final pronouncement, no more need be said on this subject.
bullet hoodlums: matones/as - check out Urban Dictionary external link
bullet geeza
: bloke, guy - check out Urban Dictionary external link
bullet an' I wasn' doin nuffin'
: and I wasn't doing anything.
bullet know woh a mean?: Do you know what I mean? UK Cockney Seriously? here is like "For real?!" in the USA.

T. O'Donnell external link is an ecommerce consultant and curmudgeon [ill-tempered old man; check out Urban Dictionary external link] living in London, UK. His latest project is an ebook on conservatories, available at http://www.ttconservatories.co.uk external link T. O'Donnell freeware may be downloaded at http://www.ttfreeware.co.uk external link