Not every English speaker talks like the Queen! And some accents are harder to understand than others! From lovely Laura Noble, here is a list of the top 5 hardest accents to understand if you are not native to the UK.
There are fears Cockney rhyming slang will die out ‘within 20 years’ if no action is taken
When Andy Green was born in London’s East End in the 1950s, Cockney rhyming slang was still in its heyday.
But the 62-year-old, self-described ‘minor celebrity from a micro niche’, says Cockney will die out within 20 years unless we act to preserve its relevance – which is why he started ‘Speak Cockney Day’.
Andy is passionate that our sense of identity, including where we are from, helps to define who we are, and wants to promote the importance of nurturing the Cockney dialect to maintain its relevance.
This is why he hopes to get East-Endcelebrity figures such as Adele, Russell Brand, Michael Caine, Danny Dyer and Madness’ lead singer Suggs on board with promoting its continued use.
The proud East-ender, who grew up in Balfron Tower social housing in Poplar, Tower Hamlets, and has written two books about London, has set out a seven-step manifesto to save his beloved East End lingo.
As well as getting London celebs on board, the manifesto includes promoting Cockney’s cultural inclusivity, maintaining its relevance to young people, and getting London’s museums and institutions to take part.
The construction of rhyming slang involves replacing a common word with a phrase of two or more words, the last of which rhymes with the original word; for example, ‘apples and pears’ for ‘stairs’, or ‘bees and honey’ for ‘money’.
It is thought villains invented the dialect so the police wouldn’t understand them.
In almost all cases they would omit the second word of the phrase, so the rhyming word would be implied to listeners in the know, while eluding those who weren’t.
Although I brought my kids up to know their British heritage, and apparently we did a lot of things that weren’t typically American, I never once chided them for using Americanisms. OK, (just in case they’re reading), I did go a bit full-on making sure they said “Please”, which quite a few Americans seem to omit. (Calm down, I’m not saying anyone’s necessarily rude, but I’ve done unscientific surveys on it and the actual word is often absent.)
Anyway, I’ve never understood Brits in the USA who insist on using their British English vocabulary and worse, get annoyed or sneer when Americans don’t understand them. As Rob Lowe illustrates here, some British words are so different from American English that no one would stand a chance if they were trying to guess the meaning.
Trainers – I suppose an educated guess here might yield results since these shoes were originally designed for exercise, but I knew never to use it in the US anyway. Interestingly, despite the plethora of American words that cross the Pond every year, I’m not noticing Brits saying “sneakers” much. Continue reading →