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.
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.