British slang and its classification

Definition of concept of slangy language. Consideration of the reasons of occurrence, history of an origin, phonetic peculiarities, morphological characteristics and types of slang (from the Internet, of army, police, money, cockeney rhyming, polary).

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид курсовая работа
Язык английский
Дата добавления 06.02.2010
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1.1 Tasks of the course work

1.2 Definition of slang


2.1 The origin of slang.

2.2 Types of slang.

a) Cockney rhyming slang

b) Polari

c) Internet slang

d) Slang of army, police

e) Money slang

2.3. Phonetic peculiarities of slang

2.4. Morphological characteristics of slang




Slang is a language which takes off its coat,

spits on its hands - and goes to work.

Carl Sandburg


1.1 Tasks of the course work

The understanding of the native speakers' language is the international problem for our people. Our secondary schools teach the students only the bases of the English language. Our universities do not prepare them to the British streets, accommodations, pubs where people use their own language, the language that differs from that of their parents. They use other words- they use slang. None of the most advanced and flexible ways of teaching English of any country can catch modern quickly developing English.

Some scholars divide the English language into two different languages: the Standard English language and slang. This fact proves that slang comes to be a very numerous part of English. Ignorance of slang causes a great miscommunication between students and native speakers.

The language of the previous centuries contrasts from the modern language. The life does not freeze in the same position. It always develops. And it makes the language develop too. That is why the present work is devoted to this social phenomenon.

The aim of my course paper is to analyze different approaches to the definition of slang, to determine the most important groups of the British slang, to show its lexical, phonetic and morphological peculiarities.

The object of my study is the wealth of English language, ambiguity of its vocabulary and the most common rules of slang usage in Britain.

The subjects of my research are various points of view on slang, its history and types and linguistic characteristics common for the British slang.

Choosing the topic of my investigation I `m perfectly aware of the fact that slang is unlimited so it is almost impossible to analyze every word of it. I hope to summarize different points of view on slang and it is my hope that more readers should discover this interesting layer of the English language. Although the work could hardly cover all the aspects of the phenomenon the task is as exciting as challenging.

To achieve the set aim I determine the following tasks:

1. to search the origin of slang;

2. to study the words' transition through English vocabulary;

3. to study the problem of the classification of slang;

4. to understand the aim of the modern usage of slang;

5. to distinguish different kinds of slang;

6. to study the ways of slang word- formation;

7. to analyze phonetic peculiarities of slang;

8. to compare the results of the analysis.

1.2 Definition of slang

Every adult speaker has a concept of slang--knowing at the least that some words and expressions transgress generally accepted norms of formality or appropriateness and in some way do not fit the measure of what "good" language is. Despite such recognition by almost all speakers, scholars with formal training in linguistic analysis have almost ignored slang--though they acknowledge having the same intuitions about this type of vocabulary as do all speakers. In truth, most linguists have given no more thought to slang than have people who claim no expertise in language. In the English-speaking world in particular, the description of the form and function of slang has been left largely to lexicographers rather than to others who study language for a living.

Webster's "Third New International Dictionary" gives the following definition of the term slang:

1. Language peculiar to a particular group as:

a) the special and often secret vocabulary used by a class (as thieves, beggars) and usually felt to be vulgar or inferior: argot;

b) the jargon used by or associated with a particular trade, profession, or field of activity.

2. A non-standard vocabulary composed of words and senses characterized primary by connotations of extreme informality and usually a currency not limited to a particular region and composed typically of coinages or arbitrarily changed words, clipped or shortened forms, extravagant, forced or facetious figures of speech, or verbal novelties usually experiencing quick popularity and relatively rapid decline into disuse.

The "New Oxford English Dictionary" defines slang as follows:

a) the special vocabulary used by any set of persons of a low or disreputable character; language of a low and vulgar type;

b) the cant or jargon of a certain class or period;

c) language of a highly colloquial type considered as below the level of standard educated speech, and consisting either of new words or of current words employed in some special sense."

As it is seen from these quotations slang is represented both as a special vocabulary and as a special language. This causes confusion. If this is a certain lexical layer, than why should it be given the rank of language or a dialect of even a patois, and then it should be characterized not only by its peculiar use of words but also by phonetic, morphological and syntactical peculiarities.

In general all linguists agree that slang is nonstandard vocabulary composed of words or senses characterized primarily by connotations of extreme informality and usually by a currency not limited to a particular region. It is composed typically of coinages or arbitrarily changed words, clipped or shortened forms, extravagant, forced, or facetious figures of speech, or verbal novelties. They are identified and distinguished by contrasting them to standard literary vocabulary. They are expressive, mostly ironical words serving to create fresh names for some things that are frequent topics of discourse. [1, 249]

Slang consists of the words and expressions that have escaped from the cant, jargon and argot (and to a lesser extent from dialectal, nonstandard, and taboo speech) of specific subgroups of society so that they are known and used by an appreciable percentage of the general population, even though the words and expressions often retain some associations with the subgroups that originally used and popularized them. Thus, slang is a middle ground for words and expressions that have become too popular to be any longer considered as part of the more restricted categories, but that are not yet (and may never become) acceptable or popular enough to be considered informal or standard. (Compare the slang "hooker" and the standard "prostitute.")

Slang fills a necessary niche in all languages. It can serve as a bridge or a barrier, either helping both old and new words that have been used as "insiders' " terms by a specific group of people to enter the language of the general public or, on the other hand, preventing them from doing so. Thus, for many words, slang is a testing ground that finally proves them to be generally useful, appealing, and acceptable enough to become standard or informal. For many other words, slang is a testing ground that shows them to be too restricted in use, not as appealing as standard synonyms, or unnecessary, frivolous, faddish, or unacceptable for standard or informal speech. For still a third group of words and expressions, slang becomes not a final testing ground that either accepts or rejects them for general use but becomes a vast limbo, a permanent holding ground, an area of speech that a word never leaves

Slang words cannot be distinguished from other words by sound or meaning. In fact, most slang words are homonyms of standard words, spelled and pronounced just like their standard counterparts, as for example slang words for money such as beans, brass, dibs, dough, chinc, oof, wards; the slang synonyms for word head are attic, brain-pan, hat peg, nut, upper storey; drunk- boozy, cock-eyed, high, soaked, tight, and pot (marijuana). Of course, these words are alike in their ordinary standard use and in their slang use. Each word sounds just as appealing or unappealing, dull or colorful in its standard as in its slang use. Also, the meanings of beans and money, head and attic, pot and marijuana are the same, so it cannot be said that the connotations of slang words are any more colorful or racy than the meanings of standard words. [22]

All languages, countries, and periods of history have slang. This is true because they all have had words with varying degrees of social acceptance and popularity.

The same linguistic processes are used to create and popularize slang as are used to create and popularize all other words. That is, all words are created and popularized in the same general ways; they are labeled slang only according to their current social acceptance, long after creation and popularization.

To fully understand slang, one must remember that a word's use, popularity, and acceptability can change. Words can change in social level, moving in any direction. Thus, some standard words of William Shakespeare's day are found only in certain modern-day British dialects. Words that are taboo in one era (e.g., stomach, thigh) can become accepted, standard words in a later era. Many prove either useful enough to become accepted as standard or informal words or too faddish for standard use. Blizzard and okay have become standard, while conbobberation ("disturbance") and tomato ("girl") have been discarded. Some words and expressions have a lasting place in slang; for instance, beat it ("go away"), first used in the 16th century, has neither become Standard English nor vanished.

Language is dynamic, and at any given time hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of words and expressions are in the process of changing from one level to another, of becoming more acceptable or less acceptable, of becoming more popular or less popular.

Slang is very informal use of words and phrases for more colorful or peculiar style of expression that is shared by the people in the same social subgroup, for example, computer slang, sports slang, military slang, musicians' slang, students' slang, underworld slang, etc. Slang is not used by the majority of native speakers and many people consider it vulgar, though quite a few slang phrases have already come into standard usage. Slang contains many obscene and offensive words and phrases. It also has many expressions that are acceptable in informal communication. Slang is highly idiomatic. It is flippant, irreverent, indecorous; it may be indecent or obscene. Its colorful metaphors are generally directed at respectability, and it is this succinct, sometimes witty, frequently impertinent social criticism that gives slang its characteristic flavor. Slang, then, includes not just words but words used in a special way in a certain social context. The origin of the word slang itself is obscure; it first appeared in print around 1800, applied to the speech of disreputable and criminal classes in London.

Language is the property of a community of speakers. People rarely speak, or write, with only themselves as the audience. It should not be surprising then that some components and forms of language are socially motivated. Slang is one kind of vocabulary that serves the social nature of language. In an important article in 1978 Bethany Dumas and Jonathan Lighter make the crucial point that slang must be identified by its social consequences, by the effects its use has on the relationship between speaker and audience.

Dumas and Lighter posit four criteria for identifying a word or phrase as slang . [7, 9].

1. Its presence will markedly lower, at least for the moment, the dignity of formal or serious speech or writing.

2. Its use implies the user's familiarity either with the referent or with that less statusful or less responsible class of people who have such special familiarity and use the term.

3. It is a tabooed term in ordinary discourse with persons of higher social rank or greater responsibility.

4. It is used in place of the well-known conventional synonym, especially in order (a) to protect the user from the discomfort caused by the conventional item or (b) to protect the user from the discomfort or annoyance of further elaboration.

They conclude that "when something fits at least two of the criteria, a linguistically sensitive audience will react to it in a certain way. This reaction, which cannot be measured, is the ultimate identifying characteristic of true slang". In other words, Dumas and Lighter's formulation requires that the type of lexis called slang be recognized for its power to effect union between speaker and hearer. Whether or not the particulars of their definition are necessary or sufficient, Dumas and Lighter are right. Slang cannot be defined independent of its functions and use.

Despite the difficulties of defining the term, slang does have some consistent characteristics. [6, 12]. Slang is lexical rather than phonological or syntactic, though, in English at least, body language and intonation are often important in signaling that a word or phrase is to be interpreted as slang. Nor is there a peculiarly slang syntax. Slang expressions do not follow idiosyncratic word order, and slang words and phrases typically fit into an appropriate grammatical slot in an established syntactic pattern. Furthermore, the productive morphological processes responsible for slang are the same ones responsible for the general vocabulary, i.e., for English, compounding, affixation, shortening, and functional shift.


Slang derives much of its power from the fact that it is clandestine, forbidden or generally disapproved of. So what happens once it is accepted, even in some cases embraced and promoted by `mainstream' society? Not long ago the Oxford English Dictionary characterized slang as `low and disreputable'; in the late 1970s the pioneering sociolinguist Michael Halliday used the phrase `anti-language' in his study of the speech of criminals and marginals. For him, theirs was an interestingly `pathological' form of language. The first description now sounds quaintly outmoded, while the second could be applied to street gangs - today's posses, massives or sets - and their secret codes. Both, however, involve value judgments which are essentially social and not linguistic. Attitudes to the use of language have changed profoundly over the last three decades, and the perceived boundaries between `standard' and `unorthodox' are becoming increasingly `fuzzy'.

Today, tabloid newspapers in the UK such as the Sun, the Star and the Sport regularly use slang in headlines and articles, while the quality press use slang sparingly - usually for special effect - but the assumption remains that readers have a working knowledge of common slang terms.

There has been surprisingly little criticism of the use of slang (as opposed to the `swear-words' and supposed grammatical errors which constantly irritate British readers and listeners). The use of slang forms part of what linguists call code-switching or style-shifting - the mixing of and moving between different languages, dialects or codes. [14]

2.1 The origin of slang

Slang was the main reason for the development of prescriptive language in an attempt to slow down the rate of change in both spoken and written language. Latin and French were the only two languages that maintained the use of prescriptive language in the 14th century. It was not until the early 15th century that scholars began pushing for a Standard English language.

During the Middle Ages, certain writers such as Chaucer, William Caxton, and William of Malmesbury represented the regional differences in pronunciations and dialects. The different dialects and the different pronunciations represented the first meaning for the term "slang."

However, our present-day meaning for slang did not begin forming until the 16th or 17th century. The English Criminal Cant developed in the 16th century. The English Criminal Cant was a new kind of speech used by criminals and cheats, meaning it developed mostly in saloons and gambling houses. The English Criminal Cant was at first believed to be foreign, meaning scholars thought that it had either originated in Romania or had a relationship to French. The English Criminal Cant was slow developing. In fact, out of the four million people who spoke English, only about ten thousand spoke the English Criminal Cant. By the end of the 16th century this new style of speaking was considered to be a language "without reason or order". During the 18th century schoolmasters taught pupils to believe that the English Criminal Cant (which by this time had developed into slang) was not the correct usage of English and slang was considered to be taboo [16].

Because most people are individuals who desire uniqueness, it stands to reason that slang has been in existence for as long as language has been in existence.

A slang expression may suddenly become widely used and as quickly die (23-skiddoo). It may become accepted as standard speech, either in its original slang meaning (bus from omnibus, taxi, piano, phone, pub mob, dandy) or with an altered, possibly tamed meaning (jazz, which originally had sexual connotations). Some expressions have persisted for centuries as slang (booze for alcoholic beverage). In the 20th century, mass media and rapid travel have speeded up both the circulation and the demise of slang terms. Television and novels have turned criminal cant into slang (five grand for 5000). Changing social circumstances may stimulate the spread of slang. Drug-related expressions (such as pot and marijuana) were virtually a secret jargon in the 1940s; in the 1960s they were adopted by rebellious youth; and in the 1970s and '80s they were widely known. But this must be done by those whose mother tongue is English. They and only they, being native speakers of the English language, are its masters and lawgivers. It is for them to place slang in its proper category by specifying its characteristic features.

Many words formerly labeled as slang have now become legitimate units of the Standard English. Thus, the word "kid" (=child), which was considered low slang in the 19th century, is now a legitimate colloquial unit of the English literary language.

It sounds unbelievable but not so long ago the words: of course, to take care, to get up, lunch were considered to be slang. "Lunch" entered the language after World War I is not used in some books that prefer "dinner" to "lunch".

2.2 Types of slang

Slang users tend to invent many more synonyms or near-synonyms than might be thought strictly necessary: for example, criminals may have a dozen different nicknames (gat, crone, iron, chrome) for their guns, or for informers (canary, grass, snout, stoolie); drinkers can choose from hundreds of competing descriptions of a state of intoxication (hammered, hamstered, langered, mullered) [18]

It is convenient to group slang words according to their place in the vocabulary system and more precisely in the semantic system of the vocabulary. If they denote a new and necessary notion they may prove an enrichment of the vocabulary and be accepted into Standard English. If on the other hand they make just another addition to a cluster of synonyms and have nothing but novelty to back them, they die out very quickly, constituting the most changeable part of the vocabulary.

Another type of classification suggests subdivision according to the sphere of usage, into general slang and special slang. [1,250]General slang includes words that are not specific for any social or professional group, whereas special slang is peculiar for some such group: teenager slang, university slang, public school slang, Air Force slang, football slang, sea slang and so on.

General slang is language that speakers deliberately use to break with the standard language and to change the level of discourse in the direction of formality. It signals the speakers` intention to refuse conventions [7,12] and their need to be fresh and startling in their expression, to ease social exchanges and induce friendliness, to reduce excessive seriousness and avoid cliches, in brief, to enrich the language. General slang words have a wide circulation as they are neither group - nor subject - restricted. [8, 16]

You'll hear Brits refer to their currency as quid, much in the same way American dollars are "bucks" and Canadian money is called "loonies."

If someone asks to borrow a fag off you, give them a cigarette.

In Britain, a kiss is called a snog. If someone is knackered, that means they are exhausted. If someone is referred to as "a minger", that means that they're unattractive. If someone tells you to "Bugger off!" well, it is suggested that you go away.

Instead of "Hi, how are you?" go with the quick and easy British "Alright?" No answer is expected.

Emphasize greatness. These include "barry," "ace" and "kewl." The latter kind of sounds like "cool" but you'll know the difference in your heart.

Insult others. Calling someone an "arseface" or a "pilchard" will be even more the merrier if they have no clue you are insulting them to their face.

Throw in the emphatic "bloody" a lot. Bloody this, bloody that and bloody everything. The British are also known to put it in the middle of words for even more emphasis, such as "absobloodlylutely."

Describe drunks. Slang is always full of euphemisms for "drunk" in any language. The British versions include "airlocked" and "bevvied up," as in "full of beverage."

Special slang is language that speakers use to show their belonging to a group and establish solidarity or intimacy with the other group members. [8, 15] It is often used by speakers to create their own identity, including aspects such as social status and geographical belonging, or even age, education, occupation, lifestyle, and special interests. It is largely used by people of a common age and experience to strengthen the bonds within their own peer group, keeping the older generation at a distance. [6, 17]It is also used by people sharing the same occupation to increase efficiency in communication; or by those sharing the same living conditions to hide secret information from people in authority. It is finally used by people sharing an attitude or a life style to reinforce their group cohesiveness, keeping insiders together and outsiders out.

Special slang tends to originate in subcultures within a society. Occupational groups (for example, loggers, police, medical professionals, and computer specialists) are prominent originators of both jargon and slang; other groups creating slang include the armed forces, teenagers, racial minorities, citizens-band radiobroadcasters, sports groups, drug addicts, criminals, and even religious denominations. Slang expressions often embody attitudes and values of group members. They may thus contribute to a sense of group identity and may convey to the listener information about the speaker's background.

While some slang words and phrases are used throughout all of Britain (e.g. knackered, meaning "exhausted"), others are restricted to smaller regions.

a) Cockney rhyming slang

Cockney Rhyming Slang originated in the East End of London.

Rhyming slang is a form of slang in which a word is replaced by a rhyming word, typically the second word of a two-word phrase (so stairs becomes "apples and pears"). The second word is then often dropped entirely ("I'm going up the apples"), meaning that the association of the original word to the rhyming phrase is not obvious to the uninitiated.

Rhyming Slang phrases are derived from taking an expression which rhymes with a word and then using that expression instead of the word. For example the word "look" rhymes with "butcher's hook". In many cases the rhyming word is omitted - so you won't find too many Londoners having a "bucher's hook" , but you might find a few having a "butcher's".

The rhyming word is not always omitted so Cockney expressions can vary in their construction, and it is simply a matter of convention which version is used.

In this list of example Cockney slang for parts of the body, you'll notice that some expressions omit the rhyming word but others do not.


Rhymes with



Plates of meat



Hampstead Heath



Scotch eggs



Mince pies



Chalk Farms

Chalk Farms


Barnet Fair



Loaf of bread



Boat race

Boat race


North and south

North and south

The proliferation of rhyming slang allowed many of its traditional expressions to pass into common usage. Some substitutions have become relatively widespread in Britain, for example "scarper", meaning to run away is derived from "Scapa Flow" meaning "to go". "To have a butcher's", which means to have a look, from "butcher's hook. For example "use your loaf" is an everyday phrase for the British, but not too many people realize it is Cockney Rhyming Slang ("loaf of bread: head"). There are many more examples of this unwitting use of Cockney Rhyming Slang. [19 ]

Television has raised awareness of Cockney Rhyming Slang to far greater heights. Classic TV shows such as "Steptoe and Son", "Minder", "Porridge" and "Only Fools and Horses" have done much to spread the slang throughout Britain and to the rest of the world.

Modern Cockney slang that is being developed today tends to only rhyme words with the names of celebrities or famous people. There are very few new Cockney slang expressions that do not follow this trend. The only one that has gained much ground recently that bucks this trend is "Wind and Kite" meaning "Web site".

This style of rhyming has spread through many English-speaking countries, where the original phrases are supplemented by rhymes created to fit local needs. Creation of rhyming slang has become a word game for people of many classes and regions. The term 'Cockney' rhyming slang is generally applied to these expansions to indicate the rhyming style; though arguably the term only applies to phrases used in the East End of London. Similar formations do exist in other parts of the United Kingdom; for example, in the East Midlands, the local accent has formed "Derby Road", which rhymes with "cold": a conjunction that would not be possible in any other dialect of the UK.

Examples of Rhyming Slang

b) Polari

Polari (or alternatively Parlare, Parlary, Palare, Palarie, Palari, Parlyaree,from Italian parlare, "to talk") was a form of cant slang used in Britain by actors, circus or fairground showmen, criminals, prostitutes etc., and latterly by the gay subculture. It was revived in the 1950s and 1960s by its use by camp characters Julian and Sandy in the popular BBC radio shows Beyond our Ken and Round the Horne, but its origins can be traced back to at least the 19th century (or, according to at least one source, to the 16th century). There is some debate about how it originated. There is a longstanding connection with Punch and Judy street puppet performers who traditionally used Polari to talk with each other. [17].

Polari is a mixture of Romance (Italian or Mediterranean Lingua Franca), Romany, London slang, backslang, rhyming slang, sailor slang, and thieves' cant. Later it expanded to contain words from the Yiddish language of the Jewish subculture which settled in the East End of London, the US forces (present in the UK during World War II) and 1960s drug users. It was a constantly developing form of language, with a small core lexicon of about 20 words (including bona, ajax, eek, cod, naff, lattie, nanti, omi, palone, riah, zhoosh (tjuz), TBH, trade, vada), with over 500 other lesser-known items.

In 1990 Morrissey titled an album Bona Drag- Polari for "nice outfit"- and the title of his "Piccadilly Palare" single that same year is an alternative spelling of what would be "Piccadilly Polari."

Also in 1990, comic book writer Grant Morrison created the character Danny the Street (based on Danny La Rue), a sentient transvestite street for the comic Doom Patrol. Danny speaks largely in Polari.

The 1998 film Velvet Goldmine, which chronicles a fictional retelling of the rise and fall of glam rock, contains a 60s flashback in which a group of characters converse in Polari, while their words are humorously subtitled below.

In 2002, two books on Polari were published, Polari: The Lost Language of Gay Men, and Fantabulosa: A Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang (both by Paul Baker). Also in 2002, hip hop artist Juha released an album called Polari, with the chorus of the title song written entirely in the slang.




a couple


nearby (from adjacent?)


hot for you/him

aunt nell

listen, hear

aunt nells


aunt nelly fakes


aunt nell danglers



a fight






small/little (means "jewel" in French)


pick up


code word for "homosexual"



c) Internet slang

Internet slang (Internet language, Internet Short-hand, leet, netspeak or chatspeak) is a type of slang that Internet users have popularized, and in many cases, have coined. Such terms often originate with the purpose of saving keystrokes. Many people use the same abbreviations in texting and instant messaging, and social networking websites. Acronyms, keyboard symbols and shortened words are often used as methods of abbreviation in Internet slang.

In such cases, new dialects of slang, such as leet or Lolspeak, develop as ingroup memes rather than time savers. In leet speak, letters may be replaced by characters of similar appearance. For this reason, leet is often written as l33t or 1337.

The Internet has transformed the way we manipulate our systems of signs and the relationships between producers and consumers of information. Its effect on slang has two aspects. Firstly, online communication has generated its own vocabulary of technical terminology, essentially jargon (spam, blogging, phishing) and informal, abbreviated or humorous terms (addy, noob, barking moonbat etc.) which qualify as slang. [9, 12] The amount of new cyberslang is fairly small, but the Internet has also allowed the collecting, classifying and promoting of slang from other sources in.

Another technical development - text messaging - has triggered changes in the culture of communication, especially among young people, and brought with it, like telegrams, CB-radio or Internet chatrooms, a new form of abbreviated code. It has excited some academic linguists but it hasn't, however, contributed anything meaningful to the evolution of slang. [15].

Word or phrase



acc, acct or acnt


addy or add


n, an, nd, or &




aight or ight or aite

Are you there?

rut or u der

At the moment


As far as I know




Be right back


Be back later


Be back soon



cuz, bcuz, bcz, bcos, bc, cos, coz, cz or bcoz

Best friend or Boyfriend

bf or b/f


btwn or b/w

By the way



cuzin or cuz


def or deffo

Does it look like I give a shit?


Don't know


Don't worry


Falling off chair laughing



4eva or 4evr or fo eva

Girlfriend or GoodFriend

gf or g/f

Got to go

g2g or gtg



Have a nice day


Hold on

hld on or h/o


hw, hwk or hmwk

How are you


I can't remember


I know


I know, right?


I love you

ily, luv u, ilu, luv ya, i wub u or i <3 u, 143 (I stands for one letter, Love stands for 4 letters, You stands for 3 letters)

Laugh out loud / lots of love


Laugh out loud (multiple times)

lolliesm lulz or lolz


luv or <3

Love you (see also I love you)

ly, <3u

No problem


No thank you

no tnk u, nty or no ty

Oh My God

omg or (comically) zomg, romg, womg, omgz


k or kk

Oh really?


parents behind back



pc, pce, pece, or \/


ppl, peeps

Right On!


Rocking/Rock (metal hands)


See you/see you later

cya, cu, or cya/cu l8er/l8a/l8r


sry or soz

Scare the shit out of my self/Scare the shit out of yourself


Talk to you later

ttyl or t2yl

Ta-ta for now


Thinking of you


What the hell


What's up

sup or zup

d) Slang of army, police.

Military slang is an array of colloquial terminology used commonly by military personnel, including slang which is unique to or originates with the armed forces. [23]

· The Andrew/Grey Funnel Ferries - The Royal Navy, named for some important bloke or a Saint or something.

· Blighty - The UK, the name was taken from a province in India...

· Brag Rags - Medals.

· Cant-be-arrsed-itis -suffered mainly by those on exercise

· "Chin-strapped" - "chin-strap" - tired knackered

· Combat Suit - Jacket, trousers, and possibly hood, cap, etc., made from DPM material.

· Doss-bag - Army Issue Barnes-Wallace, Gonk-bag and Green Maggot.

· Dust - Washing powder.

· Gat - rifle (also Bunduk, or Bang-Stick) (mainly used by "Hats").

· Green/Bleeds green - a keen soldier, probably should watched suspiciously...from a long way away.

· NAAFI - "Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes". Quasi-civilian non-profit retaining such as tea, pies, cakes and sandwiches to the troops within garrisons worldwide. Pronounced 'NAFF-ee', it was created in 1921 to run recreational establishments for the Armed forces to sell goods to servicemen and their families. It runs clubs, bars, (EFI), which provides NAAFI facilities in war zones.

· Puttees - long strips of flannel cloth in shades of khaki, rifle green or black, wrapped tightly at the top of ankle-boots to provide support over rough ground (now CVHQ RA)

· Sangar - possibly derived from the Indian; usually a low wall with side wings built to give cover from fire in areas where digging is difficult or impossible.

· Sky Pilot - The Padre - he's got his head in the clouds talking to his boss.

· Stripey - Sergeant.

· Teeny-weeny Airways - The Army Air Corps.

· Warry (or War-y) - aggressive, militaristic; can be an insult.

· Webbing - cotton for belt as worn by the type of ladies I never get to meet, and several dodgy RM types down Union St.

There are more than a hundred words for "police" in different glossaries.. And this is by no means a unique case. [21]

Names taken from the coloring of police clothes or the coloring of police cars:

blue boy, blue jeans, man-in-the-blue, salt and pepper, black and white, blue and white;

A female police officer:

girlie bear, honey bear, lady bear, mama bear, sugar bear,smokey beaver;

A city policeman or rural police:

citty kitty, country Joe, country mounty, little bear, local yokel;

state police:

boogey man, boy scouts, state bears, whatevers;barnies, bear, bearded bubby, big brother, bull, Dudley, do-right, Peter Rabbit;

An unmarked or hidden police car:

brown-paper bag, night crawler, pink panther, slick top, sneaky snake;

A radar unit:

shotgun, electric teeth, gunrunner, Kojak with a Kodak, smoke screen

A police helicopter:

bear in the air, eye in the sky, spy in the sky, tattle tale

There have found new expressions for an already established concept; such expressions that make them appear to be saying one thing while they are really communicating something very different to insiders.

Offences and description

· ABH: Actual bodily harm

· D&D: Drunk And Disorderly

· DIP: Drunk In Public

· GBH: Grievous Bodily Harm

· TDA: Taking and Driving Away

· TWOC: Taken Without Owner's Consent

Initialisms describing situations

· ASNT: Area Searched No Trace

· FATAC: Fatal Road Traffic Accident

· MFH: Missing From Home

· NAI: Non-Accidental Injury

· RTA: Road-Traffic Accident

Miscellaneous initialisms

· ARV: Armed Response Vehicle

· TFU: Tactical Firearms Unit

· SOCO: Scenes Of Crime Officer; a forensic crime scene examiner

· VSS: Victim Support Scheme

Miscellaneous abbreviations

· MISPER: Missing person

· POLAC: A collision involving a police vehicle

· WOFF: Write off; a vehicle or other property deemed a total loss for insurance purposes

· WINQ: Warrant inquiry

e) Money slang

While the origins of these slang terms are many and various, certainly a lot of English money slang is rooted in various London communities, which for different reasons liked to use language only known in their own circles, notably wholesale markets, street traders, crime and the underworld, the docks, taxi-cab driving, and the immigrant communities. London has for centuries been extremely cosmopolitan, both as a travel hub and a place for foreign people to live and work and start their own businesses. This contributed to the development of some 'lingua franca' expressions, i.e., mixtures of Italian, Greek, Arabic, Yiddish (Jewish European/Hebrew dialect), Spanish and English which developed to enable understanding between people of different nationalities, rather like a pidgin or hybrid English. Certain lingua franca blended with 'parlyaree' or 'polari', which is basically underworld slang.

Backslang also contributes several slang money words. Backslang reverses the phonetic (sound of the) word, not the spelling, which can produce some strange interpretations, and was popular among market traders, butchers and greengrocers.

Here are the most common and/or interesting British slang money words and expressions, with meanings, and origins where known. Many are now obsolete; typically words which relate to pre-decimalisation coins, although some have re-emerged and continue to do so.

Some non-slang words are included where their origins are particularly interesting, as are some interesting slang money expressions which originated in other parts of the world, and which are now entering the English language. [9, 15 ].

Here are some examples of money slang words:

archer = two thousand pounds (?2,000), late 20th century, from the Jeffrey Archer court case in which he was alleged to have bribed call-girl Monica Coughlan with this amount.

ayrton senna/ayrton = tenner (ten pounds, ?10) - cockney rhyming slang created in the 1980s or early 90s, from the name of the peerless Brazilian world champion Formula One racing driver, Ayrton Senna (1960-94), who won world titles in 1988, 90 and 91, before his tragic death at San Marino in 1994.

bag/bag of sand = grand = one thousand pounds (?1,000), seemingly recent cockney rhyming slang, in use from around the mid-1990s in Greater London; perhaps more widely too.

bar = a pound, from the late 1800s, and earlier a sovereign, probably from Romany gypsy 'bauro' meaning heavy or big, and also influenced by allusion to the iron bars use as trading currency used with Africans, plus a possible reference to the custom of casting of precious metal in bars.

bender = sixpence (6d) Another slang term with origins in the 1800s when the coins were actually solid silver, from the practice of testing authenticity by biting and bending the coin, which would being made of near-pure silver have been softer than the fakes.

bees (bees and honey) = money. Cockney rhyming slang from the late 1800s. Also shortened to beesum (from bees and, bees 'n', to beesum).

big ben - ten pounds (?10) the sum, and a ten pound note - cockney rhyming slang.

boodle = money.

bunce = money, usually unexpected gain and extra to an agreed or predicted payment, typically not realised by the payer.

cabbage = money in banknotes,

carpet = three pounds (?3) or three hundred pounds (?300), or sometimes thirty pounds (?30). This has confusing and convoluted origins, from as early as the late 1800s: It seems originally to have been a slang term for a three month prison sentence, based on the following: that 'carpet bag' was cockney rhyming slang for a 'drag', which was generally used to describe a three month sentence; also that in the prison workshops it supposedly took ninety days to produce a certain regulation-size piece of carpet; and there is also a belief that prisoners used to be awarded the luxury of a piece of carpet for their cell after three year's incarceration. The term has since the early 1900s been used by bookmakers and horse-racing, where carpet refers to odds of three-to-one, and in car dealing, where it refers to an amount of ?300.

chip = a shilling (1/-) and earlier, mid-late 1800s a pound or a sovereign. According to Cassells chip meaning a shilling is from horse-racing and betting. The association with a gambling chip is logical. Chip and chipping also have more general associations with money and particularly money-related crime, where the derivations become blurred with other underworld meanings of chip relating to sex and women (perhaps from the French 'chipie' meaning a vivacious woman) and narcotics (in which chip refers to diluting or skimming from a consignment, as in chipping off a small piece - of the drug or the profit).

clod = a penny (1d). Clod was also used for other old copper coins. From cockney rhyming slang clodhopper (= copper).

coal = a penny (1d). Also referred to money generally, from the late 1600s, when the slang was based simply on a metaphor of coal being an essential commodity for life. The spelling cole was also used.

cock and hen = ten pounds. The ten pound meaning of cock and hen is 20th century rhyming slang. Cock and hen - also cockerel and hen - has carried the rhyming slang meaning for the number ten for longer. Its transfer to ten pounds logically grew more popular through the inflationary 1900s as the ten pound amount and banknote became more common currency in people's wages and wallets, and therefore language. Cock and hen also gave raise to the variations cockeren, cockeren and hen, hen, and the natural rhyming slang short version, cock - all meaning ten pounds.

commodore = fifteen pounds (?15). The origin is almost certainly London, and the clever and amusing derivation reflects the wit of Londoners: Cockney rhyming slang for five pounds is a 'lady', (from Lady Godiva = fiver); fifteen pounds is three-times five pounds (3x?5=?15); 'Three Times a Lady' is a song recorded by the group The Commodores; and there you have it: Three Times a Lady = fifteen pounds = a commodore. (Thanks Simon Ladd, Jun 2007)

cows = a pound, 1930s, from the rhyming slang 'cow's licker' = nicker (nicker means a pound). The word cows means a single pound since technically the word is cow's, from cow's licker.

deep sea diver = fiver (?5), heard in use Oxfordshire late 1990s, this is rhyming slang dating from the 1940s.

dosh = slang for a reasonable amount of spending money, for instance enough for a 'night-out'. Almost certainly and logically derived from the slang 'doss-house', meaning a very cheap hostel or room, from Elizabethan England when 'doss' was a straw bed, from 'dossel' meaning bundle of straw, in turn from the French 'dossier' meaning bundle.

dough = money. From the cockney rhyming slang and metaphoric use of 'bread'.

dunop/doonup = pound, backslang from the mid-1800s, in which the slang is created from a reversal of the word sound, rather than the spelling, hence the loose correlation to the source word.

flag = five pound note (?5), UK, notably in Manchester.The word flag has been used since the 1500s as a slang expression for various types of money, and more recently for certain notes. Originally (16th-19thC) the slang word flag was used for an English fourpenny groat coin, derived possibly from Middle Low German word 'Vleger' meaning a coin worth 'more than a Bremer groat' (Cassells).

flim/flimsy = five pounds (?5), early 1900s, so called because of the thin and flimsy paper on which five pound notes of the time were printed.

folding/folding stuff/folding money/folding green = banknotes, especially to differentiate or emphasise an amount of money as would be impractical to carry or pay in coins, typically for a night out or to settle a bill. Folding, folding stuff and folding money are all popular slang in London.

foont/funt = a pound (?1), from the mid-1900s, derived from the German word 'pfund' for the UK pound.

french/french loaf = four pounds, most likely from the second half of the 1900s, cockney rhyming slang for rofe (french loaf = rofe), which is backslang for four, also meaning four pounds. Easy when you know how..

garden/garden gate = eight pounds (?8), cockney rhyming slang for eight, naturally extended to eight pounds. In spoken use 'a garden' is eight pounds. Incidentally garden gate is also rhyming slang for magistrate, and the plural garden gates is rhyming slang for rates. The word garden features strongly in London, in famous place names such as Hatton Garden, the diamond quarter in the central City of London, and Covent Garden, the site of the old vegetable market in West London, and also the term appears in sexual euphemisms, such as 'sitting in the garden with the gate unlocked', which refers to a careless pregnancy.

generalise/generalize = a shilling (1/-), from the mid 1800s, thought to be backslang. Also meant to lend a shilling, apparently used by the middle classes, presumably to avoid embarrassment. Given that backslang is based on phonetic word sound not spelling, the conversion of shilling to generalize is just about understandable, if somewhat tenuous, and in the absence of other explanation is the only known possible derivation of this odd slang.

gen net/net gen = ten shillings (1/-), backslang from the 1800s (from 'ten gen').

grand = a thousand pounds (?1,000 or $1,000) Not pluralised in full form. Shortened to 'G' (usually plural form also) or less commonly 'G's'. Originated in the USA in the 1920s, logically an association with the literal meaning - full or large.

greens = money, usually old-style green coloured pound notes, but actully applying to all money or cash-earnings since the slang derives from the cockney rhyming slang: 'greengages' (= wages).

2.3 Phonetic peculiarities of slang

While many slang words introduce new concepts, some of the most effective slang provides new expressions--fresh, satirical, shocking--for established concepts, often very respectable ones. Sound is sometimes used as a basis for this type of slang, as, for example, in various phonetic distortions (e.g., pig Latin terms). It is also used in rhyming slang, which employs a fortunate combination of both sound and imagery. Thus, gloves are "turtledoves" (the gloved hands suggesting a pair of billing doves), a girl is a "twist and twirl" (the movement suggesting a girl walking), and an insulting imitation of flatus, produced by blowing air between the tip of the protruded tongue and the upper lip, is the "raspberry," cut back from "raspberry tart." Most slang, however, depends upon incongruity of imagery, conveyed by the lively connotations of a novel term applied to an established concept. Slang is not all of equal quality, a considerable body of it reflecting a simple need to find new terms for common ones, such as the hands, feet, head, and other parts of the body. Food, drink, and sex also involve extensive slang vocabulary. Strained or synthetically invented slang lacks verve, as can be seen in the desperate efforts of some sportswriters to avoid mentioning the word baseball--e.g., a batter does not hit a baseball but rather "swats the horsehide," "plasters the pill," "hefts the old apple over the fence," and so on. [31]

If we try to characterize rhyming slang in particular, we can find such phonetic features:


This affects the lexical set mouth vowel. Wells believes that it is widely agreed that the "mouth" vowel is a "touchstone for distinguishing between "true Cockney" and popular London" and other more standard accents. Cockney usage would include monophthongization of the word.


mouth = mauf rather than mouth

2. Glottal stop

Wells describes the glottal stop as also particularly characteristic of Cockney and can be manifested in different ways such as "t" glottalling in final position. A 1970s study of schoolchildren living in the East End found /p,t,k/ "almost invariably glottalized" in final position.


cat = up = sock =

It can also manifest itself as a bare as the realization of word internal intervocalic /t/


Waterloo = Waerloo City = Ciy A drink of water = A drin' a wa'er A little bit of bread with a bit of butter on it = A li'le bi' of breab wiv a bi' of bu'er on i'.

As would be expected, a Cockney speaker uses fewer glottal stops for t or d than a "London" speaker. However, there are some words where the omission of t has become very accepted.


Gatwick = Gawick

Scotland = Sco'land

statement = Sta'emen

network = Ne work

3. Dropped h at beginning of words (Voiceless glottal fricative)

In the working-class ("common") accents throughout England,h dropping at the beginning of certain words is heard often, but it`s certainly heard more in Cockney, and in accents closer to Cockney. The usage is strongly stigmatized by teachers and many other standard speakers.


house = `ouse

hammer = `ammer

4. TH fronting

Another very well known characteristic of Cockney is th fronting which involves the replacement of the dental fricatives, and by labiodentals [f] and [v] respectively.


thin = fin

brother = bruvver

three = free

bath = barf

5. Vowel lowering


dinner = dinna

marrow= marra

6. Prosody

The voice quality of Cockney has been described as typically involving "chest tone" rather than "head tone" and being equated with "rough and harsh" sounds versus the velvety smoothness of the Kensington or Mayfair accents spoken by those in other more upscale areas of London.

7. Rhyme

Cockney English is also characterized by its own special vocabulary and usage in the form of "cockney rhyming slang". The way it works is that you take a pair of associated words where the second word rhymes with the word you intend to say, then use the first word of the associated pair to indicate the word you originally intended to say. Some rhymes have been in use for years and are very well recognized, if not used, among speakers of other accents.


"apples and pears" -stairs

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