Understanding Cockney rhyming slang
With so many people visiting the UK getting the lingo right is important but then there is Cockney rhyming slang.
Cockney rhyming slang is traditionally spoken by those Londoners within the sound of Bow Bells, or so it is said. This blogger lives far away from London in Yorkshire and although she has visited this capital city knows only a little about cockney rhyming slang.
However, in common with most other British people she does know a few cockney slang phrases. So let's see what she can dig up on this subject.
With comedy shows such as Only Fools and Horses examples of Cockney rhyming slang, real and fake, are often heard. A classic from the is series was a Ruby Murray for a CURRY.
So where did all this strange talk come from, I hear you ask?
With no definite history written it generally seems to be thought that cockney rhyming slang was the talk on the streets in years gone by. In fact it appears that it was the slang of thieves and rogues.
In other words cockney rhyming slang was a type of secret language.
Messages could be passed to the intended recipient without fear of being overheard. If someone did overhear they had no idea what the conversation was about.
Very clever really, and certainly crafty
This cockney language was particularly useful when it was invented in the 19th century for use in front of police officers or coppers, as they were often called. Instead of saying a word out loud a word that it rhymed with was used instead. With time parts of the phrase were dropped which caused more confusion to non-cockneys. However for cockneys it helped confidentiality. An example of this is Daisy Roots which means Boots. These days cockneys would tend to say Daisies for Boots.
Well hopefully not too much so. Here are some more phrases which you may find entertaining. Having tried to stay clear of expletives or words that some may find offensive, this cannot be guaranteed.
In order to cope with modern day life new cockney phrases are being created all the time. Even the old phrases are adapted at times. It is quite common for a couple of Cockney rhyming slang words or phrases to be strung together. Take for example:
Archer = £2000
Bag of Sand = £1000
Grand = £1000
Monkey = £500
Ton = £100
Carpet = £30
Pony = £25
Macaroni = £25
Apple Core = £20
Score = £20
Speckled Hen = £10
Uncle Ben = £10
Nigel Ben = £10
Paul McKenna = £10
Ayrton (Senna) = Tenner = £10
Lady (Godiva) = Fiver = £5
Taxi Driver = Fiver = £5
Nicker or Quid = £1
Ten Bob Bit = 50p piece
Oxford = 5 shillings
Lord of the Manor = Tanner (sixpence)
Tanner = sixpence
Some of the coins are no longer valid. Decimalisation changed the face of British currency forever. However most of the note denominations still exist.
These days the term cockney is often used about anyone living in London, which is strictly speaking not true. If you visit our capital city though try not to bandy about cockney rhyming slang unless you are confident of the company you are keeping.
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