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Posts tagged: lingo

Get with the lingo


After living in London for almost a year, it’s difficult not to pick up some British lingo. Calling packet chips “crisps” and eggplant “aubergine” has become second nature now. I can’t help but say “rubbish” when something is not to my liking or it’s “well” nice when something is. The word “loads” sometimes slips in instead of the Aussie equivalent “heaps”. However there are some things I could never bring myself to say.

"Bollocks", which means testicles, is not as direct as "bullshit". Sleeping in is not "having a lie in". You can’t tell someone it’s "half 12" when it’s really 12.30. Sandwiches are "sangers", not "sarnies". Also not everything is "brilliant" (or "brill"), "fantastic" or "ace", and if I have to hear "absolutely" one more time, I might have to say f**k off (not "sod off")!!

Why can’t people just stick to the simple: “Hi, how are you?” Instead, every morning I hear: “You alright?”. I respond: ”I’m fine thanks and you?” It just doesn’t sound right. Also why is a “pudding” so important that it gets to represent all desserts in the UK? I don’t get it.

It should be known that there are some subtle differences in British English pronunciation. To name a few: router is “rooter”, yoghurt is “yor-git” (sounds like a frog’s ‘ribbit’) and herbs are “urbs”. Data is “day-ta” and not “daa-ta”. Similarly it’s “pa-sta” (short ‘a’) as opposed to “paa-sta” (long ‘a’).

Aside from pronunciation differences, there are different meanings for the same word. “Thongs” to Aussies are a form of beach/summer footwear. In the UK a “thong” is a “G-string”, so don’t be quick to ask for “thongs” in a shoe shop when you should be looking for “flip flops”.  Be careful when you refer to trousers as “pants” because this is actually short for underpants. My flatmate made that rookie mistake at M&S when he was shopping for suit. He tried on the suit jacket and politely asked the shop attendant where the matching pants were.  Enough said.