If you had a chance to study in Russian schools, you probably learned British English or “proper” English as many Russians call it. But do not be surprised if you don’t understand a word of English while wandering the streets of London. The reason is Cockney Rhyming slang.
Cockney Rhyming slang expressions are phrases that are created by rhyming a certain word with another and then using that word in place of the original. One of the most popular Cockney slang phrases is butchers hook. The phrase butchers hook was derived while rhyming the word look and is nowadays sometimes shortened to just butchers.
Another funny example of cockney phrases is the expression loaf of bread which rhymes with head. Although there is a similar idiom in Russian “khleb vsemu golova” or “bread is all’s head”, it is quite hard to guess when Londoners say a shortened version of it or just simply loaf.
“I had a terrible day today! I have a splitting loafache!” Funny, isn’t it?
But, you would probably ask how all these phrases have come about and why.
Cockney slang originated in the East End area of London, widely known for its slums and high crime rate. Cockney slang was a so-called language code created by the slum dwellers which helped them to communicate among each other without letting the police know what they were talking about.
Is cockney slang still “alive”? Surprisingly enough, cockney rhyming slang is still used around London, its suburbs and even some parts of the rest of England!
So, if you are planning to go to England in the near future and don’t want to get lost in the jungles of Cockney rhyming slang, you better learn some typical cockney phrases:
|I can’t Adam and Eve it.||Adam and Eve-believe|
|Think about it. Use your crust.||Crust of bread-head|
|Is there a one-oxford shop?||Oxford Scholar-dollar|
|My trouble went shopping again.||Trouble and Strife-wife|
|I have bought a new uncle today.||Uncle Bert-shirt|
|What are you rabbiting about?||Rabbit and Pork-talk|
|I will see you alligator.||Alligator-later|