Sunday, May 29, 2011

English English

I know it's been done before, but I think that it bears repeating.  (There may be a joke about bears eating unsavory campers in here somewhere...)

Anywho, I'm always keen to hear a word that I'm not too familiar with, or in a context that seems 'off' being spoken by someone from the UK.  I'd have to say being spoken by someone from England, in particular, given that I'm here, in England, and most people I come into contact with are either English, or have come here from somewhere else and have adopted English English as the English to speak, if you know what I mean.

Here's a short list of words that I hear, but don't yet have the chutzpah to use: 

punter: a paying customer, often used in association with hookers.  (I visualize men kicking...)

knackered: tired, although I seem to think that it more often would be used for "very tired".

gobsmacked: shocked, astounded.  (gob: mouth)

jack-the-lad: bad boy

gutted: saddened, upset  (sounds too much like eviscerated, so, until I get over that, I don't think I'll be using it)

caf: slang for 'cafe'

telly: television (makes me think of 'telephone' when I hear it)

Words I hear and do use: 

quid: used like the American term 'bucks' with respect to money. 

salad: lettuce, tomato and the like that would go on a sandwich being made for you at a deli.

kilo: it's not just for coke anymore! (this would include any metric measurement)

Words that I thought I'd never hear here: 

cheerio: I think that we all know what this means by now, right?

half-caste: this word was used by a fifty-year-old man to describe a person of mixed parentage.  This term is certainly offensive back home.  Is it not here, too?


  1. If anyone would like to add their two cents/pence, it would be greatly appreciated!

  2. I think getting used to words is very interesting. When I was young new slang was like new jeans. I donned them immediately! I showed them off! Now that I'm old, new words feel almost disingenuous at first... like new jeans as well actually! Tight new jeans- the kind you need to zip up with a wire hanger! They either stretch-out or you stop wearing 'em.

  3. @CeCe: yeah, getting used to new vocab is a trip. I'm glad to absorb new words into my language, but some of them, at this point, do seem "foreign" still.

    Pants, or as the Brits say, trousers, take a bit of getting used to when new. Instead of stretching them out, you could just stop washing them, and, that way, they'll remain loose! Is there a parallel to palabras here? Hmmm.

    Thanks for the comments, chica!

  4. Cafetiere=presspot, French press
    Rota=schedule, as in workers' weekly schedule

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  6. Trying to keep straight at what time people at "supper", "dinner", and "tea".


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