A way with words
It is official, the English language has become increasingly varied. BBC Voices, a survey involving 32,000 people has discovered an astonishing array of new words. There had been concerns that regional dialects were dying out and Americanisation was taken over - happily that is not true!
A similar survey in the 1950s found that there were 84 different regional expressions for left-handed but now there are 240. These range from cuddy-wifter from Northumbria, molly-dukered in central Scotland, gammy in Cumbria and keggy in the east Midlands.
The word used to describe the footwear worn by children in gym class varies enormously. David from Edinburgh calls his gymshoes, Katherine from South Wales uses daps, Clair from Widnes, Cheshire calls hers pumps, whilst Sarah from Lincolnshire says sandshoes.
Reasoning is twofold: people move about the country a lot more than in previous years and the UK has become increasingly multicultural. Study of the Cockney language has found that due to the influx of Bangladeshi immigrants in London’s east end, words and accents have both changed. Original Cockney in the Cheapside area has been replaced by a hybrid of Bangladeshi and British vowels.
Sue Fox, a socio-linguist at Queen Mary College, University of London explains that ‘the majority of young people of school age are of Bangladeshi origin and this has had tremendous impact on the dialect. Young people are using a variety of English which we might say is Bangladeshi-accented. Some adolescents of white British origin are also using these features.’ Some of the new words are skets (slippers), creps (trainers) and nang (good).
However, this is not exclusive to London. In Liverpool, a mixture of Caribbean-Scouse is becoming common, as is Cardiff-Hindi in Wales.
Hip rhyming slang
Cockney rhyming slang is also keeping up with the times. Britney Spears is a new term for beer and Becks and Posh for nosh (food). A top DJ has even inspired the title of a new film It’s all gone Pete Tong (It’s all gone wrong).
Language evolves constantly. Whether it is inspired by other parts of the world or the current top celebrity, we never know what we may be saying next!